Singing Vande Mataram my obligation, says Salman Khurshid:
Khurshid, himself a Muslim, said he recites Vande Mataram out of
"national pride, a sense of patriotism
Muslim Thackerays and Muslim Togadias:
Along with a vast
majority of people in his constituency, we too had enormous faith in
Jamiatul-Ulema vis-à-vis Vande Matram:
Firstly that this song is completely
Un-Islamic, secondly that Jamiatul-Ulema has always been the stooge
of Congress, and thirdly the sound health of ‘Hindutwa forces’ is a
pre-requisite condition for the so-called secular parties to entice
'Vande Mataram controversy uncalled for':
Stating that the controversy over 'Vande Mataram' was uncalled for,
several prominent Muslim personalities Wednesday said the issue if
Muslims can recite the national song had been resolved with the
consent of clerics some 80 years ago....
Jamiat-Ulema-eHind on 2nd Nov 2009 passed a resolution asking
Muslims not to recite Vande Mataram on the ground that some verses
of the national song are against the tenets of Islam. Similar fatwa
was also passed by Darul Ulum Deoband three years ago, when the
controversy had begun afresh. Incidentally the same organizations
have also passed the fatwa that violence, terrorism is against the
concept of Islam.
loose, with the fatwa on Vande Matram., The self appointed
custodians of nationalism and section of media asserted that this
fatwa is anti National. Some went onto assert that ‘Vande Matram
Kahna Hoga’ (One will have to say Vande Matram). Earlier Shiv Sena
in particular, had dictated that ‘Is Desh Mein Rahna hai to Vande
Matram Kahna Hoga’ (If one has to live in this country they must
say-sing Vande Matram. So on one extreme, Don’t Sing Vande Matram,
on the other you will have to sing Vande Matram.
There is a
vast middle ground. Most of the Muslim participants in the
television talk shows and many other Muslim leaders, including the
minister for minority affairs, Salman Khursheed and many Muslim
intellectuals said that this fatwa is unacceptable and not worth
giving any importance as Indian Constitution has settled the matter.
The first two stanzas of the song, which are free from the Hindu
imageries, are to be sung. Many a commentators also pointed out that
the singing of any song cannot be imposed as that violates the
freedom of religion as guaranteed by the constitution.
So we have
three major streams of opinion on the Song issue. On one extreme,
Muslim orthodox-conservatives like from Jamiat-Ulema-eHind are
opposing it. Middle ground from amongst Muslims and Hindus not
making a big issue of someone’s singing or not singing it. As a
matter of fact majority of Muslims are stating that they have no
problem in singing the song and that they will sing it. On the other
extreme is the RSS fatwa, intimidating and assertive, that the song
must be sung.
as such has a complex history. It was written by Bankim Chandra
Chatterjee and, later was made a part of his novel Anand Math. This
novel has strong anti Muslim rhetoric. This song was very popular
with a section of society, but Muslim League strongly objected to
the song, as the song compares India with Goddess Durga. Islam being
monotheistic religion does not recognize any other God-Goddess than
Allah. Many others belonging to monotheistic religions also had
problem with this song. In 1937, the Song committee of the Indian
National Congress with Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam amongst others
as members selected Jana Gana Mana as the national anthem and picked
up first two stanzas of Vande Matram as national song.
Court had also to deal with this issue. School-children from the
‘Jehovah's Witnesses faith’ had refused to sing the national anthem
because their religion forbade them to sing it, due to which the
school expelled the students. The matter went to Supreme Court,
which observed that a secular court cannot enquire into the
correctness or otherwise of religious beliefs and that not singing
this song due to religious beliefs is not against Indian
Constitution. The ground on which court gave its verdict was the
assessment whether the belief is genuinely and conscientiously held
by a sizable section of the community, and that the belief is not
opposed to public order and morality. The Supreme Court struck down
the students' expulsion as violative of their freedom of religion
guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution and students were taken
Sorabjee one of our celebrated legal luminary takes the cue from
Justice Chinnappa Reddy to explain the rationale of the judgment,
"Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance;
our constitution practices tolerance; let us not dilute it". The
controversy has been raging, more so since 2006 when the UPA
Government called for singing of the song in schools.
Interestingly even the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee had
asked Sikhs not to sing Vande Matram, but most of the Sikhs defied
that and continued singing the song. One of the most touching
rendition of Vande Matram, Maa Tujhe Salaam, has come from none
other than A.R.Rahman, the celebrated Indian music maestro.
general labels like anti national for such fatwas is very misplaced.
Same Jamat-I-Islami Hind is the one which stood solidly with the
concept of composite Indian nationalism, opposing India’s partition,
rejecting the two nation theory of communalists. And there are
shades and shades of opinions amongst Muslims. Maulana Abul Kalam
Azad, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni and many other Muslim clerics went
along with the idea of singing first two stanzas of the song.
Legally while Constitution recognizes Vande Matram as a National
Song, it also gives us the freedom of religion, and the Supreme
Court judgments have struck down the extreme position that
Anthem-Song must be sung.
the nation, the heart and soul of Indian Nationalism, who united all
the people cutting across religion, caste and gender, Mahatma
Gandhi, also came to the conclusion that Jana Gana Mana and not
Vande Matram, should be the National Anthem. But this conclusion of
Gandhi was not acceptable to Nathuram Godse who made this as one of
the points of anger against the father of the nation leading to
Godse’s assassinating the father of the nation. (http://www.outlookindia.com/articles.aspx?232358).
So how does
one reconcile to differences in a democratic society? Dr. Ambedkar
pointed out that in a democracy the minority should gradually try to
overcome its separate ‘minority identity’, and the majority should
create a situation where minority does not feel insecure and has to
retreat inside the shell of its minority identity. One feels the
more we create a situation where minorities can live with security,
dignity and equity, such fatwa’s will be automatically ignored by
most of the minority community. We have seen that in the case with
Sikh community, the mandate of SPGC, was totally ignored. And even
now amongst Muslims most of them are against this fatwa, so it is
time that the other extremists stop sticking anti national label to
these conservative groups and more so to the community involved.
can either be brow beaten to submit to the wish of those claiming to
be representing the majority or the situations should be created
where minorities feel equally safe and confident in this country to
voluntarily and comprehensively overcome such types of dictates,
fatwas from one or other section of conservative groups.