Should Hindus be angry about Muslims not singing Vande Mataram?

I think this is a question, an issue, that is larger than it’s creators. It speaks about what Hindus think of who they are. Its speaks of a confusion that persists about our own National Identity and who might share in it. It speaks also of a lack of recognition of those that do not share in this National Identity and the reasons thereof and what we should do about it, if at all.

On Tuesday, Deobandi organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind asked members of the community not to sing Vande Mataram and supported the Darul Uloom opposing any recitation involving the song.

“The fatwa of Darul Uloom [opposing the recitation of Vande Mataram] is correct,” said one of the 25 resolutions passed at its 30th general session, in the presence of Union home minister P Chidambaram. Darul Uloom issued the edict in 2006, describing the recitation of Vande Mataram as anti-Islamic.

The BJP was quick to attack the home minister, with party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accusing Chidambaram of providing legitimacy to the fatwa. The minister, however, claimed innocence. A statement issued by his office said he was not present in Deoband when the resolution was adopted.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray also hit out against the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind for issuing the fatwa, saying those who oppose the national song should go to Pakistan.

The fatwa drew mixed reactions from Muslim leaders, with one section voicing disapproval against the raising of a “dead issue” at a time when the community has more serious matters to address, and another noting that singing the Vande Mataram (or not) should not be the criteria to define patriotism.

Are people who choose not to sing India’s national song unpatriotic? Or is it against the nature of democracy for leaders to lash out at those who peacefully express their opinion?


Palahalli S – This is what Shri Gandhi said, at various times:

On 2 December, 1905, in Indian Opinion, he wrote:

“The song, it is said, has proved so popular that it has come to be our National Anthem… Just as we worship our mother, so is this song a passionate prayer to India.”

On 27 April, 1915, at a meeting in Madras, which began with the song, he said:

“You have sung that beautiful song, on hearing which all of us sprang to our feet. The poet has lavished all the adjectives we possibly could to describe Mother India … it is for you and me to make good the claim that the poet has advanced on behalf of his Motherland.”

In January 1939, after the continuing criticism of the stance adopted by Congress in its 1937 CWC statement, Gandhi placed before the CWC at its meeting in Wardha, a draft statement which was marked ‘Strictly Confidential. Not for publication’:

“As for the singing of the long-established national song, Vande Mataram, the Congress, anticipating objections, has retained as national song only those stanzas to which no possible objection could be taken on religious or other grounds. But except at purely Congress gatherings it should be left open to individuals whether they will stand up when the stanzas are sung. In the present state of things, in local Board and Assembly meetings which their members [are] obliged to attend, the singing of Vande Mataram should be discontinued.”

On 1 July 1939, in Harijan, he published an essay in which he said that “Vande Mataram was a powerful battle cry” and that he himself “as a lad” was enthralled by it:

“It never occurred to me that it was a Hindu song or meant only for Hindus. Unfortunately, now we have fallen on evil days. All that was pure gold has become base metal today. In such times, it is wisdom not to market pure gold and let it be sold as base metal. I would not risk a single quarrel over singing Vande Mataram at a mixed gathering. It will never suffer from disuse. It is enthroned in the hearts of millions.”

On 23 August, 1947, at a prayer meeting in Alipore, Calcutta, he said, “That was no religious cry. It was a political cry … It should never be a chant to insult or offend the Muslims” and asked Muslims to appreciate the historic association of Vande Matram with the freedom movement. But, needless to say, he counselled against any imposition. Every act, he characteristically said, must be purely voluntary.

And here is the one mistake we Hindus continue to make –

Nathuram Godse :

“It is notorious that some Muslims disliked the celebrated song of Vande Mataram and the Mahatma forthwith stopped its singing or recital wherever he could… It continued to be sung at all Congress and other national gatherings but as soon as one Muslim objected to it, Gandhiji utterly disregarded the national sentiment behind it and persuaded the Congress also not to insist upon the singing as the national song. We are now asked to adopt Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana as a substitute of Vande Mataram. Could anything be more demoralising or pitiful…?”

I continue – Without making it an academic discourse, what I would like to ask is who are the people in Hindusthan who might take no offense to Vande Mataram and what it means? What if we call them Nationals of Hindusthan?

Would it be far from the truth?

Now, who are those people who will take offense? Shall we call them Muslims? I know of no other minority that resists, if at all, Vande Mataram as much as the Muslims do. So let’s call the dissenters Muslims – the Minority.

Is a Minority expected to share in the National life? If yes, on what grounds? If no, then is that a problem?

If Hindus expect Muslims to share in their National life, then will the Muslim remain one? Especially since he knows that a Hindu oriented National life is not his; cannot be his? Isn’t that what this entire issue about?

I believe Hindu organizations like the VHP make the fundamental mistake that was made by Shriman Godse in his statement – To protest righteous Muslim intransigence while not protesting their (Muslim)*involvement* in our national life. If we do the latter, the former becomes redundant.

Why do Hindus forget that Muslims as minority, need not be part of this country’s National life? There is no reason for Hindus to be surprised with Muslims protesting Vande Mataram when they, the Muslims, are asked to sing it. What else is expected of them?

But when we do protest such dissent against our Hindu National life, we tend to otherwise crave for Muslim acceptance of it. So much like wooing a lover who is simply not interested.

The perfect thing to do is to ignore the bitch and get on with our National life.

There is always the matter of dalals like Shri Chidambaram who try their filthy hands at match-making. They should be told in no uncertain terms that Hindus can find their own companions in life. To that extent, Hindu anger is justified.

Hindu nationalists who protest Muslim isolationism must never forget Veer Savarkar’s mantra –

“If you come, with you – if you don’t, without you – if you oppose, inspite of you!”


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