As a law abiding Muslim of India, my
head hung deep down in shame as I had read the news of
Shafique-ur-Rehman Barq, BSP member parliament, leaving the hall
while Vande Mataram, the national song, was being played. On his
part, it was the stupidity of highest order.
I'm sad that while harping on this communal mindset, he must pay
attention to his constituency, mostly comprising Muslims, as there
are no proper roads, potable water, electricity, sewage system,
good schools and most other basic amenities. However, for filthy
vote bank publicity and politics, he would let Indian Muslims down
by shunning Vande Mataram, the song that is seen as an ode to the
motherland, was penned by Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra
Chattopadhyay in the late 19th century.
It's not the first time as even earlier Muslim leaders have played
loathsome politics on this issue and let their community down by
reprimanding Muslim children who sing Vande Mataram, a gem of a
song, in times when the global Muslim community is under scanner.
Unless Muslims come out of the clutches of these ulema and
lip-serving politicians, they will keep on suffering.
Muslims must follow the example of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who
though born in a predominantly Hindu environment, was bold enough
to propagate nationalism to Muslims at variance with the prevalent
political consciousness based on communalised politics while
supporting the same with Islamic sanction. Maulana Azad saw in
Vande Mataram the fusion of the endogenic creativity, the Vedantic
vision of many parts of truth with the Islamic doctrines of
Wahdat-e-Deen (unity of religion) and Sulah-e-Kul (universal
While listening to a rendition of Vande Mataram on January 1,
1952, by a renowned maestro, Krishna Kumar, in Delhi, Maulana Azad
admired it saying that it was graceful and inspiring as great
luminaries like Rabindranath Tagore, Surendranath Banerjee,
Satyabhushan Gupta, R.N. Bose, H. Bose and others had sung it.
It's high time that the so-called Muslim leaders stopped
politicizing the issue of Vande Mataram to promote their mucky
While at Modern School, in Delhi, where I teach, whenever Vande
Mataram is sung, my body, mind and soul, all in unison vouched
that this is the song of the soul of each Indian irrespective of
the religion, caste, colour, status or creed. The melody, the
thought content and the ambience of patriotism of Vande Mataram is
As an Indian, I simply fail to comprehend as to why by some of my
co-religionists, a religious issue is made out of Vande Mataram
that has a universal appeal for all Indians irrespective of caste,
creed and faith. As a Muslim, I would like to convey a message to
all my countrymen and especially my own community that some
politically motivated people are trying to make an emotive issue
of Vande Mataram that, in my view, should have been the national
anthem in place of Jana, gana, mana...
What is very unfortunate is that anti-Vande Mataram clerics give
Hindutva forces the handle to beat Muslims with. Why should we
fault Ashok Singhal for giving anti-Muslim statements when our own
clerics utter vitriolic things which give an impression that
Muslims are less patriotic than the Hindus?
The media is also responsible for creating such an impression by
repeatedly giving publicity to speeches by these clerics who are
no more than bigots. It is because of the irresponsible statements
made by these people that Muslims have to suffer. The voices of
secular, patriotic and liberal Muslims never get a forum.
We live in a liberal society where we are encouraged to know about
each other's religion. Does a Hindu become ashudh by going to Jama
Masjid or a church? Don't the Muslim children going to Christian
schools sing psalms from the Bible in the morning assembly? Do
they come back home losing their faith? Then how can singing Vande
Mataram be un-Islamic? Moreover, the words "Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams, Bright with thy orchard
gleams...Mother, to thee I bow..." found to be objectionable to
the clerics have nothing anti-Islam as we are not making sijda
(bowing) before anyone except Allah. Where's the controversy
except in the minds of the misguiding fundamentalists?
What is of paramount importance today is that people must beware
of the ugly face of fundamentalism commonly constituted by the
so-called champions of Islam and advocates of Hindutva who, having
lost their say in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid controversy,
want to revive that cold and hot war.
So far as Muslims are concerned, true, as per the dictates of
Islam, they can never worship or bow in front of anything other
than Allah. But that doesn't take from them the fact that they are
loyal to the nation and that they do not need a certificate to
Muslims should not get carried away by a few lines of the song as
nobody is asking them to bow down. They must learn a lesson from
Maulana Azad. On the occasion of the inauguration of the Indian
Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Maulana Sahib's forehead
was smeared with a tilak at which Dawn, a Pakistani daily,
commented in a cartoon that he changed his religion to Hinduism.
At that, Maulana said that in fact by such participations, his
faith in his religion strengthens more. Muslims must learn from
Let me humbly submit that the politically motivated individuals or
the ones from clergy should not try to snowball the issue that it
might acquire communalist overtones. It's a charming song Muslims
must not find any difference between Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab
hamarey dil mein hai... or Sare jahan se achha Hindostan hamara...and
this. The glorious Vande Mataram belongs to Muslims as much as it
belongs to any Indian. We are one and just Indians! Don't divide
us into Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on educational,
social and religious issues.He can be contacted at