Schools in the Rajasthan capital have been asked to take students and teachers to a fair where they can learn about “love jihad”, purchase books on Christian conspiracies, take an oath of vegetarianism, sign up for a campaign to declare cow as “national mother”, or simply enrol themselves in one of the many caste organisations.
Jaipur’s Additional District Education Officer Deepak Shukla confirmed that government and private schools in Jaipur have been asked to “help” organisers of the fair by getting students to attend it, and said it was upon the directions of Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vasudev Devnani.
“(The organisers of the) Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair (HSSF) are contacting government and private schools on their own. But what happens is that government schools say they can’t do anything until they have orders. So the honourable minister’s directions were that we help them (with the fair),” Shukla said. Devnani’s office said that he was not available for comments. Shukla said HSSF organisers wanted to get 2,100 teachers too to attend the fair. “So we also asked each school to send two-three teachers.”
District Education Officer Ratan Singh Yadav said the visit is optional. Organisations and NGOs have approached the department in the past too to organise programmes which might help students’ “learning, exposure”, he added. Earlier this month, to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation on November 8, the HSSF had tied up with the state government’s Rajasthan Youth Board to hold mass singing of Vande Mataram.
The five-day fair in Jaipur, being held for the third time and to end on November 20, aims to “provide a platform to organisations engaged in imparting services to society to motivate and involve the public to be part of the process of social transformation” and lists instilling patriotism as one of its themes.
At the fair, the VHP’s stall is giving away pamphlets on “love jihad”. It talks of actors Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan leaving Hindu wives and then again “ensnaring” Hindu women. “Rather than accept another religion under duress, it is better to die while in one’s religion,” says the pamphlet. Beauty parlours, mobile recharge shops, ladies’ tailors, Muslim hawkers, etc are some of the places where “love jihad” takes place, the pamphlet cautions. And cites “giving a seat on the bus” as one of the tactics used by “jihadis”.
“Normally, Muslims ensnare [Hindu] women; sometimes they sell them and sometimes they kill them,” it says, even listing out the “rates” (money) Muslims get for “converting women”. One can check “love jihad” by “going through the books of sisters and daughters”, by “analysing” their mobile phones, or “by sending someone to their college/university”, the pamphlet advises.
Another pamphlet deals with “the controversial activities of Christian missionaries”. Three lakh propagators, who receive “thousands of crores” from Europe and America, have helped make Nagaland and Arunachal Chiristian-majority, it states. Comparatively, Muslims are said to have “5 lakh propagators” and “250 terrorist training centres”.
A Bharatiya Hindu Sena stall asks one to commit to make India “an entirely Hindu nation” and to “construct a magnificent temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya”. At the stall of Baba Jaigurudev Dharm Vikas Sansthan, one can take a pledge for vegetarianism. “We have an ongoing 31-day campaign across several states, with a focus on Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” said Pushpendra Singh, ‘Prachar Mantri’, Jaipur.
A few stalls away, the Gau Raksha Sewa Sansthan stall advises on “the evils of milk from Jersey cow”. “There is a possibility of cancer, diabetes, paralysis, and heart and brain problems,” a pamphlet reads. The Bharatiya Gau Kranti Manch stall invites financial or physical support for the campaign to declare cow “rashtra mata (national mother)”. Its Jaipur vice president Ravi Gangwal said they will hold a convention in New Delhi on February 18 next year. The Manch’s demands include a Union cow ministry, death penalty for killing cows, and “free Indian cow milk” for children below 10 years. “We refrain from political comments, else a lot will tumble out,” said Sandeep Sogani, its state vice-president.
Caste outfits such as the Rajasthan Brahmin Mahasabha, Shri Dhobi (Rajak) Ekta Manch, Akhil Bharatiya Khatik Samaj, Kshatriya Yuvak Sangh, etc are also present at the fair.