A storm of criticism has erupted over the decision by the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government to curtail the number of festive holidays in government schools. The move has triggered a fierce backlash, particularly from the saffron camp, who argue that this decision could deeply wound the sentiments of Hindus. The criticism has escalated to the point where accusations of adopting Sharia law are being hurled at the Bihar government.
The Bihar Education Department’s announcement involves a reduction in the number of festive holidays in government schools from 23 down to 11, covering the months of September through December.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh raised a tumultuous response by suggesting that Bihar might soon be following Sharia law, insinuating that the cancellation of holidays for Hindu festivals could be a precursor to such a shift. The outrage has been further fueled by accusations of appeasement politics.
Notably, key Hindu festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali, and Chhath Puja are among those whose holidays have been canceled. This move has drawn sharp condemnation from Samrat Choudhary, Bihar BJP chief, who accuses Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of playing the appeasement card and disrespecting the sentiments of the Hindu community.
Choudhary expressed his dismay, stating, “This overbearing Bihar government is consistently engaging in appeasement politics. The Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav-led government does not hesitate in causing offense to Hindus. Are Hindus no longer allowed to celebrate their religious festivities in Bihar? Apart from Deepawali and Durga Puja, even Mahaparva Chhath holidays have been slashed. This situation is deeply regrettable and utterly unacceptable. The people of Bihar will respond fittingly to the advocates of appeasement politics in 2024 and 2025,” he shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The official statement discloses that the number of festive holidays in government schools has been significantly reduced from 23 to 11 between September and December. This decision comes with a series of directives from Additional Chief Secretary KK Pathak aimed at enhancing the school education system in Bihar.
Specifically, key changes include the elimination of the Raksha Bandhan holiday on August 31, a reduction of the Durga Puja holiday from six days to three days, and a substantial reduction in the holiday period from Diwali to Chhath Puja. Previously spanning nine days, this holiday window now comprises only one day for Diwali (on November 12), one day for Chitragupta Puja on November 15, and two days for Chhath Puja on November 19 and November 20.