Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Johannesburg (iol news) - Parents of several pupils at Parkdene Primary School in Boksburg assert their children have suffered racial discrimination and verbal abuse because they wore red strings around their wrists, as part of their Hindu religion. For years parents had been afraid to speak out, from fears of retaliation against their children. 
One third-grade boy's parents overcame that fear and objected to the principal, claiming his music teacher had shouted racial and derogatory slurs at him because he was wearing a red string around his wrist which is used by Hindus before the beginning of religious ceremonies and is part of their culture. They claim their son was ordered to take off the string and called a “coolie” several times in front of his classmates by his teacher - a racism hell that this student has endured since Grade 1, when that teacher first noticed the string and ordered him to remove it. But despite several such complaints, nothing had been done. The parents were told their son should wear a jersey to hide the red string. 

Desperate to get help for their son, who has been refusing to go to school, the couple took the matter to Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy. The department is now investigating the matter. Other parents have since come forward, saying the problem has persisted for over two years, and other children are being threatened and verbally abused by the same teacher - the only teacher in the school that has a problem with the red string. The principal apologized to the parents, saying the matter had been sorted out and the pupil could wear his red string; he would not have to cover it with a jersey. 
But this response, coming only after intervention by authorities, does not satisfy the angry parents, who say he is not fit to be a principal, nobody using abusive language and name-calling should be allowed to teach, and no child should be made to hide his cultural or traditional beliefs.

Authorities from South African Department of Education are investigating alleged racial and religious discrimination at a Primary School in Boksburg, near Johannesburg. This follows complaints against a teacher who has been accused of harassing a Grade 3 pupil for wearing the sacred Hindu red string (Mauli or Kavlava) around his wrist. Only after the authorities' intervention the principal apologised for the discrimination the child has had to endure. One of parent wrote in an e-mail, “I know full well that this issue has been ongoing for over two years and many parents at this school did not come forward because they are scared of their children being victimised. Why must a child be made to hide his cultural or traditional beliefs? This teacher has no traditional values. Social Sectarianism should have no place in modern societies.

It is fashionable in modern secular societies to regard sacred literature as the mythological musings of undeveloped people. Schools teach that with our current understanding of physics, medicine, psychology, democracy, and so on, we have little use for such writings except as literary art. Those who take scripture literally are pegged with pejorative terms such as “fundamentalists.” ... Certainly it is true that many stories in sacred writings seem fantastic to our scientific world. But many current technological wonders seemed fictional and implausible only a few decades ago. It is not, therefore, implausible that former societies could have had abilities and expertise unavailable today. ... Also, if a “religious” system claims that other genuine methods and scriptures are sinful, it should be abandoned as small-minded sectarianism.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Esteem for Sacred Writings”

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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