vande mataram

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Jan 2019 11:49:27

EVEN though Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Kamal Nath has described the decision as ‘for the time being’, the discontinuance of singing of Vande Mataram on the first day of every month at Vallabh Bhawan park has raised many an eyebrow. Though the Chief Minister has indicated that the MP Government may resume the practice in some other form, the decision has come in for sharp criticism as most see no sense in such an approach.

As criticism mounted, Mr. Kamal Nath reportedly asked, in effect, if those who do not sing Vande Mataram were not patriots. This question angered many people all the more, even as the BJP leaders and cadres sang Vande Mataram on January 1, 2019, to continue with the practice they had introduced as many as 13 years ago, making a strong political point. Let us hope that the Madhya Pradesh Government restores the practice at the earliest so that disturbed emotions can be calmed down, as promised by Chief Minister Mr. Kamal Nath.

Even though Vande Mataram is a national anthem, some sections of the larger Indian society have always opposed its singing, alleging that it is a Hindu song, penned by (the late) Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. This very idea is senseless, since countless people belonging to all faiths have made tremendous sacrifices during the British regime just because they chanted the two mesmeric words Vande Mataram or sang the song. In those days when the struggle for Independence gathered greater momentum, two words Vande Mataram became the clarion call for the national fight. The British police swooped on those who chanted those two words or sang the anthem, but unmindful of that, the lakhs of people found a spiritual sublimation shouting the nationalistic slogan.

Against this background, there was actually no need for the Madhya Pradesh Government to discontinue a practice that had been introduced 13 years ago. If the State Government wanted to replace the practice in some other form, it could have done so only after it had invented a newer method of doing that. But the current decision to discontinue the practice is being read as some sort of political reaction to a decision taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party Government, almost as vendetta.

If these are the reasons, howsoever unstated, then Mr. Kamal Nath should never have taken the decision of discontinuance. For, unnecessarily, bad blood is created at the cost of national anthem. Therefore, the new Government should have avoided the decision, and waited for its replacement in whatever form. That would have avoided an uncalled for controversy involving the national anthem.

Let alone the details of what is happening in Madhya Pradesh, the very thought that Vande Mataram is a Hindu anthem, is unacceptable to any sensible Indian. The song was first written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in his novel “Anand Math” based on the theme of the activities of a revolutionary group that fought for freedom. So wonderful are the song’s words and ideas that the leaders of India’s struggle for Independence accepted it as their anthem. The leaders who accepted the song as anthem included Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and other contemporaries. Thus, the anthem has an absolutely nationalistic ideation at its core.

In this light, the question whether those who did not sing it were not patriotic, carries little actual weight. The issue is not exactly about patriotism in a dictionary sense; it is about a good practice that need not have been discontinued by the new Government. With this thought in mind, we appeal the MP Government to restore the practice at the earliest, in any form.