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Karnataka: Controversy over exempting private schools from singing state anthem daily 

February 21, 2024

The state government in Karnataka has stoked controversy after an order exempting state private schools from singing the state anthem has gone public.

In an official notice dated February 16, the Kannada and culture department has, as against a previous order, exempted private schools from singing the state anthem at the start of the day.

Previously, an order issued in 2004 and revised by the government in January 2024 had it that all schools must sing the state anthem ‘Jaya Bharata Jananiya Thanujate” written by state poet Kuvempu at the start of the day while all state government departments and their affiliated organisations are expected to play them anthem at the commencement of any official functions.  

However, one of the latest communications singed by S Geethabai, Under Secretary to Government, Kannada and Culture Department (Culture) reads that only government and aided schools are bound to follow the instruction, in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to exempt private unaided schools from the same.

Criticizing the same, Lokesh T, president, RUPSA (an association of private schools in the state) said that they did not welcome this decision.

“We hear and sing the state anthem which describes this state, its culture and history with great admiration. We ask students to sing this and explain excerpts from there. Each day, as the election date is approaching, the state is raking up controversies. They created a controversy over calling the school a temple of knowledge where students must come in folded hands. There are institutions from other states that have come to Karnataka to set up campuses here. We wonder whether this decision is to please such people. Whether this is a decision to woo non-Kannadiga established schools is a question,” he said.   

Also read: Karnataka Government: Students must sing national anthem everyday

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