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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vande Matram Controversy

Vande Mataram Controversy

Mike Ghouse

Vande Mataram is one of the many National songs of India, whereas, the National Anthem of India is: Jana Gana Mana Adhi Nayaka Jaya hai  

Thank God for our Democracy, where no one should be compelled to sing anything or coerced to do anything.

The divisive forces in India demand that Vande Mataram be made compulsory, this goes against the very essence of democracy; which is freedom to agree and freedom to dissent. Fascism on the other hand is forcing conformity.

These forces need to respect our democracy which has given them the freedom to speak. Had Indira Gandhi succeeded in her emergency rule, they all would have been shut out. They should be grateful that our democracy is a vibrant one and take pride in the values of freedom enshrined in our constitution.

Vande Mataram includes the following lines;

Mother I kiss thy feet,
Mother, to thee I bow.

To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!

When Prophet Muhammad was asked, who is the most important person in one’s life, that they need to care for and serve, he responds Mother and repeats it two more times. Such is the value placed on Mother in Islam. He goes on to say that your paradise lays under the feet of your mother.

Muslims believe in giving utmost respect to their mothers, but when it comes to worship, it is God alone they worship and that is their right. Muslims don’t even worship the Prophet, they don’t even seek help from him, they believe in asking the God who is eternal, all knowing, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

Islam requires one to respect the laws of their nation, and Muslims deeply respect that value. Of course you will always find violators in every community with no exception.

Singing Vande Mataram does not automatically make one a patriotic person but respecting every Indian who is a product of her soil does. Let every Indian be free to believe what s/he believes, as long as that person is not pushing you out of your space, rob the food off your plate or hurt your loved ones, let’s learn to live and let live.

Singing Vande Mataram does not guaranty prosperity to India or improve one’s health, job situation, education or well being of her people.

The need to push it on Muslims is clearly to create chaos and appeal the fanatics to line up with them for flaunting one’s love for thier mother. Mothers know best, she does not differentiate between a show-off son and a quite daughter; she loves the same in crises.

Positive patriotism is doing what is good for the nation without disturbing nations’ balance or creating chaos. Positive patriotism is respecting and honoring every citizen of the mother, without claiming bloody superiority or pushing others down in the gutter.

The opinion of the Imams against singing Vande Mataram is ridiculed by a few individuals who would like to see India bitterly divided for whatever political games they have on their minds, in essence, they are selling their mothers.

In this particular instance, Just as the Hindu Talibans have a right to condemn the fatwa against singing Vande Mataram, the Imams have the same darn right to give their opinion against it. Neither the Hindu Talibans represent all Hindus nor do the Imams represent all Muslims. A majority of Indians, be them Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains or other really don't care if one sings or not. They have better things to do than tease and create problems.

Personally, I have no problem with Vande Mataram, but as a person, who cherishes freedom, I would stand up against any one who forces others to yield to their whims, and I hope you’d stand up too. Standing up for the rights of others is the only act that ensures freedom for you, me and every one; that is standing up against Talibanic attitudes in India. If not, none of us will have the freedom to be who we are.

Would the Indians who live in America, Britain or other nations accept the idea of the Government forcing them to start their work, school or business with a Christian prayer? Are we saying it is ok if Malaysia, Pakistan or Bangladesh forces Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist and others to start their day with a Muslim prayer?

Is that the model we want to follow?
We have a great heritage of diversity and Pluralism.
Let’s lift up India with freedom and not downgrade it with fascism.

Lyrics of Vande Mataram

Vande maataraM
sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM
SasyashyaamalaaM maataram

Shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM
pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM
suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM
sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM

Koti koti kantha kalakalaninaada karaale
koti koti bhujai.rdhR^itakharakaravaale
abalaa keno maa eto bale
bahubaladhaariNiiM namaami taariNiiM
ripudalavaariNiiM maataraM

Tumi vidyaa tumi dharma
tumi hR^idi tumi marma
tvaM hi praaNaaH shariire

Baahute tumi maa shakti
hR^idaye tumi maa bhakti
tomaara i pratimaa gaDi
mandire mandire

TvaM hi durgaa dashapraharaNadhaariNii
kamalaa kamaladala vihaariNii
vaaNii vidyaadaayinii namaami tvaaM

Namaami kamalaaM amalaaM atulaaM
SujalaaM suphalaaM maataraM

ShyaamalaaM saralaaM susmitaaM bhuushhitaaM
DharaNiiM bharaNiiM maataraM "

वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्
शस्यशामलां मातरम् ।
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीं
सुखदां वरदां मातरम् ।। १ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
अबला केन मा एत बले ।
बहुबलधारिणीं नमामि तारिणीं
रिपुदलवारिणीं मातरम् ।। २ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वं हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडि
मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे मातरम् ।। ३ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी, नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलां
सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् ।। ४ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषितां
धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् ।। ५ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।।

Translation by Shree Aurobindo

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nervs the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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  1. Vande Mataram should not be compulsory true. But a fatwa against it does not help either.
    Particularly since it is based on the false premise that the Mata to whom this whole song is
    dedicated is Durga Maa. in fact the song is dedicated to Matrubhumi (motherland).

    This is the disconnect. Most Hindus are puzzled that Muslims would be unwilling to alute the motherland (India) and interpret this as being loyal to Pakistan. Most Muslims on the other hand (having been told that this song is in praise of Durga Maa) feel that singing it is directly goes against the edict 'There is no God but Allah'.
    The picture of Durga Maa on the tiger does a disservice to the debate since it re-inforces the bad information, as have the people who issued the fatwa..

    In one of Shah Rukh Khan's interview he did say that a lot of heartburn would go awayif Muslims followed Allah ki Quran instead of Mulah ki Quran.

  2. Gauravi,

    The issue is forcing people to sing against their will. What is the need for it? It is the dirty politics to force other people... what satisfaction would one draw from that?

    The Imams reacted to the statements that it was going to be made compulsory. What next? That is an intrusion.

  3. Mike,

    "Singing Vande Mataram does not guaranty prosperity to India or improve one’s health, job situation, education or well being of her people."

    - The above statement is certainly not a compliment to the freedom fighters who sang Vande Mataram and paid with their blood and life to get India's Independence.
    Singing Vande Mataram is a tribute and sung in remembrance of those who fought for India's Freedom and should not be Interpreted any other way.
    After all, this generation in India did not have to pay for their freedom and Democracy! and are enjoying the fruits of labor of the prior generation

    "When Prophet Muhammad was asked, who is the most important person in one’s life they need to care for and serve, he responds Mother and repeats it two more times. Such is the value placed on Mother in Islam. He goes on to say that your paradise lays under the feet of your mother.

    Muslims believe in giving utmost respect to their mothers, but when it comes to worship, it is God alone they worship and that is their right. Muslims don’t even worship the Prophet, they don’t even seek help from him, they believe in asking the God who is eternal, all knowing, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent."

    Thanks for the above quote from the scriptures of Islam. This noble message and lofty values enshrined in Islam needs to be reinforced. One cannot emphasis enough the need for such values.

    I pray that Muslims practice and enforce this value enshrined in their scriptures in Totality and directly look to GOD for guidance, rather than their Mullah's? Violent Jihad would be non -existent in Humanity to-day. Majority of Islamic societies & Islamic countries would be Democratic to-day and not have the worst track record on Womens' Rights and Issues?

    Chandra Siv

  4. Chandra, you pay tribute to the freedom fighters, every Indian honors them, it is because of their hard work, we have that freedom.

    Do we need to lose that freedom? No Indian should be forced to do anything against his or her will. Am I right?

  5. People who have read the Indian History properly not at the surface only, will know that "Jana Gana Mana" is not sung for the contry, it was prepared to invite Lord Mt. Batten to India. This was specifically made for him and people who were patriotic are still against this being the national anthem.

    Vande Matarm truly represent the country.

    Sathya Sastry

  6. Hyderabad, November 6: Amidst controversy over a top Muslim body asking community members not to recite Vande Mataram, Union Minister Salman Khurshid said singing the national song was not objectionable.

    It was unfortunate that the song became controversial 50 years after it was made as national song, the minister said at a function in Hyderabad.

    The issue of the song was resolved 50 years ago and could not be reviewed once again. Some great leaders including that of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind sat together and resolved that some stanzas of 'Vande Mataram' would be treated as the national song, the minister said.

  7. Garuavi,

    I sing the Vande Mataram, infact, it is on my website twice at www.Mikeghouseforindia.net. But I would defend one's right not to sing. Let it be an individual's choice.

    More than singing, it is the motive; to force others to comply, a danger to our nation. what is next?

  8. Vande Mataram becomes a controversy only when one refuses to pay obeisance to the motherland. For them it is a piece of earth which was conquered by the invaders and they joined the bandwagon under the force of circumstances. This was the best they could make out of the lost case.They forgot that they also belonged to the same culture.

    Muslims of Indonesia have not forgotten their culture, their ancestors though they were non-Muslims. Indonesian Muslims celebrate Hindu festivals and also stage Ram Lilas. Fascism comes when an Allaudin Khilji forces others to follow his religion upon them or face the sword. Feroz Shah burnt a Brahmin alive in front of his palace gate merely because the Brahmin was doing pooja - a personal prayer offered to the gods. That was a fascist period of Indian history.

  9. A.L;

    Let's not replace one fascist period of Indian History with other; forcing others to do what is not needed. What is the need, other than causing pain? Let people have the freedom to sing or not sing.

    All of us should stand up against any force against other people. Let India be a shining example for other countries to follow us.

    Ankara, Turkey Mayor banned reciting Quraan for public functions, he said the Jews and Christians objected to it, so he said, it should not be sung.

    Let's be a beacon of freedom.

  10. The paragraph used and taught is the paragraph where the mother is worshipped but it is motherland. MATRBHUMI. During freedom fight. regardless to muslim/hindu anyone holding our national flag will sing it. It did represent patriotism, it gave them the feeling of being attached to their motherland. EVERY MUSLIM OR HINDU SANG IT WITH PRIDE. MY FOREFATHERS WERE PART OF FREEDOM FIGHT AND HAVE HEARD FROM THEM FIRST HAND. Why is it again not seen with same light??
    Even if As far as forcing to sing...does it really makes you do things that you sing or say. Every prayer asks u to be kind to mankind/animals/trees and stay away from lies...but does that happen????? For crying out loud saying they are being forced to sing is so immauture. If we can sing National anthem then why cry on singing the national song????
    It is tribute tothe nation, the nation where you live, the nation which is giving you bread and butter if you are living there??? So why this nonsense of being forced ???? No matter where you live, learning and singing their national song/Anthem is never considered a force. So why here????????????????????????????? I am disappointment as all other your emails had excellent insight but not here. Here you are presenting aside as forceing to say something which is being disapproved as Muslims cannot worship mothers?? Any muslims who considers India as thy nation will have no problem in praising it.If one cannot respect the nation, they have no right to live in that nation

  11. It is interesting debate about Vande Mataram. I think some problem is due to Hindu concept of reverence and worship. I was told that we should revere our car keys, car and tools as they serve us. I used to loose my car keys but since I started revering it, I do not loose it and my car does not breakdown as I maintain it. If we revere our motherland, then we should not do corruption against our mother. So reverence is not same thing as worship. If we revere something, we respect it and it serves us. Now, If I force you to revere my car keys, it does not help anyone as I need to take care of my own car keys. Reverence is more of a personal value.

    Worship is something that we offer to God and it is used for devotion and faith. If we start creating the distinction between worship and reverence, some of the controversy might go away.

    Shambhu Nath

  12. Hi Mike,
    You have done a great disservice to the debate by 1)putting the Goddess Durga in the Mother India picture
    2) By adding the last two stanzas which were REMOVED BY THE constituent assembly after lot of debate on this issue so that Muslim sentiments are respected.
    You are trying to make out as if there is compulsion in singing the NATIONAL ANTHEM. Every patriotic Indian sings it.Every one salutes the national flag.
    For example every American salutes his national flag and sings the anthem as every Chinese, Pakistani or Russian.It has nothing to do with religion.
    If you are an Indian, you obey the law of the land which comes out of Constitution.It may be in conflict with Sharia like having 4 wives, maintenance for divorced Muslim women or paying interest by Indian banks, decriminalizing homosexuality etc etc.But you cannot ask for sharia or refuse to sing NATIONAL ANTHEM just because some fanatic Hindu makes an issue out of it.

  13. Hi mike,

    Your name itself sounds more than the contraversy raised in singing vandemataram.

    Besides the fatwa against singing of Vande Matram by the Muslims, the
    Jamait Ulema-i-Hind issued fatwas on the following issues:

    * Against the Muslims greeting one another with namaste instead of salaam
    * Decried efforts to bring women into mainstream
    * Said no to the proposed onethird reservations for women in legislatures
    * Ruled against inoculation for AIDS and polio
    * Called for the boycott of both radio and television
    * Wanted ten-year-old girls to be educated in madarasas only
    * Adopted a strong resolution against the proposed central board for regulating madrasas

    Don't you feel foolish in this era of globalisation and one world with highest technolgical revolution taking place around the globe.

    The contraversity is not raised by anyone in our country. Only the muslims fundamentals( it is in their blood) objected. The fatwas as pucca political in nature rather confrontation.

    It is utter nonsense about the controversy. Vandemataram inspired many earlier and even today. It is mantra not religious mantra. It is desh mantra. It is to be sung at every nook and corner of this country at a time when the people are fed up with the corruption prevailing everywhere and people are losing hope in everything.

    Let us not raise any controversy and shy away from real issues such as threat to our country through jihadi forces inside and outside of our coutnry, threat from our neighbours especially china, sky rocketing price rice, unemployment, recession, etc ( many ).

    It is all media hype from the ruling gang to get away from real issue. I feel you are one among those media guys from the ruling class.

    Vande matram. U say once in a day. your body will be electrified and u become pure.

  14. Raghav,

    Fatwas are just opinions any idiot can give it, does it matter? The fatwas mentioned below are outrageous and ridiculous.

    I am not interested in the religious angle, what I am interested in is freedom. When some minister announced he would make Vande Mataram compulsory, the Imams issued that Fatwa… under my proud India, both have the right to be dumb and say their opinions.

    But you, I and every Indian should guard our freedom; Every thing must be done with freewill. Let countries like Pakistan and other emulate us; indeed they are envious of our freedom.

  15. Captain Johann,

    1) The picture comes directly from a BJP site with Vande Mataram.
    2) Apparently you did not read the note, every one must sing their national anthem, are you confused between National Anthem and National song?
    3) Did you read my note that I enjoy the both, and have placed all of them on this site. National Anthem is Jana Gana Mana…
    4) Muslims do not care about the Imams nor do I. But what I care is freedom, no one in our country should be compelled to sing. Our democracy is a shining example to emulate. The Imams gave their opinion in response to the declaration of some minister that it will be made mandatory to sing Vande Mataram.