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Gujarat divides – Saffron uniform for Hindu kids, green for Muslim #WTFnews

municipal schools, Ahmedabad municipal schools, Ahmedabad schools, Ahmedabad government, schools, Shahpur Public School, Dani Limda Public School, schools Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad muslim schools, gujarat, Ahmedabad news, AhmedabadStudents from Shahpur Public School. (Source: IE photo by Javed Raja)
Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad | Updated: April 14, 2015 3:36 am

Ahmedabad MunicipalCorporation’s Shahpur Public School and Dani Limda Public School are unique for being its only English-medium schools. They also have another distinction.

While the uniform at Shahpur school where mostof the students are Hindus is saffron-coloured, the Dani Limda school where almost allthe students are Muslims has a green uniform.

The other 454 schools run by AMC, allnon-English-medium, have the same blue-and-white uniform.

“The selection of green (as uniform for the Dani Limda school) was a random decision and has nothing to do with any community. We had other options, of pink and blue, too but, keeping in mind the suitability to children, green was finalised,” AMC School BoardChairman Jagdish Bhavsar said.

He termed the selection of saffron for the Shahpur school as a “non-partisan decision” too, taken without any “prejudice or preference” towards a community or organisation.

Dani Limda Public School in Ahmedabad. (Source: IE photo by Javed Raja)Dani Limda Public School in Ahmedabad. (Source: IE photo by Javed Raja)Asked if the colour choices had anything to do with the religion of the students, Bhavsar said, “There is no such thing about communities and colours associated with them.”

More than 98 per cent of the students at Dani Limda Public School, located in the middleof the Muslim-majority Kanubhai ni chali slum in Dani Limda village, are Muslims. At Shahpur Public School, more than 95 per cent students are Hindus.

AMC introduced the English-medium schools with the hope of containing declining enrolment in municipalschools. Both the Shahpur school, opened in June 2013, and Dani Limda, opened last year, were till ClassI initially, with classes added every subsequent year. Beginning this academic year, the Dani Limda school is till ClassII and the Shahpur one till ClassIII.

The Shahpur school uniform, comprising a saffron shirt and shorts, incidentally is sponsored by a “social organistation” called the Shahpur Seva Sangh, of which Bhavsar himself is a member. Its president is a former BJP corporator of Shahpur ward, Atul Bhavsar.

“This sangh works for educationand socialcauses. Rotary Club and Sharda Trust have also donated uniforms for schools and this timewe have requested the Swaminarayan sect to do so too,” said Jagdish Bhavsar.

In case of Dani Limda Public School, money for uniforms has been collected from local donors. It had no uniform till six months after its start, and the decision to have a green uniform was taken in December 2014.

On Republic Day this year, the AMC School Boardstarted distributing the newuniforms, comprising a green T-shirt and black shorts. Recently, the final lot of uniforms was distributed, barring one student of ClassI who is expected to receive it soon.

“A factoryowner in Narol area, a businessman known to us and involved in charity work and a few parents sponsored 10 uniforms each. Two Muslim teachers of a Gujarati-medium school running in the morning shift on the same premises gave Rs 2,000 each,” said Principal Kalpana Jadav.

A school teacherand administrator Vaishali Parmar at the Dani Limda school said they were dependent on donations for uniforms as the school does not have a District InformationSystemfor Education(DISE) code that is mandatory to getscholarships or grants.

Shah Bano Javed Pathan, both of whose children are enrolled in Dani Limda Public School, says she has no problem with the colour of the uniform. “As the school is different from the remaining municipalschools, the uniform stands out,” she said.

Shahpur Public School, inaugurated by EducationMinister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on June 6, 2013, has had a saffron uniform since the beginning. The school buildingis called ‘Prahlad Patel Shikshan Sankool’ after the BJP leader who fought elections from Shahpur in 1980 and who taught at Ahmedabad’s M N Shukla Collegeof Education.

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