The article by Malini Parthasarathy (Nov. 5) contains valid points to assert that cultural pluralism remains India’s strongest card and its best defence against attempts to wreck its integrity. The rendering of a song cannot be the basis for determining an individual’s patriotism. There are many meaningful and purposeful ways of expressing patriotism. I wonder how many people sing Vande Mataram anyway. It is sung in schools and once students leave school, they do not sing it anywhere. There are many even among Hindus who are opposed to prostrating before anyone. It does not mean they have no respect for elders. Respect should come from within; it should not be imposed.
The BJP and other Hindutva forces that criticise the Jamiat resolution against singing Vande Mataram should understand that patriotism is not a commodity that can be displayed by singing a song. Not all those who sing Vande Mataram can be said to be patriotic. The fact that the BJP — which has lost elections in three States and is entangled in a leadership crisis — is harping on the non-issue shows that it is bereft of constructive programmes. Indians will never forget that Gandhiji was shot dead by a person owing allegiance to the saffron brigade.
The article was thought-provoking and timely. The JuH’s fatwa against terrorism is welcome. But its resolution describing the singing of Vande Mataram as un-Islamic is not. Monotheists among Hindus who believe in one Supreme being (ekanta bhaktas) have no compunctions about singing the national song. Religion is personal and should be confined to homes and places of worship.
T.V. Rama Rao,
The resolution against singing the national song arises from an inadequate understanding of the term “Vande” which also means salute or respect. Do not Muslims respect or salute and bow their heads in a court of law, Parliament, in the armed forces and the like? Will the Jamiat issue a fatwa saying MPs, MLAs, lawyers and armed forces personnel should disobey rules?