Missionary School replace Sanskrit with French, Teacher and Students fight back

published on April 27, 2011

Anna effect: Sanskrit teacher fasts to keep French out


The Sanskrit teacher began her indefinite hunger strike outside St Angel’s Senior Secondary School in Rohini, where she was employed until a few days ago. Asha alleges the school management terminated her services five days ago and is now forcing students to take up French instead of Sanskrit.

The Sanskrit teacher is camping just outside the main entrance of the school, and she has found a great number of supporters. The camp is decorated with posters and placards condemning the school management for their arbitrary move. Also there are banners demanding that Sanskrit language be given back its rightful place in the school.   

Asha claims the school has been indulging in malpractices for long and she had also lodged an FIR against them twice for corruption. “They are forcing students to take up French when they have already studied Sanskrit till class IX. They sacked me as they wanted to do away with the Sanskrit and introduce French from class V onwards,” said the teacher.     

Asha has members of the school faculty, students as well as parents supporting her move. “I was manhandled by the security guards sent by the school principal and insulted in front of the entire class I was teaching to not let me teach Sanskrit. I am inspired by Anna Hazare and decided to go on hunger strike following his footsteps. I want to make my voice heard against injustice and corruption by the school management,” she added.

Asha and 105 other teachers have signed and submitted an application saying Sanskrit should be taught in the school. “The school can keep French as an optional language. This behaviour of abolishing Sanskrit, sacking and insulting the teacher is just unacceptable. We will sit in support of her fast until the school management takes back its decision and apologises to her for misbehaviour,” said Meenakshi Verma, Assistant Teacher, St Angel’s Senior Secondary School.

Besides, around 250 students have given an application in writing to the principal that they want to continue with Sanskrit as they have studied it for several years. “We have studied Sanskrit till class VIII; there is no point in suddenly taking up French in class IX,” said Mohit Makkar, a class IX student in the school.

A group of students also claim that they have been threatened of being beaten up if they became a part of the strike and did not take up French voluntarily. “We were forced by the teachers to take up French; else they would have beaten us up. We are very scared to go to school these days,” said Swati Sharma, a class VIII student in the school.       

A complaint has been registered by Asha Rani and other teachers with the Deputy Director of Education, North-West, Devi Singh and the Education Officer, Rohini Zone, Anil Kumar. A copy of the documents is with MiD DAY.

Parents in support
A number of parents were seen at the fasting camp, showing solidarity with the teacher. “This is a positive development that the teacher is going on fast for the students’ sake. My daughter who is studying in the school and has been taught by Asha Rani tells us that their teacher was insulted by the school in-charge and was not allowed to teach. She has studied Sanskrit till class VIII and it’s not possible for her to grasp French, a foreign language, when she will have her board exams next year. The school should keep the option of both languages,” said Prakash Nathani, a parent, who was present at the site of the hunger strike.

Another parent Sushil Mittal also supported the move by the teachers. “It is a despotic behaviour on part of the school. They should not impose things on children and cannot sack a teacher this way. They can give students a choice to study any of the languages they like. We are against this system of forcibly making students study another language and keeping them under scare,” he said.

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