In India ‘ Vande mataram’ is always an issue, but do not always reach a crisis point unless it is poked. This time the crisis is a fall out of a Madras High court judgement. The judge in the judgement, made a passing remark that schools, private institutions and all offices should sing the song vandemataram as a mark of patriotism. Judges are judges , are not partisan but they are also human being like us, not angels from heaven, brought up in the culture of the same society, may have some biases unknowingly.
Nobody can deny that last 2/3 years, there has been a divide between communities, mainly Hindus and Muslims. The division has a long history. Vandemataram was composed by Bankim chandra Chatterjee in 1876, published in 1882 and included in his famous book Anandamath. It sings the glory of our motherland, worships her, visualises her beauty adorned with nature, and ornaments. The spirit is ‘ HAIL MOTHERLAND’.
During this time of composition and publishing of the song, Indian national congress was founded, and the thought of demand of independence from British rule started picking up. In such a situation, meeting, processions and slogans were common for the awakening of the massee for the movement. The noise and tune in the word-Bande mataram- worked well for the masses as a slogan for awakening them preparing for fighting against the British. ‘ Vandemataram’ Slogan became popular with everybody , not in Bengal alone, but throughout the country. There was a magic in the call of Vandemataram, everybody would be united.
The song was sung by Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi ended his letters with the word ‘Vandemataram’.
All congress party meeting would begin and end with Vandemataram . The song became a rallying point; for Indians it was patriotism, for the British it was a call for wresting away their colony. For uttering Vandemataram British shot, jailed, hanged the freedom fighters. Freedom fighters put to gallows would die shouting the slogan Vandemataram on the gallows. This aroused the passion of Indians for freedom– Such was its appeal.
With such a background, it is natural that this song could enjoy the status of the national anthem. In fact, initially, it was considered as a national anthem, and the word vandemataram included in the first version of the national flag of India. Later on, as the tuning of the song did not fit in with playing the Band on it, it was replaced by janaganamana as the national anthem, and Vandemataram came to be declared as the national song. Vandemataram is still the national song.
Going by the background, all Indians should hail it. But Muslims has reservations in uttering this—as they say they cannot consider the country as mother and has reservations to place her above the country. I am a Bengali, from childhood very much attached to the song, I would sing the song loudly not able to pronounce the sanscritised words correctly, even not understanding the meaning of the song . I still remember how I would wake up very early in the morning of Republic and independence days , would run to my refugee-school, attired in my best– clean but worn-out clothes—would file-up, walk past and listen to lectures of our old and frail primary school teachers clad in dhoti-kurta, and would sing in chorus vandemataram as loud as our voice would permit. At last, school would give us a piece of sweet as reward, and we would romp home with a sweet memory, and would long for return of the day.
I spoke about me and my emotional involvement with it, so I am all in favour of welcoming the song in any form, anything different from it I cannot consider. Every Indian should sing the song without reservation. I have reason to believe that, unprovoked, large majority of Muslims also do not have objection to sing the song. Yet, sometimes we hear objections to it but in my opinion this objection is only a reaction to our hard-core hindus’ attempt to impose hindu values on the muslims. Hindus should Stop playing the role of watchman, leave the muslims free, everybody will sing Vandemataram with love as any Indian should.
A section of Hindus have been downgrading other religions and their religious practices , this is isolating them, and the net result is discriminated-groups come together and assert themselves on the society by denying everything what is imposed upon them. It is natural. Any community or group of people will do the same, there is nothing wrong in it, I will also do the same put under similar circumstances.
Present Politics of religion in the country is serious, the game brought BJP to power. May be BJP is not intending destruction of Muslim, it’s a ploy with a purpose to divide the society on the basis of religion, and then asking votes from the Hindus who already have become identifiable as a chunk, and then just pick up the chunk as a vote bank. This is the way BJP came to power in Major part of the country, now they are continuing same policy to win the rest of the country.
But it is playing with fire. Already the country is visibly polarised, minorities are isolated and humiliated everyday. They are nursing their wounds. A little bit more, it may go exploding the history of India. Through my experience in life I have seen the best way to raise the strength of a man is to constantly harass him, soon the victim will collect the strength for survival, will become the strongest and overpower his oppressor in his game.
Muslims must not be harassed, oppressed or humiliated –its not in their interest, it is in the interest of majority community.. Muslims will not react anymore. They won’t have the necessity to assert themselves, result is they will be singing Vandemataram with the Hindus. INDIA WILL LIVE LONG.