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FACT CHECK: Did Modi government remove Muslim festivals from NPR manual?

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The claim that the Modi government removed Muslims festivals from the NPR Manual 2020 is false since it was missing from the 2011 manual as well. 

Adding to the number of unverified news amid the unrest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC, recently a claim is doing rounds on social media terming the NDA government and upcoming National Population Register 'anti-Muslim' as it does not mention any Muslim festival while listing some important festivals of India.

Writer Saba Naqvi shared a post on Twitter that reads, "Shocking fact. Read #NPR manual. Eid and all Muslim holidays removed from the list of Indian Holidays. Page 32. Seek clarification from @PMOIndia_RC @narendramodi @AmitShah."

At the time of writing this article, this tweet has been shared more than 2000 times. 

A verified Twitter page of a Newspaper named Milli Gazatte also posted on twitter, "These fanatic Hindus in power are ruining India like grasshoppers are attacking crops in north India. Check Page No. 35 from this NPR manual. Ramazan, Milad un Nabi, Muharram....all Muslim festivals removed from the list of Indian festivals"

A number of other twitter users also posted on the micro-blogging site along with a screenshot from the NPR manual, claiming the same. 

The truth behind the claim 

First of all, the reason behind the presence of Indian festivals in the NPR manual should be understood. Festivals in the NPR instruction manual help to guess the month of birth of a person if someone is not able to recall the month of birth but remembers the year of birth.  

The fifth question of Section 4.9 under the title 'Questions', deals with recording the date of birth of people. Under it, section c states that if the only year of birth is known, the enumerator should ask in which season that person was born, and if the birth took place near a festival. Guessing the festival helps in figuring out the season in which a person was born and the enumerator can use the corresponding month in the Gregorian calendar to record the same as the month of birth. For this reason, two months are mentioned against several festivals, as those Indian festivals took place in either of the two months.

Now, the claim that the NPR manual does not include any Muslim festival is true but there is a valid reason behind it which is, the Muslim festivals don’t serve the purpose in the NPR exercise like the other festivals mentioned in the list do.

The Islamic festivals take place according to the Islamic lunar calendar due to which their corresponding month in the Gregorian calendar changes every year. You can check the dates of two major Muslim festivals for 20 consecutive years here.  

Clearly, on an average, the date of Islamic festivals gets advanced by 2-3 weeks every year, that means after every 1-2 years they take place in the previous month. As the Muslim festivals do not take place in a particular month in the Gregorian calendar, they do not help in identifying the month of birth of a person, which is the sole purpose of having a list of Indian festivals in the NPR manual.

The list of festivals in the NPR manual contains occasions that take place as per the Gregorian calendar and even if the Hindu calendar is not the same as the Gregorian calendar, the months of Hindu festivals don’t change beyond one month in the Gregorian calendar.  

It may also be noted that the festivals are mentioned in the list to make the procedure more feasible for the enumerators,  and it is not a comprehensive list. So people who don’t know their month of birth can mention other festivals of local importance or any other significant event and there is no bar on using such events to record the month of birth. You can find the complete NPR manual 2020 here. 

Missing from NPR manual 2011 as well

The NPR manual 2011 also has the same list of festivals, which was released at the time when the UPA government was at the center.

In conclusion, the claim that the Modi government removed Muslims festivals from the NPR Manual 2020 is false since it was missing from the 2011 manual as well. 

Muslim festivals are not added in the NPR as they do not serve the sole purpose of mentioning festivals in NPR list, which is to identify the month of birth of a person if that person is unable to recall the month of birth, but remembers the year. 

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