For the last three years, students of a government primary school at Sayan village in Olpad taluka of Surat district have been saying 'Jai Hind' instead of "Yes, Sir" and "Present, Sir" during roll call. Last week, when the government asked all schools to ensure that students respond with "Jai Bharat" or "Jai Hind" during roll call from January 1, it took inspiration from a Rajasthan teacher who was honoured in Ahmedabad by RSS-affiliated ABVP.
But students and the teachers at the Olpad school say that the credit of the initiative should goes to their history teacher Mahendrasinh Gohil.
"We are happy that the concept of nation building which was started from our school by Mahendrasinh Gohil sir is now becoming compulsory in all the schools, even though the credit has been given to a Rajasthan teacher. We have been implementing the same concept in our school since 2015 and we have seen results among the students. Many students who left the school to study in other schools, whenever meet us, they start the conversation with Jai Hind. We are satisfied with the way we are building good character among the students in the village," Sejal Rathod, the school principal, said.
According to 38-year-old Gohil, the idea germinated after he found students talking during National Anthem at the school assembly. "Instead of punishing them, I thought a way to develop love and affection towards the nation among the students. After three days, the idea clicked and I told the students to say 'Jai Hind' instead of 'Yes, Sir'," says Gohil, who have been teaching in the same school for the last five years.
From that day onwards, all the 40 students in his classroom started saying 'Jai Hind' during roll call. After getting a good response, the idea was emulated in other classes, and in few months all the 800 students of the school started saying 'Jai Hind'.
In 2016, Gohil took part in the Gujarat Education Innovation fair with his project titled "Jai Hind" that focussed on "building nationalism among students" in primary schools. "I'm happy the government has issued a circular to all the schools. I'm happy that the concept will now be implemented in all the schools in Gujarat. I believe in building love and respect towards the country among the students, so that in future also they pay respect to the nation and inspire other students to follow it," he says.