VANDE MATARAM— is a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870s, which he included in 1881 novel Anandamath. The first two verses of the song were adopted as the National song of India in 1937.It’s an ode to Durga as the mother Goddess, it was written in Sanskrit and Bengali.
The title ‘Vande Mataram’ literally means “I praise thee, Mother” or “I bow to thee, Mother. The “Mother Goddess” in later verses of the song has been interpreted as Mother Bengal and Mother India, it played a vital role in the Indian Independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at congress. It became a popular patriotic song for political activism and Indian freedom movement in 1905. A great spiritual Indian nationalist and philosopher Sri Aurobindo referred it as “National Anthem of Bengal”. The song and the novel containing it was banned by the British Government, but workers and public defied the ban, many went to colonial prisons repeatedly for singing it, and the ban was overturned by Indians after Independence. In 1950, the first two verses of the song were declared the “National Song” of the Republic of India, which was distinct from National Anthem.
As I pen down my thoughts over the national song ‘Vande Mataram’, I feel elated, feel proud of my soil where I was born in, I hope friend’s similar feelings is for you too. Did I compel you to sing now, did I compel you to accept my feelings over yours, rather did I say that you need to judiciously sing and feel for your Nation. In a democratic Nation like India, why people should shy away from singing National Anthem? If Elders at the respectable public positions, who are responsible citizens and elected members of the society, if they say that it’s our wish and choice and our religion does not allow land to be respected. My blood boils when someone speaks in such an irresponsible manner what are we going to leave a legacy for our younger generations?
Why certain religion can’t accept or sing Vande Mataram?
Let me give you a detailed analysis—the controversy over singing of Vande Mataram has once again threatened to divide the country. The refusal of the Muslims to sing this song –Why?
The Muslim viewpoint is that Islam, being a monotheist religion, forbids the apotheosis of any deity, animate or inanimate, except God, the supreme creator. Word for Word meaning -What does ‘Bande Mataram mean’, which means praise of the mother, it is also written as ‘Vande Mataram’, There are Hindu names that express the same sense of praise or worship. The name ‘Vandana is quite popular in India. It means the praising one in Persian,’Bandagi definitely means worship: it also means slavery but that is secondary. When I read the verse of the song Bande Mataram today, I really can’t understand why Muslims felt so enraged about it in the beginning of the 20th century. It was written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1875 but became very popular in Bengal after Tagore wrote music to it in 1882.
Bande Mataram was raised to the level of Hindu Communal song (it still is India’s National Song, together with Allama Iqbal’s tarana) in 1905, during the Hindu protest the partition of Bengal. Apart from that Muslims, thought it was insulting to them. In 1990s Bande Mataram once again became controversial in India when the BJP recommended that it replace Tagore’s secular Anthem. One can understand why a purely Hindu Hymn as the National song of a Pluralist state should be unacceptable. Bande Mataram means ‘Praise of the Mother’. It is also written as Vande Mataram. There are Hindu names that express the same sense of praise or worship. The name Vandana is quite popular in India. It means the praising or worshipping one. India’s well known environmentalist is called Vandana Shiva.
In Persian, the same word has been explained in a way that I find quite faulty. Bandagi definitely means worship, it also means slavery but that is secondary. It has been linked to bastan or bandidan which means to imprison. In Hindi too there is a word that implies imprisonment, but that is Bandh. In Urdu, in the form of Bandhana. But that is different from Bandana which is pure worship. Now most important argument is that which came first? Sanskrit gives two different versions,Bandh is for binding which has spread to all Indo-European languages. The other root is Band or Vend that means worship or Praise. Hence Bande Mataram, will not mean getting bound to the Mother but in praise of the Mother.
Where does Mataram come from?
This is a Universal word from the first labial sound produced by a baby. In Hindi, Mata means Mother. Matru- Bhasha means Mother tongue, Matru-Bhumi means Motherland. Atari also means Mother. English Mother and German Mutter are directly related. According to me, first Indians Muslims are also Muslims, then why so much of hue and cry created over the singing of National song?
During the constituent Assembly, our first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, addressing the following words:
“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 authorise as occasion arises, and the song Vane Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian Freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause) I hope this will satisfy members, (Constituent Assembly of India, (Vol.22, dt.24-1- 1950).
Now let me take you all through the controversy which got into momentum in the 2000s. A few leaders of the Islamic community labelled Vanda Mataram as Un-Islamic reason that since Islam, is a Monotheist religion, it forbids the reverence, homage, and worship of any deity, animate or inanimate, exceptGod, the supreme creator. And since Vande Mataram, deitifies the motherland as a mother of Goddess—it is thus forbidden in the religion of Islam.
The controversy continues still, as ‘Vande Mataram’ row now rocks Allahabad civic body—
The row over ‘Vande Mataram’, has spread to Allahabad municipal corporation, where a proposal to make singing of the National song compulsory at commencement of proceedings led to protest by Samajwadi Party corporators. This particular incident came days after Meerut and Varanasi too witnessed similar ruckus over the issue. BJP member on April 6th, 2017, gave a proposal in Allahabad civic body for singing of National song at the start of proceedings and the National Anthem upon conclusion. However, Samajwadi Corporators led by Athar Raza and Sushil Yadav vociferously opposed it. BJP members alleged that the protesting corporators refused to stand when the National Song had been played on, especially when the National Song was sung after Mayor Abhilasha Gupta gave her nod to Prabhakar’s proposal. Defending their opposition to the move, Raza alleged that the “Politicization of Vande Mataram”, was always the ploy of BJP.
The SP members opposed “laying down a new rule at a time when just few months were left for the expiry of the term of the house”. This particular protest also led to the suspension of the proceedings for a couple of hours. After the house renewed its proceedings once again, Mayor Abhilasha Gupta, gave her nod to Prabhakar’s proposal following which the National Song ‘Vande Mataram’, was recited by members. All the protesting members left the premises even as proceedings concluded later in the day with the recital of ‘National Anthem”.
BJP Corporators also alleged that during the recital of ‘Vande Mataram’, the protesting councillors had remained seated which was tantamount to insulting the National Song. “We have received the complaints. The CCTV footage is being examined to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.
The Mayor told reporters “If the charges are found true, action will be taken accordingly”.
The arguments over the National Song and National Anthem as most unfortunate Uttar Pradesh Health State Minister Siddhartha Singh said such themes bind the Nation and must not be subjected to derogation or ridiculed.
“It is unfortunate that we are having arguments on National Song and National Anthem in this Nation. These are few aspects which bind the nation as one. I would like to urge the political parties politicizing such issues to bring some sense of patriotism in their thinking” said Singh.
Mr. Singh further added that “It is very shameful that people are drawing communal lines around such topics. I would like to urge these political parties that you have many issues to raise your political stature, so don’t be so bank corrupt, to demean or undermine Nationalistic issues”, he added.
A week after the Mayor of Meerut had asked all corporators to either sing Vande Mataram or leave the country councillors at the Allahabad Nigam yesterday demanded that a new rule is passed under which the house proceedings would start with the National Song Vande Mataram and end with the National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’.
The budget session of the Rajya Sabha ended on April 12th, 2017, after approving the historic GST bills and 14 other government legislations besides the budget and the demand for grants of various ministries.
Mr. Ansari the chairperson ofRajya Sabha thanked all the leaders and members for their co-operation as the House adjourned after National Song “Vande Mataram” was played.
As I am concluding my views which were purely personal, I feel firstevery one of us need to understand and accept the fact that we are Indians at first instance, that’s the identity given to us as we are born on this soil, I don’t feel ashamed when I sing/say “Bharat Mata Ki Jay, Vande Mataram, Jai Hind”, so as with you all, I hope. It’s very unfortunate when we are a Global Power in making and a dominant Global Brand too, because of our Great Nation, what’s wrong to sing “Vande Matarm”, is the National Song out of Fashion/ or not a fashion statement in their lives, this is my strongest personal view if we can’t respect our National Anthem & National Song, Its better we stay out of this great Nation, I feel proud to called as “Bharatiya, Hindustani, Indian”, and I feel awesome as it uplifts my spirits and motivates me to be a better Citizen of this greatest land on this planet earth called “Hindustan”.
Dr. Sukanya Iyer