Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vande Mataram......The History (Part2)

Unfortunately Vande Mataram also faced a lot of opposition within the country. As early as 1908, Muslim League opposed the singing of Vande Mataram and at the League's session in that year, presided over by Sayyed Imam, the song was condemned as sectarian, for it advocated the worship of the Motherland as a Goddess. Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar had set the tradition of singing Vande Mataram in all Congress Sessions since 1915. However, in 1923, at the Kakinada Session of the Congress, when he rose to sing the song, Maulana Mohamed Ali, who was the President, objected to it. During the non-cooperation movement, when the Congress leadership adopted a policy of appeasing the Muslims, the objection to the song raised its head again. In 1922, to appease the Muslims, the singing of Mohammad Iqbal's 'Hindustan Hamaara' along with Vande Mataram was introduced. The Muslim leaders wanted the song Vande Mataram completely replaced by Iqbal's song. The All India Muslim League passed resolutions condemning Vande Mataram. To appease the League leaders, the Congress Working Committee in 1937 decided to shorten the national song by allowing only the first two stanzas to be sung. The League still persisted in its objection and in 1938, Jinnah placed before Nehru his demand for completely abandoning Vande Mataram. To please the League further, the Congress decided to allow the singing of a song by Basheer Ahmad, reciting Quran and also a prayer in English in the Assembly.
When Nehru in his politically correct approach expressed the view that the song Vande Mataram did not lend itself to orchestral music, a patriot-musician of Poona, Master Krishna Rao Ramachandra Phulumbikar disproved it by setting it to instrumental music. When he came to know that the Government would not approve Vande Mataram as national anthem unless it got clearance from the British band experts, he went to Bombay and with the help of the British band Commander, C.R. Gordon, got a record of Vande Mataram rendered to British Band music. In spite of all these efforts, the Congress leaders did not like Vande Mataram becoming the national anthem for obvious reasons. They were busy appeasing the Muslims & in their efforts to do so, they put a strict prohibition on singing Vande Mataram at All India Radio. It was however, the concentrated efforts of Master Krishna Rao that the ban was finally lifted, & even before an official decision was taken by the Constituent Assembly on this issue, Jana Gana Mana was played as India's National Anthem in the UN General Assembly in 1947.

After Independence, our first President elect, Dr Rajendra Prasad, while presiding the Assembly on 24th January’1950, said the following : “The composition consisting of words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations as the Government may authorize as occasion arises, and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle of Indian Movement, shall be honored equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. I hope this will satisfy members.” (Constituent Assembly of India, Vol.XII, 24-1-1950)

Today, we the Indians need to rise above the narrow political & religious beliefs & embrace the song Vande Mataram as our source of inspiration. We need to believe that this song does not smell of a particular religion. Which beloved son/daughter of this country will not hold this pious land as “Sujalam, Sufalam, Malayeja Shitlam & Sashya Shyamalam Mataram”…..Which true patriot of this country will not salute the motherland who is prosperous, meritorious & bestower of riches??????

We need to understand that when a message is conveyed, there has to be a reference point….Maa Durga was the reference point…a symbol of Shakti…the ultimate power. Just because the mythology of Durga Maa emerges out of ancient Hindu scriptures, it does not make it communal. The message of Maa Durga is Universal. She drives away the evil & protects every human being as her child. Rishi Bankim Chandra Chatterjee hailed from Bengal & was inspired by the Sanyasi Movement that took place in Bengal. The Britishers had first come to India through Bay of Bengal, as East India Company, as traders. Undivided Bengal then was the nerve centre of everything.
As a true son of India, Rishi Bankim Chandra took inspiration from Maa Durga & saw her as Mother India…Bharat Mata. The song Vande Mataram is a reflection & rendition of our own Bharat Mata.
That Vande Mataram is secular in its core can be understood from the fact that during Quit India Movement, communist leader Nani Gopal Dey died at the hands of police lathi charge for hoisting the National Flag & singing this song at the city centre of Chinsurah, Hooghly. Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal “Vande Mataram” from Lahore. Matangini Hazra’s last words before dying in front of police fire were “Vande Mataram”. Azad Hind Army of Subhas Chandra Bose had people from all religion. They would shout Vande Mataram without any qualms, without any doubt in their mind. For them it was the Mantra, the force that bound them together towards one goal…..free Mother India from the clutches of the foreign rule.
When someone objects to singing Vande Mataram, they should remember that countless martyrs sacrificed their lives singing Vande Mataram, while fighting imperialism. Thanks to them, today we breathe in a free & democratic country.

Interestingly, in 2003, BBC World Service conducted an International Poll to choose Ten most famous songs of all times. Around 7000 songs were selected from across the world & people from about 155 countries voted. Vande Mataram stood Second in the Top 10 songs.
Do we still need an excuse to push our National Song away into oblivion????..... Its time we do some serious soul searching.

I impore to every fellow Indian to come forward & embrace this song...our National Song & sing it with fervour & pride.....we need to bury the hatchets of narrow communal & pseudo political feelings. We need to ensure that our next generation understands the history & true implications behind our National Song.

Vande Mataram !!!!
Jai Hind.

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