Bihar: How Festival Holiday List Became Target of Fake News
This time, it all started with a list of public holidays, in Bihar. Two days ago when the Bihar Education Department released the list of school holidays, it was calculatedly amplified into a media-driven misinformation/fake-news campaign. Beginning with newspapers, followed by electronic media outlets, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fully capitalized on this malicious campaign. All these links in the fake news chain were essentially alleging that “Hindu Holidays have been cancelled and Muslim holidays have been introduced” in Bihar. This misinformation and fake-news was made to go viral on social media with trolls chipping in. Never forget that Bihar remains a political thorn-in-the-flesh for the ruling regime, especially after chief minister Nitish Kumar switched sides—again—and is now with the secular Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
First, several Hindi newspapers published articles (well-coordinated!) saying that the Bihar Education Department has ‘abolished’ holidays for ‘Hindu’ festivals and increased holidays for ‘Muslim’ celebrations. Soon, we witnessed a well-coordinated propaganda both in the print media and on social media platforms. Predictably, several senior BJP leaders and “influencers” amplified the Fake-News. Commercial electronic (TV) News Channels promptly started “debates” on this issue and conveniently invited representatives of the dominant, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to amplify this out of context and spread more lies and fake news. The social media storm around this has been created to create the impression that “Hindu masses” are also angry as they see this propaganda as “real.”
2 of 5
So much so that the Bihar education department has now been compelled to issue a “clarification” regarding school holidays for the academic session 2024. The announcement clarified that there were/are no changes in the number of holidays next year and that all schools have always remained open and celebrated the birth anniversaries of great men. The education department made the clarifications in response to the rumours circulating around the recently released school holiday calendar 2024. This is what the Bihar government has had to do.
What is the actual context?
Every year the many state governments release a list of holidays for schools. There are different calendars issued for different set of schools. They issue a different list of holidays for Madarsa and Maqtabs. By picking up and highlighting only the Holiday list of the Madrasas and Maqtabs and making out as if these holidays applied to all educational institutions, this barrage of fake information was spreading falsehood, stigma and prejudice. [For example the Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education gives Friday as a weekly holiday even under the Adityanath’s leadership. This may be read here.
The Nitish Kumar-RJD combine has increased the summer vacation holidays from 20 to 30 days, therefore many festivals that fall during that period are not mentioned separately as holidays. The BJP has cynically used this as an opportunity to deliberately spread a fear/hate campaign.
ना रामजी का, ना कृष्ण जी, ना शिव जी, ना महान सम्राट अशोक का है बिहार!
–ईद : 3 दिन
–बकरीद: 3 दिन
–मुहर्रम : 2 दिन
– शुक्रवार (जुमा): मुस्लिम बहुल क्षेत्र में अघोषित छुट्टी
–रामनवमी : 0 दिन
–रक्षाबंधन: 0 दिन
–महाशिवरात्रि: 0 दिन
–श्रीकृष्ण जन्माष्टमी : 0 दिन
– सम्राट अशोक अष्टमी: 0 दिन
ये कोई दूसरे देश का कैलेंडर नहीं, लालू–नीतीश के तुष्टिकरण का खामियाजा पूरा बिहार भुगत रहा है।
Muslim-only IT park, religious quota, Shadi Shagun scheme, interest free loans to Waqf, Haj pilgrimage subsidy, salaries to Maulvis, free UPSE coaching – Secularism in this country has transmogrified into Appeasement. This is not welfare; this is warfare.
Bihar govt has slashed the school holidays on the occasions of Janmashtami, Rakshabandhan, Shivratri. However, ‘3 holidays have been given during Eid’. Urdu schools to get weekly holiday on Friday instead of Sunday
The Bihar government has enforced discriminatory policies by removing holidays for many Hindu festivals in schools & granting three-day holidays for one-day Muslim festivals. This is a clear example of appeasement politics, which is a great injustice to the Hindu community.
VIDEO | “Does Bihar CM Nitish Kumar want to form Islamic Republic of Bihar?” says Union minister and BJP leader @girirajsinghbjp on reports of #Bihar government’s decision to reduce the number of holidays for the state’s schools during Hindu festivals and increasing it for Muslim festivals.
Background: Indian national holidays
Being a culturally diverse country, there are many festivals celebrated in various regions across the country. There are only three national holidays declared by the Government of India: Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2). Apart from this, certain holidays which are celebrated nationally are declared centrally by the Union Government. Additionally, various state governments and union territories designate additional holidays on local festivals or days of importance as holidays as per section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. National holidays are mandatory holidays declared by Government of India which are applicable for all states and union territories of India.
Central holidays: In addition to the three fixed national holidays, the Union Government of India declares additional days as holidays which are largely followed by central government offices and affiliates. In addition to designated fixed holidays, few other days are designated optional from which a select number of days can be chosen according to individual convenience. (Central holidays ‘Optional’) State holidays: In addition to the above, various state governments and union territories designate additional holidays on local festivals or days of importance as public holidays as per section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Besides, they declare their own State days as holidays, birth anniversary days, festivals and others as holidays as well.
Editor’s take: This is one more example of “Hit and Run Sabotage” Propaganda. There has been a history of such fake propaganda campaigns by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) BJP especially during the election time. Many media houses also add to the confusion and promote Fake News. It takes about a week to 10 days for people to understand the facts, the news channels never apologise on their own for peddling essentially false information. Ultimately the damage is done, especially during an elections campaign.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.