St Gerosa School in Mangaluru

By Bellie Thomas

It may have started with a teacher explaining a century-old poem to a class in a private school in Mangaluru in Karnataka earlier this month.

However, two audio clips about the teacher going viral on social media and subsequent protests leading to her suspension put the focus squarely on the politicisation of the issue.

Since then, the protesters — two MLAs among them — have been booked, and a top-ranking official in the state’s Department of Education has been transferred, apparently for how the matter was handled.

Now, following a complaint by the school management, the focus has shifted to pinpoint the woman whose voice was heard in the two viral audio clips claiming the teacher made anti-Hindu remarks in class.

The controversial audio clips

It all started earlier this month at the St Gerosa Convent School in Mangaluru, when English teacher Sister Prabha was talking to seventh-standard students about the poem Work is Worship, composed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1910.

Tagore wrote the national anthems of two countries, and was the first non-European to win the Nobel prize. He was awarded the prize in literature for Gitanjali, of which this poem is a part.

However, two audio clips began circulating on social media claiming that sister Prabha had made disparaging comments about Hindu religious practices and political leaders.

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