'Vande Mataram'

Harasankar Adhikary

Throughout the history of India's freedom movement, it has been surveyed that minority's opinion and decision have been prioritised and dominated the majority. India's national leaders obeyed it for peace and integration of the country. But peace and harmony were not restored even after the majority's sacrifice, when ultimately the country was partitioned and divided into two nations in respect of religion. Here majority was always cornered because of lack of visionary steps of national leaders. This tradition is still continuing and religion is the major issue of conflict today. To deny this plain truth is ludicrous. Much before of the independence, Swami Vivekananda said that oneness of the country is determined by the common ground of religion and spiritualism.

Acceptance of 'Bande Mataram ' of Shri Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay as national song which ensures national integration and communal harmony was not so easy. It was objected by minority initially. Minority argued that in this song, the Hindu's God and Goddess were mentioned so that it was connected with the prayer of Hindu deities. Therefore, it was a non-secular matter.

Gandhiji opined to reject it because of Hindu-Muslim conflict. Gandhiji's alternative was the chant, 'Allahu Akbar'. According to him, only the God is the greatest. He also suggested that both panics should chant 'Bharat Mataki Jay' and 'Hindu-Muslimki Jay' (Young India, September 8th, 1920). Was it not a self-defense or was it not indulgence to the domination of minority?

Finally, with the interference of Rabindranath Tagore, a compromise was made to accept only first two stanzas of the whole poem. On 6th October, 1937, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter to Pandit J L Nehru, then the President of the Congress,
"An unfortunate controversy is raring round the question of suitability of 'Bande Mataram' as national song.... The whole of Bankim's 'Bande Mataram' poem read together with its context is liable to be interpreted in ways that might would Moslem susceptibilities, but a national song though derived from it which has spontaneously come to consist only of the first two stanzas of the original poem, need not remind people every time of the whole of it, much less of the story with which it was accidentally associated. It has acquired a separate individuality and an inspiring significance of it's own in which there is nothing to offend any sect or community" (The Amrit Bazar Patrika, November 2nd, 1937).

Then Nehru accepted Tagore's proposal and in this year in a convention of the Congress, Nehru argued,
"...the first two stanzas are such that it is impossible for anyone to take objection to, unless he is maliciously inclined. Remember we are thinking in terms of a national song for all India".

Nowadays everywhere an environment of non-secularism and most of so-called progressive intellectuals are biased. Is it the only responsibility of Hindu majority to maintain the secularity status? Will only the majority maintain the principle of intolerance? Then, in a secular nation what would be the role of minority for the nation's secularity? Are they Indian or something other than that?

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Vol. 52, No. 23, Dec 8 - 14, 2019