Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vande Mataram

While Vande Mataram is allotted the same status as Jana gana mana, Comrade Malini downgrades it.

People of diverse identities, communities and regions joined in the freedom struggle. This does not in any way imply that they did not share a common culture. On the contrary, it was this shared culture that stood as the unifying factor. This cultural unification, which rallied into a broad-based nationalist struggle, is best represented by the national song, Vande Mataram. There indeed were people who did not subscribe to this cultural nationalism but nevertheless participated in the freedom struggle. They seceded and formed a separate country. Those who have remained in the Indian nation have "chosen" to acknowledged the importance of cultural nationalism and Vande Mataram. It is only fair to say that Vande Mataram represented the culmination of the freedom struggle of India as much as it represented the position and poignancy of it. Nehru was probably right when he said it did not represent the culmination of the freedom struggle because it definitely did not represent the culmination of the freedom struggle of Pakistan.

Like most states that have evolved out of cultural nationalism, India has chosen civic nationalism. This does not in any way mean a rejection or negation of culture. Vande Mataram was written by a Bengali Hindu and it became the slogan of our independence struggle. That all muslims did not accept it does not make it the song of one particular community only. It stands as a cultural representation of India, which continues to be predominantly Hindu. The anthropomorphic depiction of the nation, which is a unique representation of our culture, is what makes it fit to be in its exalted position as the national song. To demote Vande Mataram to a souvenir is a part of cultural terrorism against Hindus. Besides, Vande Mataram has and continues to have such stirring effect on Indians due to these anthropomorphic depictions. To object to Vande Mataram solely for this reason is utterly baseless. The other point that it alludes to Durga could be made saying that it does not fit into "secularism". Let me just say, minority appeasement.

Communists are blatant hypocrites. They have no compunction in accepting the national anthem, which was written to welcome King George, while raising objections to the national song on frivolous grounds. It is interesting to note the British attitude towards these songs. British authorities had equated the singing of "Vande Mataram" with sedition, and people found singing it were punished severely and often jailed. In total contrast, Jana gana mana was extended high regard. It was sung in Government schools, and in scout groups which fostered loyalty to the British throne.

The news papers reports had the following comments on Janaganamana:
"The Bengali poet Babu Rabindranath Tagore sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor." (Statesman, Dec.28, 1911)
"The proceedings began with the singing by Babu Rabindranath Tagore of a song specially composed by him in honour of the Emperor." (Englishman, Dec.28).
"When the proceedings of the Indian National Congress began on Wednesday 27th December 1911, a Bengali song in welcome of the Emperor was sung. A resolution welcoming the Emperor and Empress was also adopted unanomously." (Indian, Dec. 29, 1911)

If intentions behind the song or allusions are to be considered, is British imperialism more acceptable than cultural nationalism.

CBCNN style of reporting is once again at display here.
Blame Hindus: a casus belli for Hindu nationalists, campaign for majoritarianism, Hindu majoritarian campaign, put fresh pressure on non-Hindu citizens, compulsorily defer to majoritarian sentiment, overtones of conflict, polarising politics, Hindu cultural nationalism.

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