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Singing Vande Mataram my obligation, says Salman Khurshid

Sunday, November 15, 2009 07:51:45 PM, Agencies

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New Delhi: The resolution of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JuH) asking Muslims not to recite 'Vande Mataram' is "unacceptable" and will be "counter-productive", Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said.


He also doubted whether the resolution was the view of the entire Jamiat as the organisation is divided into two factions.


"It (the resolution) is unacceptable. It is counter -productive. It is not good for our society and our country. It is not good for Muslims," Khurshid said in a news channel when asked to comment on the resolution passed by the JuH at its convention in Deoband on November 3.


The JuH, largest organisation of Sunni Muslims, in its resolution endorsed a fatwa issued by Darul-Uloom of Deoband in 2006 which had declared recital of 'Vande Mataram' as un-Islamic.


Khurshid, himself a Muslim, said he recites Vande Mataram out of "national pride, a sense of patriotism and commitment".


Asked whether he feels proud of singing Vande Mataram, the minister said, "Not only proud, but I am committed. I consider it my obligation."


He disapproved of efforts to force anyone to desist from reciting the national song or even to force anyone to sing it.


"It's a tragedy that someone is insisting that we don't sing this (Vande Mataram) because they have strange notion of what is good.

And somebody else is insisting that we sing it because they believe that this is the only way to show us down," the Minority Affairs Minister said.


Asked about his advice to his community members on the issue, Khurshid said, "I will tell them to sing. I will tell them to stand by me shoulder-to-shoulder and sing the song for the nation."


He said if he could recite Vande Mataram out of national pride, others also must sing it keeping the same sentiment in view.


Asked whether he shared the view of some sections that certain people recite Vande Mataram only to provoke Muslims, Khurshid said, "Some do it...When somebody from a die-hard extremist party says you have to sing it if you have to live in India, is that not provocation?"


Questioning the JuH resolution on Vande Mataram, Khurshid said the issue was settled after Independence by Congress leaders Jawahar Lal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.


"They sat together and set to rest whatever questions there were about Vande Mataram and its stanzas that people were objecting," he added.


At the same time, he said, "there may be a small area (in the song) where somebody can have a different point of view in the manner in which you show your patriotism."


Khurshid sought to dismiss the controversy over P Chidambaram attending the convention where the controversial resolution was passed, insisting that the Home Minister was "not fully aware that such a resolution has been passed". Chidambaram has already made it clear that the resolution was not passed in his presence.


Denying suggestions that the government identifies Muslims with their religion and not with their real problems, Khurshid cited implementation of Sachar Committee recommendations and setting up of Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) as proof of its "commitment" for their betterment.


He said a Group of Ministers (GoM) is being set up to work out details for location of the proposed Commission and the Bill has "fair chances" of being passed during the winter session of Parliament beginning from November 19.


EOC, which was one of the key recommendations of the Sachar Committee report, will be vested with powers to ensure affirmative action for members of deprived communities working in public and private sectors.


Khurshid said the UPA government has accepted all recommendations of Sachar Committee barring one that was for having a nationwide cadre of Wakf officers.


On the issue of reservation for backward Muslims, Khurshid said it is on "high priority" of the government and it will be done in a sustainable manner.


He said the government is looking at both the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh models of reservation for Muslims but will not "give a model which is struck down by the courts tomorrow".








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