Bihar’s Holiday Calendar 2024 Sparks Controversy: Allegations of Bias in Favor of Muslim Festivals

Patna: The recent release of the Bihar Government’s school holiday calendar for 2024 has ignited a political firestorm, with accusations of bias in favor of Muslim festivals and against Hindu celebrations. The government, led by the RJD and JDU alliance, has made significant changes to the holiday schedule, reducing days off for Hindu festivals while extending the holidays for Muslim observances.

The amended calendar reveals a cut in holidays for major Hindu festivals such as Ramnavami, Rakshabandhan, Teej, Vasant Panchami, Shivratri, and Jivitputrika. Meanwhile, holidays for Bakrid have been extended to three days, and Muharram now enjoys a two-day break. Even secular occasions like Labour Day (1st May) and Gandhi/Shastri Jayanti (2nd October) have faced cancellations.

This move marks the first time that the Education Department has unified the holiday schedule for classes 1 to 12, as opposed to district-level decisions for primary schools and orders from the Secondary Directorate for secondary and higher secondary schools.

A notable change is the declaration of a weekly holiday on Fridays for all Urdu primary, middle, and higher secondary schools in the state. In a departure from the norm, these schools will now operate on Sundays. In 2024, Eid and Bakrid will be granted three days of holidays each, in contrast to the two-day break given in 2023.

The political fallout has been swift, with BJP leaders accusing the government of Islamizing education in Bihar. They argue that the reduction of Hindu festival holidays and the increase in Muslim festival holidays are inappropriate and against the principles of secularism.

Responding to these allegations, JDU spokesperson Neeraj Kumar refuted the claims, stating that separate holiday tables have been declared for Urdu and Hindi schools. He added that any changes in the number of holidays would be explained by the Education Department.

The revised holiday schedule for Urdu schools includes closures on Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Republic Day, Sant Ravidas Jayanti, Bihar Day, Good Friday, Bhimrao Ambedkar Jayanti, Shab e Baraat, Buddha Purnima, Kabir Jayanti, Independence Day, Hazrat Mohammad Sahib Birthday, Durga Puja (Saptami), Diwali, Christmas, and a one-day holiday for Chehallum.


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