The reason some muslims don’t sing the national song, Vande Mataram

Vande Mataram is a Bengali song written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. It was written to instill patriotism in the minds of Indians during the times of British occupation. It was instrumental in the Indian independence movement because of which the first two stanzas were recognized as the national song by the Indian government after independence.

Here is the Indian national song Vande Mataram recited by AR Rahman, a devout Indian Muslim.

vande mataram
sujalam suphalam
malayajasitalam
sasya syamalam
mataram
vande mataram

subhra jyotsna
pulakita yaminim
phulla kusumita
drumadalasobhinim
suhasinim
sumadhura bhasinim
sukhadam varadam
mataram
vande mataram

The English translation of the national song is as follows:

I show gratitude to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

It is an emotional song every Indian sings to his motherland. We are imagining her to be a woman and our beloved mother. The verse describes about the mother. It is all imagination. You can visualize that all in your mind when the song is played in a gathering.

It is not an act of worship if you are singing the national song, Vande Materam. The group is not singing to Hindu Goddess Durga Devi. No religious activity is happening when Vande Materam is being sung.Why are we calling Mahatma Gandhi as father of the nation? It is all imagination and concept rather than reality.

Unfortunately some Muslims, Sikhs and even Christians view Vande Mataram as a Hindu hymn worshiping Goddess Durga. This is due to the misunderstanding due to the Sangh Parivar and RSS worshiping Bharat Mata as a  female diety. There are some Bharat Matha temples at Varanasi and Haridwar. Indian Muslims are the ones who chose to reside in secular India along with the majority Hindus rather than going to the nation created for Muslims called Pakistan.

The Muslim clergy has raised their opposition to singing Vande Materam. In 2009 Jamait-e-Ulema Hind issed a fatwa against Vande Mataram singing. This week a gentleman BSP MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq was caught red handed by Speaker Meira Kumar in the Lok Sabha walking out when Vande Materam was recited. His excuse for the disregard was that this song went against his religious freedom. So all other MPs in Loksabha were less pious Muslims than this gentleman?

The opposition is idiotic as it goes against national integration. If Hindus regard themselves as Hindus first and Indians next, Muslims regard themselves as Muslims first and Indians next, Tamils regard themselves as Tamils first and Indians next, where is national integration?

Views expressed above are solely of the author and not of The Kochi Post. Maneesh J is a Kerala based blogger and entrepreneur, he can be contacted at maneesh@careerdrive.in 

Comments

19 Comments

  • May 10, 2013

    Chaand Babu

    Why you needed to translate it ? Because you know that 99.999% Indian don’t understands its meaning because its in the language which no one speaks or understands. So tell me what’s the use of singing something which we don’t understand ? If we don’t understand, we can’t feel. Vande Matram is more about politics, less about patriotism.

  • May 11, 2013

    Kevin

    I dont know about others but everytime Vande Mataram is recited I feel emotionally very high…I was born a Christian and I have never seen any of my family members of ever having any objections or anything against it. I have always felt great when sing it.So I think it to be wrong to brush any community as a whole against singing Vande Mataram, be it Muslims, Christians or any other community.

  • May 11, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    We cannot have different national flag, symbols and songs for different communities. Tommorrow someone will come up and say the Ashoka Chakra is a Buddhist symbol so they cannot accept it.

    I believe the religious clergy has taken a wrong stand and is playing with believers’ emotions. They should regard nation above religion. Still we know that only a minority of muslims have opposition, mainly because they are misled by their religious heads.

  • May 11, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    My attempt was never to brush the community as a whole.

    I am critical about the actions of the responsible religious heads whose opinion can influence lot of believers. They should take mature views on this topic. Also the act of BSP MP who chose to walkout should be condemned.

  • May 14, 2013

    nadeera

    Some facts about B C chatterjee , Ananda Math and Vandemataram .(please correct me if any mistake is there.) Vandemataram is from the novel Ananda Math written by Bankim chandra chatterjee. Bankim Chandra Chatterji was a staunch British loyalist . He was the first Indian appointed Dy. Collector by his British masters in 1858 and retired as Collector in 1891. He was awarded the titles of Rai Bahadur and C.I.E. by British rulers. He glorified the British rule in India. Ananda Math is not anti british as people believe but is anti muslim.and it exhorts to kill muslims. quote from Anand Math : “Without the British rule there is no chance of resurgence of Hindu Dharma. It is our duty to make the British our rulers. The British are our friends.” . The song “Vande Matram” depicted the armed struggle of an organisation “Sanatan” against the Muslim rule. It contains venom and hatred against Muslims. According to “Anand Math” Hindus would be happy in the British regime. In “Anand Math” a militant mob chanting “Vande Matram” shouts “When shall we raise mosques down to the ground and build Radha Madhav’s temples in their place? One character of the novel has been quoted to have stated to Satyanand, a main militant leader, that “Today your task is over since the Muslim rule is destroyed.” In this background “Vande Matram” was recited by the organisation “Sanatan” as their devotional song.So it is not a song of anti british as people believe but Pro-British-imperialists . 2)The controversy becomes more complex in the light of Rabindranath Tagore’s rejection of the song as one that would unite all communities in India. In his letter to Subhas Chandra Bose (1937), Tagore wrote: : “The core of Vande Mataram is a hymn to goddess Durga: this is so plain that there can be no debate about it. Of course Bankimchandra does show Durga to be inseparably united with Bengal in the end, but no Mussulman [Muslim] can be expected patriotically to worship the ten-handed deity as ‘Swadesh’ [the nation]. This year many of the special [Durga] Puja numbers of our magazines have quoted verses from Vande Mataram—proof that the editors take the song to be a hymn to Durga. The novel Anandamath is a work of literature, and so the song is appropriate in it. But Parliament is a place of union for all religious groups, and there the song cannot be appropriate. When Bengali Mussulmans show signs of stubborn fanaticism, we regard these as intolerable. When we too copy them and make unreasonable demands, it will be self-defeating.”

  • May 14, 2013

    nadeera

    The song is a hymn to goddess’ durga and Lakshmi . Some muslims feel it is against their belief to bow before anything,let it becountry , parents or anything. Their opinion is that they will respect but bowing is only before God.

  • May 14, 2013

    nadeera

    //In his Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Nirad C. Chaudhuri has aptly described the atmosphere of the times in which the song was written.1 “The historical romances of Bankim Chatterjee and Ramesh Chandra Dutt glorified Hindu rebellion against Muslim rule and showed the Muslims in a correspondingly poor light. Chatterjee was positively and fiercely anti-Muslim. We were eager readers of these romances and we readily absorbed their spirit.”

    R.C. Majumdar, the historian, has written an objective account of it.2 “During the long and arduous struggle for freedom from 1905 to 1947 ‘Bande Mataram’ was the rallying cry of the patriotic sons of India, and thousands of them succumbed to the lathi blow of the British police or mounted the scaffold with ‘Bande Mataram’ on their lips. The central plot moves round a band of sanyasis, called santanas or children, who left their hearth and home and dedicated their lives to the cause of their motherland. They worshipped their motherland as the Goddess Kali;… This aspect of the Ananda Math and the imagery of Goddess Kali leave no doubt that Bankimchandra’s nationalism was Hindu rather than Indian. This is made crystal clear from his other writings which contain passionate outbursts against the subjugation of India by the Muslims. From that day set the sun of our glory – that is the refrain of his essays and novels which not unoften contain adverse, and sometimes even irreverent, remarks against the Muslims” (emphasis added). As Majumdar pithily puts it, “Bankimchandra converted patriotism into religion and religion into patriotism //…http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=flonnet&rdurl=fl1601/16010940.htm

  • May 14, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    Once again if you are equating British backed nawab’s rule with MUSLIMS, you can arrive at your own definitions. The novel however is a work of fiction banned by the british government as it was anti british. It inspired people to carry about agitations against the british. By the same logic, soon we can expect opposition to ashoka chakra. The national song of bangladesh also has words which translates to “adore the motherland”. Are Bangladeshi muslim less religious? Indonesian national anthem also contains the world motherland. Indonesia is a muslim majority country. Look at the meaning of the two stanza. Where is communalism in there? Where they tell of worship of a goddess? Who is making the issue communal? If a hymn of a hindu goddess is forced upon the citizens, we should try to think over it.In this case i think it is over reaction and worrying signals.Nehru had great personal relationship with the British even while he was in the side that fought for independence. Gandhi supported the British on many occasions including the Second World War.

  • May 14, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    In DYFI camps/meeting photos of Swamy Vivekananda is used for inspiration. DYFI is student wing of CPIM (communist party of india marxist). Will any one consider Swami Vivekananda as a Communist Leader just because his image is used in their camps?

    Similiarly since the song was used in hindu nationalism and in freedom struggle. How can the two stanza itself get a hindu tag to it?

    Playing politics with religion is a dangerous proposition be it hindu or muslim.

  • May 14, 2013

    nadeera

    Maneesh after going through what I have written, if your comments are this,I have nothing more to say. Btw i am surprised DYFI and national song are compared !!

  • May 15, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    Nadeera it is wrong to give a message to the muslims chanting vande materam to stop chanting it.When given a choice to choose b/w saudi arabia and india, indian muslims choose india. Country first is their priority.I know these fatwas are not forced. I understand they are guidelines. Donating blood,acting in movies, doing career as a singer etc are banned by these leaders.There was a fatwa against muslim female receptionist.It suggest them to quit the job and go.In Kashmir,a band of school girls were forced to stop their singing,because the society did not sanctioned it.Militants who ‘work’ to enforce these fatwas shoot at the legs of girls who wear jeans.That is why i said it is dangerous.

  • May 15, 2013

    Maneesh J.

    ananthmath is a work of fiction. But the Sannyasi Rebellion that actually occured is known as Fakir Sanyassi Rebellion .Hindu monks and muslim fakirs joined hands to fight the british in that events.Patriotism shouldn’t be forced. I disagree on forcing anybody to sing national song. But disrespect like what happened in parliament should not be done.

  • May 15, 2013

    Sreeraj

    http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/05/vande-mataram-freedom-song/ i found an amazing article in news laundry about this row.. My humble request to every one is not to mix religion and politics.. Why do we consider mughals as muslim rulers?? I won’t be surprised if some one call Gandhi a hindu leader. I get inspired when i hear some one singing our national songs even though it is in a different language i don’t understand. I get the feeling of being the part of a great country.

  • May 15, 2013

    nadeera

    It is not just the Muslims and the Christians who feel offended by the idea of singing the song but also Dalits.

    The national song Vande Mataram is not only objectionable to Muslims and Christians but it should be objectionable to Dalits of India also. It was written with a Bengali Brahminic mindset as part of a most communal Hindu book, Anandamutt. In this book Bankim Chandra Chatterjee makes the Hindu sanyasis to revolt against the Muslims.

    As one reviewer of Anadamutt opined though it pretends to oppose the British, finally ends up supporting the British administration. The ideological framework of this book was opposing expanding Islam in India — particularly in Bengal. Who were the protagonists of that rebellion? The Hindu sanyasis. Which were the social castes that the rebellious Hindu sanyasis constituted? Bengali Brahmins alone.

    Bankim Chandra wrote his novel in the early 1880s. That was the period when the Sudras and Nama Sudras (the Bengali Dalits) of Bengal were moving into Islam in huge numbers. The Bengali Brahmins were getting agitated because of the fact that the slavish castes were moving out of their control.

    That was the period some Bengali tribes were coming under the influence of Christianity also. William Carry had translated the Bible into Bengali by then and created printing and distribution network. The Bengali Brahmins were the most disturbed social force in that historical context. Bankim Chandra represented that force.

    What was his on abolition of caste in India? Not only he did not have a stand on abolition of caste, but he himself was casteist. If Vande Mataram means “Salute Mother” which mother was he saluting to? It was Mother Durga. By then Durga had already become the Goddess of the Brahminical social forces in Bengal. Later on, Aurabindo translated
    the song and if we see the whole of song not just the two stanzas adopted by the Indian National Congress the notion of mother India revolves round Durga and Laxmi.

    What was the spiritual relationship of these two goddesses and Dalit of India? Were the untouchables allowed to enter into the temples of Durga as this deity was installed in many temples in Bengal? Leave alone Dalits, even the Sudras like shepherds, pot-makers, fishermen, was her men; tillers of land were not being allowed to interact with that deity from close vicinity. They had to clean the temple, wash its surroundings and remain away from that goddess. As the nationalist imagery constructed around that goddess, the Dalits of India too have huge problems in singing that song as a national song.

    The objection of Muslims and Christians could be around the issue of idol worship and the nationhood getting constructed around the images of such idols. Muslims also have problem in accepting a female image as goddess and India as “mother land.” Even the Protestant Christians have a problem in accepting the image of goddess. Dalits have their own goddess images and they too have idol worship as a spiritual practice but their goddesses have more productive and humanitarian cultural ethic, whereas Durga as goddess represents a violent Hindu cultural ethic. The image of violently burning eyes, stretched out tongue in anger with a thrishul in her hands is a Hindu image of violence against Dalits in its historical evolution.

    Bankim Chandra turned that violent goddess against Muslims—not even against British who were ruling India at that time. Who were the Muslims in terms of their ethnic roots even in Bengal region? Almost all the Muslims were the SC, ST and Sudras who were embracing Islam as it was providing them a spiritual democratic space. Bengal was one region where the Quoran was translated into Bengali and the SC, ST and Sudra masses were granted the right to read Holy Quoran at a time when the Bengali Brahmins were not even allowing them to touch their spiritual books.

    Bankim Chandra did not want that transformation to take place. He did not even have Dayananda Saraswathi kind of, at least, nationally integrative spiritual agenda. It was unfortunate that the song written for instigating a Hindu sanaysi revolt against Muslims was adopted as a national song of the secular country and imposed on all sections of people.

    Unfortunately, Ambedkar did not examine as to what kind of Hindu nationalism was being imposed on the Dalits of India through this song. May be he did not take it seriously as he was fighting for separate electorate at that time when the Congress adopted this song.

    In retrospect, it is clear that it was Hindu nationalism that was imposed and more particularly it was Bengali Brahminic nationalism that was imposed on all sections of India. The Dalit should oppose this song more seriously than other minority religious groups because they have been victims of the caste cultural hegemony of Brahminism even today while the Brahminism of Maharashtra was contested by Ambedkarism, the Bengali Brahminism was passed off without any critical assessment from Dalit perspective. The communist and liberal nationalist schools that emerged from Bengal projected Bankim Chandra as the father of Positive Nationalism. They wrote scores of books on him and projected him as progressive thinker. But that was to hide their Bhadralok Brahminism under the red and tri-colour carpets// http://www.facebook.com/bhaitej.singh/posts/608221382521208

  • May 22, 2013

    swithinmurickal

    Now, I’m not against the national anthem, because I never considered or it never hinted a trace of Hinduism behind it; but I am opposed to calling India as ‘Hindustan’. If this subcontinent is referred to as a world of religions, languages and cultures, why target the title on Hinduism? Just refer the motherland as India and Bharat Matha.

  • Hindus and Muslims should kill each other.. we dont deserve to live together… After all, its the patronage of Indians, killing in name of RAM and RAHIM.. But just wondering where would the Party be once every one of Hindus and Muslims are dead…??? When would this nation get past racial, caste and religious discrimination….??? Maybe its time we bend over to British for another 200 years … to realize it really does not matter Whom we pray to..!!!

  • May 27, 2013

    mateoreys

    I would like to point out one thing. India is NOT a secular country, it has always been ‘Hindustan’.
    I’m a proud Malayali, but never call myself an Indian.

  • Omg…..some comments are horrific….I am proud of INDIA and to see all cultures and religions dwelling on my land is a huge thing…..I am proud to be Indian and very proud of my country people….the people who don’t like to recognise themselves as Indian’s should me removed out from the country….THese are the people who spread hatred among each other….the country will only progress when there are no conversion of people under religion…..singing the song or not is totally an individuals point of view but disrespecting the nation and walking out of parliament is bad.

  • September 9, 2013

    Govind Pratap Singh

    A very mature and inspiring article indeed

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