Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Vande Mataram controversy

Another posting from my friend Maya's blog (

Was anyway.. planning to vent out the same sentiments. This one reached me by mail. Almost the same idea....

We are Hindu or Muslim or of any other religion because our parents follow that religion. There is no contribution on our part ! The religion which doesn't respect Mother Earth has no right to stay on that land. Also religion that does not respect or supress women can only produce terrorist! God is one we gave different name to them. God does not tell anyone to do something.

When master artist Bismillah Khan fell ill, all over India many Hindus performed 'havan' and 'yagna' for his speedy recovery. Similarly, a seven-year-old Muslim girl from Agra, Praveen, was on fast for seven days to appease Hindu God Indra - so as to get rains.We often hear about Muslims taking care of Hindu temples and Hindus managing tombs of Muslim saints. At many places, Muslims make effigies of Ravana and also help organize Ganesh festivals.

Our President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pays obeisance in temples and gurudwaras. The hymns sung in praise of Hindu gods and goddesses by the legendary Mohammad Rafi have left remarkable impressions in our minds. All this is due to the common culture and civilization of India, a country of Kabir and Rahim. It is not astonishing if a Muslims sings Hindu religious songs and a Hindu pays homage to Muslim saint.

But if we view all this through narrow prism, then we may be violating so-called Islamic law or even Hindu culture."Vande Mataram" is a song that in status equals the national anthem. It is a prayer to Mother India, in Sanskrit. Some so-called custodians of Islam in India are claiming that the song violates Islamic law.

Perhaps, these custodians are not aware of the Ganga-Yamuna culture, the culture that unites. These few custodians put out meaningless statements that isolate Indian Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim children get education in English medium schools run by Christian missionaries where the prayer taught is inspired by Christianity. How many Muslim children refuse to learn it?"Jana Gana Mana..." and "Vande Mataram" pay homage to our motherland. These are not songs of any religion or community but are inspirational songs that give us pride.
Every Indian is proud of them and will remain so.

It is the fundamentalists and religionists who pollute the pleasant atmosphere by their controversial, useless and baseless statements. These few people have no right to stop Muslim children from learning or singing "Vande Mataram". By doing so they affront Indian Muslims and give more fuel to Muslim bashers.It is said that some parts of "Vande Mataram" are against Islamic law.

But Islamic law needs to be seen in the context of Indian civilization and culture. Our Indian culture has a peculiar place in the world. India is the only country where Hindu caretakers can be seen at tombs of Muslim saints and Muslims sing in praise of Hindu gods. It would be a great misfortune for Muslims and India if our laws do not take such circumstances into consideration.

The so-called custodians of Islamic law must learn a lesson from Indian Hindus, who worship Muslim saints just like their own gods and goddesses. Islamic law in India cannot work as it has been adopted in Arab countries. It may be that those who obey Islamic law in Arab countries prefer Islam to patriotism. But that can never be said of India.

Hindus don't place their religion above their country.If we agree with these so-called custodians of religious law, then emperor Akbar was against these laws. President Kalam's going to temples and gurudwaras is also against Islamic law. Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan are also against these laws. So are the music of Naushad and the poems of Shakeel Badayuni and Janisar Akhtar. The art of Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rehman will be pitted against Islamic law. If the fundamentalists are to be obeyed, A.R. Rahman committed a great sin by giving a new and attractive tune to "Vande Mataram"!

Indian Muslims have separate recognition in the world and are proud of Indian civilization and culture. They were proud of it and will remain proud of it. It was in India that the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board gave full support to the singing of "Vande Mataram". It will be better if the opponents of "Vande Mataram", instead of advising Muslim children not to sing it, inspire their own kids to read and render the national songs.

Such children, when they grow up, will not need certificates of patriotism from any Hindu group. Nobody will dare to see such children through suspicious eyes. People of all religions and communities in India must learn "Vande Mataram". Vande Mataram!