The practice, of declaring a school holiday when a minister dies, should be discontinued. The only exception — if one is required — is when a sitting Prime Minister or President dies in office.
This happens more frequently in India because in the short 60 year time span since Independence, we have had several Prime ministers, some of whom have served for less than 6 months. The list grows when you add former Chief Ministers.
A few days back, former Prime Minister V.P.Singh died. A few months earlier it was former Chief Minister Bommai. When several million children don’t go to school, it adds up to a collosal waste of time. What do children do when they get a day off? Do they spend some time contemplating about the life of Chief/Prime Minister and the ‘service’ they provided to the country? Yeah, dream on. Or do they spend the day playing cricket, soccer, basket ball; or watch TV or movies? Many of the children have no clue as to who died. All they know or care is that there is no school. What purpose did the holiday serve? Why do we do stupid things like this?
When you add up the holidays that children get in India, add up days lost because of auto-strike or lorry-strike or bundh it adds to a big number.
Here’s my suggestion.
- No one (government or school authorities) shall have the power to declare a holiday when a VIP dies. (Exception is when safety of children is a concern)
- At school, the Principal assembles all the students and presents a brief biography of the politician/leader and the service that he/she rendered for the country. All the students observe a minute of silence. Then they go to their classrooms.
If you are a former Chief/Prime Minister, which would you rather have happen when you die? A day that is spent without any learning or purpose or a day where you are remembered and in addition education is not halted?