Suspended for chanting Hindu prayer: Teacher
A chemistry teacher of SBOA School and Junior College in Anna Nagar West was suspended last week for ‘manhandling and misbehaviour’, but the teacher claimed that she was punished for reciting a Hindu prayer to students of Class XII .
On March 13, as the students were gearing up for their examination, teachers were about to recite their routine prayer. “Since the usual group of teachers pray before every examination, I volunteered this time. I said a prayer invoking the blessings of Hindu, Christian and Muslim Gods,” said the teacher, P. Abirami.
Even as Ms. Abirami was reciting the prayer, some of the other teachers allegedly turned off the microphone. “If they had an issue with my prayer, they could have called me aside and spoken to me rather than behaving rudely in front of students,” she said. “I did not give up but continued to say the prayers even more fervently,” she added.
Students on Wednesday said it was unusual for teachers to behave in this way. “Usually a Christian prayer is said before we write examinations. But last week a teacher said some Hindu mantras and the other teachers tried to stop her by turning off the microphone,” said a student.
Principal P. C. Selvarani, said that disciplinary action was taken against the teacher for behaving in an inappropriate manner . “The teacher does not handle Class XII and was on paper-correction duty that day. In spite of this, she came to up the dais, grabbed the mike and started speaking,” she said. “It was against the code of conduct. She just intervened.,” she said.
This sparked off protests by the BJP, VHP and the Hindu Munnani. Their activists staged a protest outside the school on Wednesday, following which 60 people were arrested and later released.
Comments to the above article from the readers:
It was a very deplorable act.Though I belong to RCM I condemn this attitude of other teachers for obstructing their fellow teacher from reciting the prayer by putting off the mike as if she committed a grave mistake.Action may therefore,be taken against the school authorities concerned including teachers responsible for the ill treatment meted out to the poor teacher and advise all the school authorities irrespective of their religious affiliation to strictly recite only VANDEMATARAM.I appreciate the teacher for her boldness for not giving up saying the prayer in spite of the odds.
from: Anthony Rao Reddy
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 02:12 IST
why Christian prayers. SBOA school is not a christian mission school. then why Christian prayer? Schools should have national anthem and general Tamil prayers praying for all welfare. The principal should be taken to task and case filed against her for communal incitement.
from: honga singh
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 08:24 IST
This incident is very true, I was also shocked when I heard that the teacher was not allowed to say the hindu prayers. SBOA is not a christian school, but seems like its being dominated by them. I hear that only christian prayers are allowed. VERY SAD. There are so many prayers which do not stress on religion, which should be made universal instead of following certain religion prayers…
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:23 IST
I was a student at the school from its small beginning and finished my XII there. I am a proud alumni of the school and have always been thankful for the education I received there even before its rise. But I am very disappointed in the action of the school and the principal, who was a long-time and favourite teacher of mine. It was always run as a Christian school and the majority of the staff were Christian as well. Hope they apologise to the teacher in question and the community as a whole.
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:29 IST
This is shocking. From what the student says that only Christian prayers are recited before exams. What kind of a secularism is that, particularly if a teacher is punished for reciting a Hindu prayer on one of the days? An enquiry should be conducted and if indeed there is communalism being practiced by the principal in favour of Christianity, strict action should be taken. Secularism does not mean “anti-hinduism” and it is the government’s duty to ensure that.
from: Sreedhar Pothukuchi
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 16:02 IST
the SBOA management is seeding hatred among the students especially to the Hindus. SBOA is not a christian institution hence how come the students pray christian songs. The matter has to be probed. the principal should immediately put under suspension pending inquiryby Education dept. This clearly shows high handedness of the management.Let them know that this is a democratic country where they can make any non sense.
from: t r subramanian
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 22:59 IST
And if the opposite would’ve happened then the entire Indian media would
be up in arms in this travesty of secularism.
from: Sujan Bandho
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 10:35 IST
I am student of SBOA, and sad to hear this.. we had always had Christian prayers before examinations.. Not a wrong one.. but by not allowing a teacher to say a prayer other than Christian one is really bad.. Then there is no secularism there.. sigh.. my school is in the news for all wrong reasons
from: Ram G
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 21:35 IST
I studied in this school. The current Principal, Selvarani mam was one of the best Math teachers in Chennai. All students used loved her method of teaching. I am very appalled to know that she would act in this manner. It would have been perfectly fine if no religion was showed down the student’s throat. That has never been the case in SBOA. It always felt like we were studying in a Christian Missionary school. While the school is funded by State Bank Officer’s association, the school management has no business to run it like a Christian Missionary. The State Bank Officer’s Association is also responsible since they turned a blind eye to all these issues over several years. Now is the time for some stern action.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 21:52 IST
Prayer has no place in schools. You cannot offend athiests or students of religions other than ones listed.
from: Ram Narayanan
Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 06:13 IST
Its not really an issue here. No real Christian prayers have been
traditions of SBOA. They were just prayers in English, if I remember
right. It must have been real unusual to hear a Sanskrit recital having
had English prayers as a decadal practice that’s all. Anyway, I think
the information provided here is way away from legitimate to draw
any conclusion. I think there is far more to it than is portrayed. The
article gives a real amateurish picture of the school, which is NOT.
from: Shreyas Narayan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 06:50 IST
To all who commented. i am surprised people react to newspaper reports.
It wasn’t a Hindu prayer that caused the suspension . There has to be a history to the suspension.a truant teacher who finally got what she should have got long ago is the way I see it ..students both passed and present the school strives to give you the best what you deserve.Proper behaviour in front of students is what is called for and that is what led her being shown the the door.
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 14:08 IST
I am suprised that a former student Anand, does not remember the subject Ms.selvarani the principal and his best teacher taught.She was a chemistry teacher, man.I am also appalled at you making comments from just news paper reports. No one at the drop of a hat can get the BJP and similar religious organisations to support you. Could it not be that they were waiting in the wings and she pulled a stunt to bring them in to overcome her otherwise unbecoming ways as teacher. Anand, Get your facts right .The Assocition does not fund the school .It is students fees that sustain the school. The officers are the custodians and have been from different faiths .The Principal does not suspend any teacher. It is the office bearers of the trust. There are Hindus and yet again the corespondent of the school is a Hindu what Have you to say about that? If it was a religious issue would they have overlooked their sentiments and supported the Principal ,a X’ian?
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 15:41 IST
I am also an ex-student of SBOA and I don’t remember any Christian prayer recited in the school. SBOA is not a Christian mission school and the number of Hindus studying in the school is comparatively higher than the Christian students.
As said above if Christian prayers are only followed in the school then the parents could have raised an issue with the administration via Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Was this issue was raised by any of the parents or the students earlier?
To all the ex-students, if you believe that Christian prayers was not followed in the school then why you didn’t raise this as an issue earlier ? Was the school rude to you? I don’t think so. Everyone who studied there is proud about the fact they are alumni of the school. One can be proud about it only when the teachers are good, the organization is good and kind enough to take our concern and fulfils them and I strongly believe SBOA is doing a great job for the last 25 years. KUDOS to the School..
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:38 IST
A perennial SBOA School Annanagar issue. I was a student from KG till 10th from 1987 to 1998. The incident mentioned above is not surprising me. For I have seen and faced many such in the SBOA school. Many of my friends and I were bold enough to take one such incident of a hindu prayer not allowed during a “skills for adolescence -special class” to the then headmaster (Mr.C.Subramanian )who even took prompt action once against a teacher for allowing only christian prayers. It is not wrong to prophes ones religion but not in a non-minority school such as SBOA.
Pathetically the SBIOA trust management has “never” taken these type of incidents seriously and continue to support the management’s anti-secular approach.
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 12:59 IST
Being a retired officer of the State Bank of India,and knowing the functioning of the school since its inception,it pains me to read this news item.This school is a model that was followed by other regions of India to start similar schools by the respective officers association.The concept of starting a school by an officers association was unique and first of its kind anywhere in the world and this Annanagar school was appreciated by educationalists and the general public.What I wanted to emphasise was instead of fighting for benefits to its members,the officers association in chennai circle devoted its time and money to do public service by starting this school.
Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 09:32 IST