Malini Parthasarathy’s article “India’s cultural pluralism its best defence” (Nov. 5) is a well-written piece, which will hopefully reduce the heat on the controversy triggered by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind’s resolution upholding the objections to the singing of Vande Mataram. To sing or not to sing the national song is a matter of one’s choice. It should get no more attention than it deserves.
It is illogical to expect any community to violate its tenets to be seen as patriotic and loyal. The preservation of cultural pluralism and the religious sentiments of the minorities assumes greater significance now than ever before.
Ms Parthasarathy has rightly come to the defence of secularism and cultural pluralism. Vande Mataram is part of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s book Anand Math in which there are uncharitable references to Muslims. The song was rejected by the Congress in the 1920s because of its contents. Singing a song does not denote loyalty as actions and practices do. Muslims have proved their worth beyond doubt. It is time the sangh parivar proved its loyalty by obeying the Constitution which guarantees cultural pluralism.
K. Malikul Azeez,
Ms Parthasarathy’s in-depth analysis is interesting. Patriotism is not a brand meant for public display. When I obey the rule of law, pay my taxes, contribute to the common good of my fellow citizens in my own way, when I instinctively weep and help fellow citizens in times of distress or become angry when my country is under attack, I am more patriotic than those who wear cultural nationalism on their sleeve.
Muslims are always expected to prove their patriotism. Participation in the singing of Vande Mataram is at best symbolic. Real patriotism lies in not criminalising politics, not indulging in corruption which creates a parallel economy, and not whipping up communal hysteria and pitting religious groups against one another.
Rameeza A. Rasheed,
Muslims are no less patriotic than others but their religion permits only one god. Forcing them to consider earth as another god for political reasons is a violation of their religious freedom.
Issuing a fatwa against singing the national song is a publicity stunt aimed at creating a controversy. It would be wise for Hindu organisations to ignore it. The media should stop highlighting the issue. Can an organisation that opposes women’s empowerment and anti-AIDS campaign be taken seriously?
If Vande Mataram is the national song, it cannot be against any community. Sure, not singing it does not constitute an insult to the country but it does make one wonder why someone would not want to sing. Patriotism is above all faiths. It is the one who questions the patriotic value of a national song who should be challenged, not those who hold him or her accountable.
Vande Mataram is reflective of Indian ethos and the author’s feeling of obligation towards the motherland. The song has not bred any ill-feeling among us, nor has it struck any discordant note till now. The pristine glory of Vande Mataram, which has endured social upheavals and heterogeneous currents for so many years, is unimpeachable and will echo in the hearts of Indians forever.
C. Lakshmi Prasanna,
It goes without saying that India has always been, and will continue to be, the land where multiplicity of religions thrives and preserves the foundations of secularism. But the issue is not just about singing Vande Mataram but about rising above religion. The land that sustains us is above all religions, as it should be. No religion can ever be considered as being above the country.
A body of clerics does not possess the monopoly of wisdom. I beg to differ from those who don’t see any place for emotion in nationalism. The spirit of patriotism is a part of the collective consciousness which cannot be viewed through the prism of religion. Vande Mataram is a song of our freedom struggle and it was sung by people of all faiths — a fact none can change.