The Vande Mataram controversy

[Update: Since you took the time, do read part II (a muslim view) and part III (an argument) as well]

I am no BJP supporter, nor anti-muslim guy. But I am not for appeasement either, and I just hate all this politics in the name of religion.

When I read this bit on rediff on Sunday, I could imagine all those smiling faces at BJP headquarters. They finally got some fodder.

“But when it comes to worship only Allah is given that honour. A Muslim cannot worship his or her parents, motherland and even the Prophet though they are held in high esteem,”

No wonder, 2 days later, we have a controversy kicking some serious dust in the Parliament.

But, why be so literal Mr Bukhari? The song is revered more for the history attached to it than the literal meaning. Please dont incite politics in an out-of context fashion like that. Actually, strictly speaking, Vandana (origin for word Vande) translates to the act of bending or obeying in respect or submission (Obeisance). The sanskrit word for worship is Pooja or Stuti.

And Bharat Maata isn’t a goddess mentioned in those Hindu scriptures. The concept is just a nationalistic creation.

A R Rahman sang Vande Mataram, you din’t say a thing.

The whole country sang “Allah ke Bande” and is singing “Ya Ali” without thinking about relegion even once.

We continue to love “Saare jahaan se achha” even though the poet didn’t prefer Hindustan.

And you are spending your energy trying to undo some history. Why? You might have a point here, but why cant you forgoe that for a bit of nationalism?


18 Responses

  1. I’m not sure why we always tag Hinduism with BJP? India is a Hindu nation no doubt about it.

    I as an Indian/Hindu/Hindustani hate those people:
    1. Who support article 370
    2. Who are against common law for all
    3. Give voter rights to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh/Pakistan.
    4. Who oppose construction of Ram temple at Ayodhaya? If Ram temple not in Ayodhya, where can Hindus build it? In Mecca or Vatican????
    5. All those so called “intellectuals” who always comment on Hindus , but not a word against other religions.

    Hundreds of Hindus are being killed daily in Kashmir, but still Government is not taking any action against fanatic islamic facist terrorists.
    Enough is Enough..we have see lot of bomb blasts now! It is time to act. LEARN FROM ISREAL, USA, UK
    I think India need strong leadership like Isreal. Real men with Real guts. Not people who act on the words on Italian Sonia.
    Bharat mata ki jai. Mera Bharat Mahan! Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!

  2. NRIForIndia, I see some point in what you say, but only some. Many, like you are frustrated with these bomb blasts and all. But that sort of Hindu-ist stance is not going to take us anywhere.

    Talking of Israel, can I argue that the hard stance taken by them has helped shape the so called “Islamic fascist” feelings (to quote Bush)? They fought a war in 60s, 40 years later they are still fighting it. The country lives life they live in an army bunker, always watchful of bombs that could explode anywhere. Moreover, that country was “created” on the basis of “relegion”.

    India wasn’t crafted that way. Like it or not, many Muslims either could not or did not want to move to Pakistan.

    BJP does talk sense when it uses the word “Hindu” to denote the “Indian” way of life. But using that word in strictly relegious sense and saying India is a Hindu nation is being blind to the reality and history. This country belongs to all who chose to stay here.

    Kashmir is an unfortunate situation, and yes we have helped it by “pampering” that region with Article 370 and more. Minority appeasement does happen and does not help. But so hasn’t BJP’s political movement.

    But isn’t it a coincidence that the world is a lot less safe since 9/11? And Kashmir insurgency (1989) coincides with the rise of BJP (1988).

    Hard stances solve the problem when the other side is too small or has no logic in its stand. Neither is the case here. We cant just wish 20 crore people away. And the fact is that Kashmir signing up with India was in part due to a Hindu king at the time. I mean – there is some merit to the other side’s argument – though I am not for giving that region away to Pakistan.

    Be aware that Indian muslim community on the large part has not embraced the sort of “fascism” Bush talks about. If they do, we would be in a larger crisis. I would argue that we have the most progressive Muslim society in the world, and it is in our national interest to encourage it to be that way.

    The only realistic and lasting solution (to Kashmir) as I see it, is a “United States of India” like arrangement, that brings together the two (or some will argue three) warring parties and more (Nepal?). That needs to happen in the name of “economic growth”. Once the focus gets to be on growth and economy, relegion will not be the most focused item for discussion.

  3. Its Hinduism and its common cultural ethos that is holding this otherwise fissiparous country together not the copycat constituition. Its unfortunate that we are forgetting this and too much importance is given to the trivial sentiments of minorities. American president swears by the bible but an Indian PMs have reservations to do similarly by swearing by Bhagawatgita for the fear of offending the Muslims!!
    Shame on our complicity and so called resilence. I call it the impotance of Hindus of which I am also a memeber.

  4. I have a simple question..we know the neighboring fanatic country Pakistan is involved in all the killings of innocent people of India in all the bomb blasts so far….then why India is hesitating to attack fanatic Pakistan? International community must ban all exports and imports to fanatic Pakistan. We all know where the D-group and osama are working from..that is Pakistan. It is right time that International community must act fast against Pakistan. And also I suggest to give unique ID number to each of the world muslim so that world has count on each of them. Because they are so dangerous to this whole world. Great leader USA must take this initiative of giving special ID.

  5. Bharat, No! NRIForIndia, No no no! Dont make this blog sound like an anti-Muslim site.

    Bush swears by bible simply because he is a Christian. Why should a non-Hindu be forced to swear by Gita> That is just being criminally insensitive.

    If we really had solid proof of Pakistan’s involvement, why haven’t our master-of-leaks newspapers paraded those yet? Why have those not been made public by our govt yet? Things are not as black and white as they are made to sound.

    Not to say that Pakistan may not be sponsoring terrorism. But we got to do first things first. And that is stretgthen our internal security setup. Crying Pakistan Pakistan each time is just ignoring our incapability to defend ourselves.

    India, US or UK, everyone has got to learn to defend own turf against modern guerilla warfare. US can get away with bombing a country on other side of the globe. We cant. Dont have the time and resources to indulge in that kind of adventurism.

  6. Blogger, I’m not against muslims. If we need to strengthen the internal security, government must being strict laws taking singapore, dubai or gulf countries as role model. If someone does any crime, severe punishment like death penalty or removing the eyes or cut the hands. And I’m sure by implementing these strict laws we can reduce lot of anti-social/fanatic/facist forces of society and we can have a safe Hindusthan.

  7. nri for india u seem to be a complete extremist why are u talking about israel u actually try and live in a country that has to live in the constant fear of whether they will see daylight or not ….and taking an exaple from the US and UK
    ?????…. Are u seeing what they are doing to asians who live in their country …its not racial discrimination its color discrimination …i hope u have got plastic surgery so u no longer look asian ….
    why are u attcking the muslims ..there are enough hindu terrorists who begin like you … sowing seeds of hate for absoultely no reason

  8. Student – if you are talking about the recent Northwest Airlines fiasco – you do have a point. West has started equating muslims = terrorists. They may not say it, or may talk only behind the back (like Dean Jones), but the sad thing is this stupid equation is getting popular.

    We – in India – are not there yet. A few zealots do this, but most dont. That is because we have been living together (yes, fighting and butchering each other at times) this way or that way for over 6-7 centuries now. And because of that, majority-minority equations are a lot better.

    Tell me one decent sized country that has a relegious mix like ours? None. We just cannot afford to fall prey to this same volatile equation.

  9. Hello all, I support silkboard. The last thing that we want is to have a hindu version of Saudi Arabia or Iran. Hate breeds hate. It is still not too late. There are fundamentalists on both sides. To defeat them, we need to support & strengthen the sane voices like silkboards.

    I agree that the fundamentalist elements in Islam have waged the war against the world. Unfortunately their biggest ally are the people who hate them the most. I can understand the sentiments of NRIforIndia. But being aggressive is not being patriotic. India’s greatness is in its acceptance of diversity. There is no other country with so many languages and religions. We are maturing as a nation. For the last 50 years, we have been trying to build a nation. Our biggest enemy are within us – trying to divide us on the basis of religion and caste.

    Hindus & Muslims are same Quam. We are more similar than different. Open your eyes and heart. We need to heal the wounds of past. Our enemy is ignorance. The upper caste Ranvir sena that butchers dalit villagers in Bihar are as much enemy as SIMI. What about Hindu LTTE that killed Rajiv Gandhi or ULFA cadres that burn national flags?

    NRIforIndia, please do not be so bitter. You seem to be well read. Do not get swayed by the extremist opinion. The solution is not so simple as you suggest. There are things that need to be set right. But we need to defend the soul of India as vigorously as we defend its external borders.

  10. Indus77, except SIMI no other organisation you have stated have relegious affiliations, especially LTTE. LTTE is not a hindu group – they are tamil rebels and the group comprise of all relegions. If you say LTTE is hindu because the majority is formed by hindu, then you also infer India is hindu.

  11. To all,
    In UK they sing ‘god (christian god) save the queen’. In US their constitution says ‘in god we trust’. Its a shame that an Indian objects to sing Vande Mataram. These extremists who oppose to singing Vande Mataram are hypocrites – they say that their children shouldnt be sent to schools singing Vande Mataram; but they dont realise that this idea challenges their very existence in a land that practices diverse relegions – would they quit from such a place. They only bring about community isolation in the name of relegion. If you want to be a part of a great nation, be a part of it – in words and in action. Struggle for independance and VANDE MATARAM are inseperable from the sacrifices our forefathers made. If you feel shameful or conflicted for singing VANDE MATARAM – be shameful of the freedom (that u dont deserve) you have today.

  12. Indus77, thanks for the support. And you are right. Hate breeds hate. Those who spread hatred against Islam etc, in fact are the best friends of Islamic extremists.

    Healing the wounds of past – that is a tricky one though. What really has created that big “wound”. The “partition”? Or events before that?

    For all other types of divisive ‘extremism’ (caste – Ranvir Sena, region? – ULFA, income – Naxalism) you mention, those are results of ‘mistrust’ brought about by ‘skewed’ growth. “Balanced” growth should really sort those out.

    And yes, as PatrioticIndia poined out, branding LTTE as a Hindu organization may not be right. They never actually claimed a religious ‘rebellion’.

  13. Good morning every one. If I may please I’d like to comment here and also have a couple of questions.
    I find this blog very interesting first because it is my earnest hope to visit your country in January, second it seems to some what parallel a simular contorversy in my country, our “Pleage of aleagens to the Flag”. My feelings about it seem to be much the same as those as PatrioticIndia has expressed about VANDE MATARAM. In my humble opinion, our problem seems to be the developement of many special intrests groups and there by a loss of unitiy.

    Student, Your statment “….and taking an exaple from the US and UK
    ?????…. Are u seeing what they are doing to asians who live in their country …its not racial
    discrimination its color discrimination …” I am lost in confusion here, please explain what “WE” are doing to them?
    A True short story, A little over a week ago I was standing in the airport “random check” security line, I fly alot on short notice so there is nothing random about my being checked, happens almost every time. Behind me was a gentelman from India, yes he was wearing his turbin , I smiled, he smiled, for the next 15 min. we had a wonderful converation about my hopes to visit India while we were waiting. He shared several ideas as to how and where to visit. We even had agood laugh together, as a joke he indcicated that after he got through the security check he was going to have some alcohol, while I said that I would not dare do that now as THEY would be waiting for me to act crazy. OK, my point? I have no idea what belief this man follows, no it never came up in conversation, and I am caucation, he asiain, we were in the same line being treated exactly the same. No fear of this man being “Muslium”. Second It proves again what I have long felt, no matter what belief, language or race, any where you go in this world a SMILE is understood and accepted!

    Silkboard you stated “The West has started equating muslims = terrorists. They may not say it, or may talk only behind the back ” Here you go right out in “public” You are wrong. Well half wrong. We are starting to equate “Islamic extremists” with terrisiom. We have a saying here, if it swims like a fish and it looks like a fish and it tatses like a fish, it probably is a fish. Exspesialy if it says it is a fish. Mean time the Muslium population in my country are still free to live and worship as they wish, in fact they are recieving exstra protection just in case of posibale persucution.
    The truth is that the only belief system recieving persuction here are the Christians and it is pretty mild.
    You also asked “Tell me one decent sized country that has a relegious mix like ours? None. We just cannot afford to fall prey to this same volatile equation”.
    I don’t know that I am able to match numbers or statistics. I realize that we are soppose to be a “Christian” nation but did you know that vertualy every belief systemen the world is practiced here? Vudoo to Hindu and several that I do not know, all recieve the same rights and protection to do so! That is the cornerstone of our consitution, the reason for our formation as a country!

    Silkboard, two things you stated that I agree with whole heartedly are “Hate breeds Hate”!
    If I may take liberties and build on that. There is your enemy and it is in every human heart. So the enemy is with in. That being, if you as a person want to change your family, city, state, country or the world. You must start with you.
    The second point made that I agree with is, untill hate is overcome it is sadly true that
    “India, US or UK, everyone has got to learn to defend own turf against modern guerilla warfare”.

    But back to the subject of the blog, I am intrested in the words of Vande Mataram. can someone please show mw a likie to this in English?
    Thank you for alowijg me to post here.

  14. […] We have been taking all these lying down even as the rightist brigade, safely harbored by the domestic business houses of India continues to celebrate the absurd. And now they want the rest of the country to celebrate these sectarian crimes as well, and hence there is a need for the rest of us to resist and desist the temptation to fall into the opium trap. The trap works variously. At times, the enlightened people just assume that its alright if things are this way or that way. Thats the Hindu privilege some people enjoy since their feelings do not get hurt, as long as the hymn remains as the national song. […]

  15. Hey Tony, thanks for dropping by. Surprise visitor I must say. from US I assume?

    You asked a lot of good questions in there. I will respond to all, bit busy rt now, some wait.

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