India Rediscovers Patriotism

However, in India it’s the motherland, so it’s really Matriotism. To celebrate centenary adoption of the National Song, the government has declared that children in schools will sing the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram, the song that was on everyone’s lips as they won their independence from Britain. It’s not the official National Anthem however, since the Islamists in the country object to it and have issued Fatwas against its singing.

First however you need to understand the  background and then you need to read a bit more Background.

The current controversy started with a meeting organized by the minority cell of the BJP in the city of Taj Mahal, Agra on February 25. This meeting, organized in order to mobilize Muslims for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, ended up with about 50 of Muslim invitees singing Vande Mataram. Interestingly, singing of Vande Mataram in this meeting was an exception as the BJP meetings in general do not have singing of this song on agenda. The controversy started when a local Muslim cleric (see MG, 1-15 April 2004) came out with a “fatwa” decreeing that all the Muslim singers of the Vande Mataram by singing it indulged in polytheism and as a consequence ceased to be Muslims. The mufti also decreed that their marriages stood annulled and they should re-solemnise their marriages.

Interestingly, the Hindutva gang has been raking up this issue periodically as part of Muslim-bashing since Independence, especially on the eve of elections. As part of anti-Muslim propaganda they coined the slogan “Iss desh maen rehna hae to Vande Mataram kehna hoga” (If you want to live in this country, you will have to sing Vande Mataram).

And now here’s the Article and an excerpt on the current row, in which most Hindu’s probably probably feel similar to the way Americans felt after 9/11 — singing this song renews their hope against terrorists, and it’s to them hanging out the flag in defiance of the murderers. From Hindustani Times:

A Central directive asking state governments to advise all the schools to recite the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram at 11 a.m. on September 7 is likely to snowball into a major controversy. September 7 marks the completion of the centenary celebrations to commemorate adoption of the national song. 

There is already a strong reaction in the Muslim community with its clerics opposing the move calling it “against the tenets of Islam”. Many of them have urged the community members to ensure that their children do not follow the directive.

Talking to Hindustan Times, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Khalid Rasheed said the recitation of Vande Mataram was a gunah in accordance with the Shariat. Any such directive from a secular government at the Centre was not acceptable, he said.

My take: tell your children not to sing it, or keep them out of school that day if you are so fearful.