The Bihar government, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has made significant changes to the holiday calendar, sparking controversy. In a surprising move, holidays for Hindu festivals like Janmashtami, Rakshabandhan, Ramnavami, Shivratri, Teej, Vasant Panchami, and Jivitputrika have been reduced. Meanwhile, three days each have been granted for Eid and Bakrid, with two days for Muharram. The altered calendar also eliminates the summer vacation for teachers, who now must attend school for 38 out of 60 days, leaving them with only 22 days of leave. However, this change does not affect the students.
Additionally, the government has canceled holidays for Labour Day on May 1 and the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Mahatma Gandhi on October 2. The initial plan was to keep schools open on these occasions to conduct classes before the recess, followed by celebrations of the birth anniversaries to educate children about the values of these great leaders.
Earlier, the government faced protests from teachers when Hindu festival holidays were initially revoked a few months ago. The decision was eventually rolled back due to the opposition.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticized the Bihar government’s decision, accusing it of appeasement and adopting an anti-Hindu stance. Union Minister Ashwini Choubey condemned the move, stating that it revealed the government’s bias towards Muslim festivals over Hindu ones. BJP leader Sushil Modi claimed that Nitish Kumar’s administration had an “anti-Hindu face” and had hurt Hindu sentiments by selectively reducing holidays for Hindu festivals while increasing those for Muslim festivals.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh took a strong stand, alleging that the Bihar government was operating on the basis of “Islamic religious beliefs.” He criticized the reduction of Hindu holidays while increasing holidays for Muslim festivals. Giriraj Singh warned that if these changes were not reversed, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would face consequences in the upcoming elections.
In response to the criticism, the Janata Dal United (JDU), Nitish Kumar’s party, defended the government’s decision. JDU leader Neeraj Kumar urged the BJP not to view the matter through a political lens and stated that only the Education Department could explain the reasons behind the changes in holiday allocation. He highlighted that holidays for Shab-e-Barat had been reduced without any uproar, and important Hindu festivals like Maha Shivratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Basant Panchami, Holi, and Dussehra had retained their holidays. Neeraj Kumar emphasized the need for clarity from the education department before passing judgment on the decision.
you might also be intersted in – PM Modi asks BJP MPs to celebrate Rakshabandhan with Muslim women