Schools in Gujarat's Surat have been asked to organise "Matru-Pitru Pujan Diwas" (Mother-Father Worship Day) on February 14, coinciding with Valentine's Day, to "cultivate Indian cultural values among school children", as per a circular issued by the district education officer on Saturday.
The circular, a copy of which is with the news agency PTI, also lays down guidelines on how to celebrate Matru-Pitru Pujan Diwas, with schools being asked to invite five to ten couples who will be worshipped by their sons or daughters studying there with flowers, vermilion, chanting of prayers and offering sweets.
Schools have also been asked to invite special guests, like local corporators, school management committee members or social workers, and speeches will be delivered highlighting the importance of the day.
The Surat DEO's circular said schools may organise similar events to inspire students and create awareness among them about the day.
Schools will have to submit a report to the district education office with details of the function accompanied by photographs, the circular added.
The opposition Congress criticised the move saying officials were busy issuing such diversionary "fatwas" when they should be concentrating on improving standards of education in the state.
"We know the importance of parents in our life and culture. The circular directing schools to celebrate Parents Worship Day is a way to divert attention from shortcomings plaguing the school system in the state," said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
"Instead of issuing circulars meant to improve school education, the education department is issuing new fatwas. It is working in the direction of creating new controversies. It is a drama because the education department is directionless," Mr Doshi added.