Thursday, September 07, 2006

Politics of Patriotism

Ironically, the centenary celebrations of Vande Mataram, the national song that once united our country in our quest for freedom, has been scarred with controversies, creating a religiously divided India.

It looks like the national song has been reduced to a mere political trump card for the next electoral mandate. It's highly deplorable how netahs leave no stone unturned to gain political mileage. Even manipulate our patriotic sentiments.

Contrary to Islamic arguments that our national song hurts their Islamic ideology, the national song is about love for our motherland. The song (read English translation below) is written with no hidden agenda. Here, "Durga" could also mean a metaphor for the almighty and not a "Hindu" god.

Vande Mataram had faced flak from its adaptation as the national song for the same reasons. In fact, our forefathers had worked out a solution then, by adapting only the first two stanzas. However, even that hasn't solved the problem.

Today, it's about political malice and not freedom.

Interestingly, the television media unearthed this political gimmickery by showcasing BJP leaders, who have been stressing the need to make Vande Mataram mandatory, unable to sing along. With mumbbled words, their buffoonery put things in perspective. Forget explaining the meaning of the controversial lines, some didn't even recall the lines!

On another level, it's hurtful that in a secular country like ours, only Muslims seem to be targeted or offended by the song. Does it imply that Christians, Sikhs and other religious communities don't have any sentiments at all or rather don't mind singing praises of another God? Don't get me wrong, I am not propagating a mass religious battle, but only speculating why "religious battles" involve only Hindus and Muslims, and not any other communities. This, my friend is the politics of religion.

Have we become so comfortably dumb, that we are persuaded to believe that Vande Mataram was chosen as our national song, only to create a rift later on? Are we so self-absorbed that we don't question what political parties preach in the name of religion?

Amid all these controversies, I'd like to pause and rewind to my school days, when we dressed in crisp uniforms and sang Vande Mataram in all earnest. We may have been out of tune, but never out of sync with our patriotic pulse. We never questioned its religious connotations. We innocently sang the song, which instilled in us a sense of pride, a sense of unity. We rejoiced the spirit of independence.

I request my Muslim brothers and sisters to kindly refrain from taking sides in this obvious fight for power and respect our forefathers and their sacrifice for freedom.

(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!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this is the result of senile proliticians "thinking" nothing else!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

india is a predominantly hindu country with muslims forming the largest minority .so harsh though it may seem , the other minoritties unfortunately do not count ie dont have a voice .

- chrsitian catholic gal

7:21 PM  
Blogger Abraham Chacko said...

There is great meaning to your line of thinking but at the same time we need to ask some very important questions. How many Indians knew Vande Matharam was the national song first and secondly does it haver a place when we have a great national anthem. By singing this song do we become more patriotic. I was a soldier in the Army for 35 long years and my only inspiration was the love for my country and in the Army we dont even sing Vande Matharam.
God is sacred to all and if it hurts the sentiments of a religion marginalised already there will be retalliations. In this particular incident who started the issue; the babus in the corridors power, The IAS's the elite of Indian Administration. Of course the politicians took it on from there. In the past also I have noticed that whenever the babus want to divert the attention from the main stay of working they bring up issues. So it is not only the politicians, many else need to take the blame.
These are silly issues which require any attention and if the Muslims behave badly let us start isolating the one we know and sooner or later they will come around.
I can only highlight one action in all this turmoil, Sonia Gandhi never bothered about any of the remarks and many schools never sang the song and nothing really happened and the issue got blown over.
A patriotic Indian need to only address issues like ensuring that the educated exercise their franchise and we question hogh handedness

8:10 PM  
Blogger Pradeep said...

Long time.. no posts?

12:12 AM  

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