The Telegraph
Saturday , August 24 , 2013
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Carmel whip on mehendi girls

Parents have taken up cudgels on behalf of their wards in Dhanbad after 100 girls were admonished by their principal for coming to school with mehendi on their palms on the occasion of Rakhi on Wednesday and Thursday.

The principal of Carmel School-Digwadih, Sister Angela scolded primary and middle school students twice — once on Thursday and again on Friday — and also asked them to get rid of any remains of the palm art if they wanted to study at Carmel.

Sister Angela also left a note in the school diary of the students, where the guardians were told not to send their wards to school until they had removed all traces of mehendi.

Dhanbad Guardian Association has condemned the school’s strict stand and threatened to lodge a complaint with Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar. Association members argued that Rakhi, which fell on Shravan Purnima on Wednesday, is considered to be a holy occasion and women wearing mehendi for the festival was a part of Hindu tradition.

“It’s a sensitive issue. The students did no wrong. It is a custom among Punjabi, Marwari and even Bihari girls and women to apply mehendi on their palms on Raksha Bandhan. The school has no right to hurt the sentiments of these communities. We will meet the DC tomorrow to lodge a complaint,” chairman of Dhanbad Abhibhavak Sangh Manoj Kumar Mishra said.

But Sister Angela defended her action on grounds of school discipline. “We admonished the students to enforce discipline. Our school does not allow such practices. However, if one is putting mehendi and other such symbols for religious reasons, the school must be informed beforehand. We will permit it,” she told The Telegraph

In the last few days, several parents have taken to Twitter and Facebook to express their opinion. Many questioned the rationality of the school’s action, saying that the students were being penalised without any fault.

“I can understand if it was lipstick or nail polish in question. But mehendi is related to auspicious occasions and the school should have been more considerate,” said Satpal Singh Broka, a parent.