Mumbai: Celebrate Mothers' Day on Feb 14, says circular to primary schools

The circular sent by the Satara Education dept instructed primary schools to organise Mothers’ Day instead of Valentine’s Day and send photos as evidence; the directive was withdrawn yesterday

Not all primary school students might be aware of the significance of Valentine’s Day, especially in rural regions such as Satara district, but the local education officer sent a circular barring all schools from celebrating “love” anyway. Instead, the bizarre notice directed the schools to organise Mothers’ Day celebrations on February 14, and even asked that photographs be sent as evidence.

Students were asked to recite a poem about a cow and her calf to celebrate the mother-child bond on February 14
Students were asked to recite a poem about a cow and her calf to celebrate the mother-child bond on February 14

The February 11 circular was withdrawn by Friday, after Education minister Vinod Tawde rapped district officers for jumping the gun, but by then it had already created yet another V-day controversy. Claiming Valentine’s Day should be boycotted because it was a part of Western culture, the circular stated schools should prevent anti-social activities by celebrating mothers instead.

Students were instructed to compulsorily recite a Marathi poem about the mother-child bond, which goes — Hambarun vasarale chate java gay, tava male tichya madi diste mazi may (I see my mother whenever I see a cow caressing her calf). Schools were also required to send pictures of the celebrations to the Education department to prove they had followed instructions.

District education officer (primary) Pravin Ahire could not be contacted, but he issued another circular yesterday, to withdraw the earlier order. Education minister Tawde told mid-day that while the officer’s intention may have been good, the circular was unwarranted.

“There was no reason for this officer to go beyond academic agenda. He is there to supervise academic procedures and not get into unnecessary issues,” he said, adding that officials should consult their superiors before making moves that could become controversial.

Citizen reaction
It will come as no surprise that the gaffe was not taken well by citizens and activists. “It’s amazing that Valentine’s Day, which is known worldwide to be associated with intimacy, is to be celebrated as Mothers’ Day. This is absolutely ridiculous as it denigrates motherhood and its very respectability.

The government should come up with something constructive that will be beneficial to the people rather than come up with such ridiculous announcements,” said Dr Abraham Mathai, president of Indian Christian Voice and former vice-chairman of the State Minorities Commission.

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