In a bid to scuttle students’ attempts to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the district education officer (DEO) in Surat has issued a circular to all schools in the city and district to organise ‘Matru Pitru Poojan Divas’ – Mother Father Worship Day by students on February 14.

In the covering letter of the circular the education department has stated: “In current times the youth is blindly following those practices which are against the glorious tradition of our country. To nurture best values from childhood and to protect our culture, Mother-Father Worship Day message should be given.”

Apart from instructions to organise ‘worship day’, schools have also been asked to send photos of the event in reply to the DEO. The letter also instructs schools on how to celebrate the day.

The schools will have to call five to 10 parents belonging to different religions and castes. They will also have to invite members of Nagar Prathmik Shikshan Samiti’s members, municipal corporation members, municipal councillors, educationalist or social worker to witness the event.

The circular, a copy of which is with PTI, also lays down guidelines on how to celebrate Matru-Pitru Pujan Diwas, with schools being asked to invite five to ten couples who will be worshipped by their sons or daughters studying there with flowers, vermilion, chanting of prayers and offering sweets.

Schools have also been asked to invite special guests, like local corporators, school management committee members or social workers, and speeches will be delivered highlighting the importance of the day.

Schools will have to submit a report to the district education office with details of the function accompanied by photographs, the circular added.

Congress opposes circular

The opposition Congress criticised the move saying officials were busy issuing such diversionary “fatwas” when they should be concentrating on improving standards of education in the state.

“We know the importance of parents in our life and culture. The circular directing schools to celebrate Parents Worship Day is a way to divert attention from shortcomings plaguing the school system in the state,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi

“Instead of issuing circulars meant to improve school education, the education department is issuing new fatwas. It is working in the direction of creating new controversies,” Doshi said.