Non-Uniform Code: Saffron For Hindu Kids, Green For Muslims

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SHAFAQNA – In post-Godhra Gujrat, the society still seems to be divided on religious line and this divide is visible even in the colour of school uniforms. While the students of a Hindu-majority Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation school sport saffron-coloured uniform, another AMC school with muslim-majority has green as its uniform’s colour.

According to a report in an English daily, other than being AMC’s only English-medium schools, Shahpur Public School and Dani Limda Public School have another distinction. While the uniform at Shahpur school where most of the students are Hindus is saffron-coloured, the Dani Limda school where almost all the students are Muslims has a green uniform. The other 454 schools run by AMC, all non-English-medium, have the same blue-and-white uniform.

“The selection of green (as uniform for the Dani Limda school) was a random decision and has nothing to do with any community. We had other options, of pink and blue, too but, keeping in mind the suitability to children, green was finalised,” The report quoted AMC School Board Chairman Jagdish Bhavsar.

He termed the selection of saffron for the Shahpur school as a “non-partisan decision” too, taken without any “prejudice or preference” towards a community or organisation.

According to the report, asked if the colour choices had anything to do with the religion of the students, Bhavsar said, “There is no such thing about communities and colours associated with them.”

More than 98 per cent of the students at Dani Limda Public School, located in the middle of the Muslim-majority Kanubhai ni chali slum in Dani Limda village, are Muslims. At Shahpur Public School, more than 95 per cent students are Hindus.

AMC introduced the English-medium schools with the hope of containing declining enrollment in municipal schools. Both the Shahpur school, opened in June 2013, and Dani Limda, opened last year.

The Shahpur school uniform, comprising a saffron shirt and shorts, incidentally is sponsored by a “social organistation” called the Shahpur Seva Sangh, of which Bhavsar himself is a member. Its president is a former BJP corporator of Shahpur ward, Atul Bhavsar. In case of Dani Limda Public School, money for uniforms has been collected from local donors. It had no uniform till six months after its start, and the decision to have a green uniform was taken in December 2014.

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