The Vande Mataram controversy – III

My last post on the subject, though I am yet to finish reading Ananda Math.

That book is a description of a Hindu revolt against the British and Muslim ‘invasions’. It can be argued that it tends to suggest that submitting to the British was only option available to ‘counter’ Muslims of the Nawab era.

So, the present day Indian Muslims *could* rightfully argue that Vande Mataram has anti-Muslim baggage.

But tell me one thing. How many Indians today know this bit about Vande Mataram? Most dont even know the song came from this book!

Heck, forget details of Ananda Math, most folks wont even know this. Jawaharlal Nehru, apparently after seeking opinion of Rabindranath Tagore in 1937, made the Congress party sign a mandate that “only the first two stanzas should be sung”. Sure, for rest of the song had direct references to goddess Durga and Kali. Essentially, when a similar controversy about the song raged 70 years ago, the ‘baggage’ was chopped out of this song.

The point is, most of us today don’t at all know or care about the baggage Vande Mataram had. We only see it as a passion arousing patriotic song.

Most of us think of our nation and not the book Ananda Math when ever Vande Mataram is sung. Period!

But it seems to me that some folks, the hardliners from both communities, seem to have only Ananda Math on their minds. You could argue it both ways:

  • By announcing hard-line support for the song, Hindu right-wingers (BJP etc) remind Muslims of the baggage.
  • Type of reaction Mr Bukhari and the likes come out with – they make the rest of us pause for a moment to listen to what the Hindu right-wingers have to say.

Sad state of affairs indeed. Especially when the same thing has been talked about and apparently been settled 50, 70 and 90 years earlier.

Some reading:


Bangalore not to be the capital of Karnataka!

No, that is not happening right now, I just made that headline up. Actually, no one is even thinking about it. But, at the risk of being renamed silkboard-bin-tughlak, I say that is a good long term solution for de-congesting Bangalore.Vidhan Soudha

Given the rotten state of our cities, and amount of political will it will take to clean them up – clear out slums and encroachments, acquire private property for almost every other project, punish those who break developmental laws – why not think of greenfield cities? 10000 crore rupees won’t go far in doing anything to set right a congested city, but you get lot more value for money in building a brand new city.

Most capital cities in India get to play two roles – economic centre, and political hub of the state. Each role brings a set of crowd with itself. Why not jumpstart a new city by just separating them?

In fact, a greenfield capital city started that way – government taking the lead by moving its own business to that city first – will have a greater chance of encouraging other businesses to follow.

The idea does have a parallel elsewhere. In US, the economic hubs are rarely the capitals of states. California, neither LA, nor San Francisco or San Diego. Florida, no Miami or Orlando. Ditto for most other states.

Business is business, and politics politics, how about driving that line clearer and further!?

So come on, let us build a brand new capital city somewhere on the beautiful west coast north of Udupi and south of Karwar, and move all the state government offices and government run companies out of Bangalore to this new place! How about Vijaynagar as the name!?

Landmark music: Hum Dono

Imagine an album where three of most popular playback singers of the time, all sang songs that would make it to top5/top10 playlists of most fans. When I think of Hindi movies with landmark music, of the few that readily come to mind, “Hum Dono” stands out for this particular reason.

When music critics do a Lata Mangeshkar top 10, “Allah tero naam” usually makes the list. The lady herself picked this song to be her best. Lyrics are a welcome change from the usual romantic stuff. Slow and melodious tune, you feel like humming along each time you listen.Hum Dono - external link

Find me a Mohd Rafi fan who will not count “Main zindagi ka saath” as one of his best. Meaningful lyrics that qualify to be good peotry on their own, an utterly melodious tune, and Mr Rafi singing at his best, this song is as perfect as it gets.

Don’t let the bhajan and philosophical poetry fool you into thinking that this album is short on romance. Asha Bhonsle joins Md Rafi for what is arguably the best duet sung in Bollywood. One can never get bored of “Abhi Na Jao Chhor Kar“. Duet of such class, that it ranks amongst Asha Bhonsle‘s best.

And such is the quality of those 3 songs that people tend to forget Sahir wrote and Rafi sang “Kabhee khud pe kabhee haalaat pe rona aaya” for this very same album.

So yes, find me another album where three great singers chose to give off their bests. And to top it all, it wasn’t any usual suspect of that time who made these tunes. Jaidev didn’t compose music for very many movies after this one, but “Hum Dono” made sure he won’t ever be forgotten by the fans of old time hindi film music.

The Vande Mataram controversy – II

Since I touched that sensitive topic – Vande Mataram controversy – only to state my hatred against the politics of religion, I have to add some more “balanced” opinions there.

I look at Vande Mataram not in context of the book it originally came from (Anand Math), but from the angle that this song has at times been on the lips of nationalists during the pre-independence days. That is the history that readily comes to the minds of many and myself. So I didn’t like the way Mr Bukhari was quoted – “a Muslim cannot worship … motherland”. That is being a bit too literal in my opinion.

But if Mr Bukhari had instead argued what this blogger has written here, there would be a more meaningful discussion. The song may have that big anti-Muslim baggage, I wouldn’t know because I have never read all of Anand Math, though I am tempted now to read and figure if that “baggage” claim has some merit.

And I do see the pain when Indscribe says

Muslims … unfortunately have to wear their patriotism on the sleeve all the time

[Note: Please, no hatred-preaching, you own all the comments you make here]

Come learn some obscenity

source rediffA movie that is filled with filthy language, and has song and dance sequences you cant watch with family, has been granted exemption from entertainment tax for three months in Uttar Pradesh.

… with the State Government saying the movie spreads the message of checking crime among youth

Who is that youth being targetted for such a message (assuming the movie carries one) here? Young people in their teens are supposed to be the “impressionable minds”, not grown up folks in their 20s and 30s. But oh o! Omkara carries an A certificate, so only adults are allowed to watch it.

Am I the only one who finds this “tax exemption” odd? Moreover, listen to what the maker of this movie has to say:

Critics have lambasted director Vishal Bharadwaj for excessive use of cuss-words in Omkara, but the director is unruffled by the criticism and says he didn’t make it “keeping audience sensitivities in mind”.

Damn it. If you can’t make movies keeping audience sensitivities in mind, you must not be allowed use of this public medium. Some one please exile Mr Bharadwaj for making such a statement.

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?

Shell shocked – most petrol bunks cheat!

[Disclaimer – I have no material proof for what I say here, it is all based on observations and “hear-say” at Pune and Bangalore. And I am not interested in a PIL or anything of that sort for this. Petrol distribution corruption is too dangerous a thing to dabble with, not my cup of tea.]

Baleno, Honda city or Santro, you car will be shell shocked to hear this.

If you fill up at petrol bunks run by Shell or even Reliance, you may notice your car giving 10-15% better mileage.

Why so, you may ask. I have concluded, it is ‘apparently’ because Shell does not cheat, when they say a litre, you get 1000 cc of petrol.

But this is not the case at many petrol bunks operated by PSUs. I have “heard” that these low mileage bunks ‘doctor’ their meters to give you anything in the range of .85 – .95 litre of petrol when you are told you are getting 1. Apparently, the modus operandi is like this. The ‘official’ who is supposed to give out the equivalent of “business certificate” to these bunks forces them to tamper with the meters, and then share the ‘loot’. If the person operating the bunk tries to sing tunes of honesty and ethics, this “officer” knows umpteen tricks to deny him the “business certificate”.

Essentially, most sarkaari petrol bunks cheat. So next time you want to fill up, do your bit to curb this ‘corruption’ by opting for Shell or Reliance.

Be aware of another trick they play at a few bunks in Bangalore, especially if you are riding or driving alone. Say you want to fill up for Rs 1000. The guy says zero. You nod. He then starts the meter. Now, as soon as the meter reaches the 700-800 mark, an “accomplice” tries to engage you in a conversation. You get engaged, and while you attention slips away, the meter magically races to 1000.