31 Aug 2006

My views: Boycott threat over Indian song

Rely on Indians to create a row over something silly. The sillier it is, the more it helps create division among a nation who claims to be united.

This time it is the national song "Vande Mataram" - a Sanskrit-language song, written by the Bengali Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1876. It was sung at the Congress party session in Varanasi in December, 1905. Soon it was to become the rallying call for Indians fighting the british rule. It also came very close to becoming India's national anthem (which, by the way, is currently Rabindranath Tagore's "Jana Gana Mana").

The silly thing is that muslims in India are refusing to sing it, because it is against the spirit of Islam to sing it (source: BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Boycott threat over Indian song). You see, the title words "Vande Mataram", translate as "I bow before you, O Mother". And Muslims, they say, bow only before Allah.

Its a shame that something as patriotic is being seen in light of religion. So whats next? You dont celebrate Ganesh because its a Hindu god? You dont celebrate a Christmas party because its a Christian festival? While i can argue about the spirit of Islam (since i dont know anything about it), i ask you this:

What about spirit of being Indian?

I think this narrow minded approach needs to change. I am sure there are a lot of things that are done that are against the principles of our respective religions - Lying, stealing, killing, rape .. to name a few. Then why not for something as holy as patriotism.

Come to think about it, A R Rehman's song with the same title became very popular. Does that make him a sinner? Doesnt that also make millions of Indians who bought that record, sinners?

Update: We did celebrate the national song. Hurrah for the spirit of unity.

As expected the government ministers chickened out (for the fear of losing votes?) - not surprising. Shame on these folks for being scared of singing the national song. Perhaps the voters might want to consider this the next time they vote ;-)

1 comment:

Sujai said...

As you just said- people have choice to celebrate Ganesha festival or not. Some hindus may chose not to celebrate and can still be Hindus. In the same way, some religious communities may chose not sing Vande Mataram and still remain Indian. I am not sure if such things- of mandatory celebration or mandatory recital of a song- can produce the desired results. People should retain the choice to sing or not sing. That's what this song represents- fighting for freedom.
More on this at: