Vande Mataram, written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya was unanimously accepted as the national song on 24th January 1950 by the Constituent Assembly. There was not an iota of protest from any corner of constituent assembly against it’s acceptance as a national song.
The Muslim and Hindu leaders of that time, who were actually secular; not by profile but by character had no problem with this song. The song has a special resemblance to the Indian Freedom Fight as when the infamous viceroy Lord Curzon divided Bengal in 1905 ostensibly to wedge a communal gap, Vande Mataram had become an epitome of unity and was sung by Hindus and Muslims alike to prove the extent of their cohesiveness. There was nothing communal in the song then, there is nothing communal in the song now.
Some people, who say that Vande Mataram goes against the tenants of Islam are the ignorant species of the highest order. Vande Matram exemplifies the spirit of patriotism towards one’s country and Islam also teaches the same; to love the land and soil where you live. Vande Mataram, as a part of morning assembly is sung in many schools. I have done my entire studies from D.A.V Public School, where the national song is sung in morning assembly and everybody, including Muslim teachers and students sing the song with full enthusiasm. Does the issuance of fatwa by some people saying that chanting of “Vande Mataram” is un-Islamic therefore invalidates the religion of my friends and schoolmates who sung the national song?
These people boast about the freedom of religion guaranteed to them under Fundamental Rights. But, as Indians, don’t they have equal responsibility towards their fundamental duties too? Article 51-A (b) of the Fundamental duty, as inserted in the 42nd amendment of the Constitution (apparently the same amendment when the word secular was added to the preamble) says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen to cherish and follow the noble ideas that inspired our national struggle for freedom”. Vande Mataram was one of the songs that inspired our struggle for freedom as I quoted above when it became a revolutionary song during the Swadeshi movement during Bengal partition. The people who issue Fatwa denigrate the status of a “National Song” by giving it a religious colour. They also virtually intimidate the normal people who have no issues in chanting Vande Mataram by issuing threats of “social boycott”against them.
There are some issues that should be kept above religion,caste, creed, costume, custom, culture. Religion is a private affair between a person’s conscience and his god. Praising the nation won’t invite any ire from the god. God is not intolerant like us, he is sacrosanct and receptive. Religious leaders, rather than dictating their preferences on the followers should take steps for social harmony and cohesion.