A directive asking schools and colleges in Maharashtra’s Satara district to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day as “Mother’s Day” was withdrawn , an official said.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde said of the Feb 11 circular: “It was wrong to issue such a circular.”
Shortly after the story, a top state education department official called up the district education authorities and asked them to withdraw the embarrassing order immediately.
The Wednesday circular, issued by the Satara District Education Officer(Primary) directing schools and colleges to celebrate V-Day Saturday as Mother’s Day, caused a huge row.
Hours after it became public knowledge, triggering opposition from social activists and NGOs, officials sent out a fresh circular asking all the educational institutions to ignore the earlier order.
“We have withdrawn the previous order and issued a fresh one. The earlier order went out owing to some technical issues,” District Education Officer Pravin Ahire said, without explaining the ‘technical issues’.
The Maharashtra education department in Mumbai has sought a report to know under what circumstances was the order issued, an official source said.
Official sources contended that the idea for such a celebration came from a senior district education official but the circular was issued before final discussions were held.
NGO Maharashtra State Mahila Lokayog (MSML) termed the directive as “obnoxious”, representing the mindset of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government in the state.
“This is nothing but ‘cultural goondaism’ and a ‘Talibani fatwa’. We have no objection to celebrations of love for mother but why select Valentine’s Day for this?” MSML chairperson Varsha Deshpande said.
The earlier order had been sent to hundreds of public and private primary and secondary schools besides around 25 colleges in the district.
All these educational institutions were also directed to make the students sing a Marathi poem dedicated as love for mother – “Hambrun Vasar Aale Chaat-ti Jawa Gai”.
They were told to click photographs of the Mother’s Day celebrations and submit them to the district education officer.