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Tiny tots step into world of knowledge in Kerala on Vijayadasami Day

Thiruvananthapuram: While thousands of children, cutting across religious beliefs, were introduced to the world of words at ‘Vidyarambham’ programmes conducted across Kerala as part of the Vijayadashami celebrations on Tuesday, a ‘secular’ Vidyarambham organised by the Mattannur municipality at Kannur district too witnessed 91 children being initiated into education amidst a row over the event.

Even though the CPM-ruled municipality has been organising ‘Vidyarambham’ event since 2014, this time an individual professing Hindu religion approached the Kerala High Court against the event. He alleged that the event would humiliate a section as children would be forced to recite and write prayers that are contrary to their religious beliefs and the ethos of ‘Sanatana Dharma’.

The entry form for the event gave various options to parents on how to initiate their child into education. Apart from Hindu prayers, English and Malayalam alphabets and words like father and mother in Malayalam, there were options for Christian and Muslim prayers. This had irked the petitioner.

A bench headed by Justice Devan Ramachandran rejected the plea citing that the event was being initiated with a secular thought.

Mattanur Municipal Chairperson N Shajith told DH that as many as 91 children participated in the Vidyarambham on Tuesday, while it was only 71 last time. He also said that people from other districts also participated in the event.

Former Health Minister K K Shailaja, popularly known as Shailaja Teacher, who initiated many into education at the event said in a social media post that education is a right of all and hence ‘Vidyarambham’ cannot be considered as a religious ceremony.

Kerala has been witnessing churches and mosques perform the initiation ceremony on Vijayadashami day.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Ari Mohammed Khan also initiated many children into education.

(Published 24 October 2023, 05:32 IST)

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