Friday, September 2, 2011

Fwd: {satyapravah} A tryst with Vande Mataram

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From: "Manmohan Vaidya" <>
Date: 1 September 2011 11:12:46 PM GMT+05:30
To: <>
Subject: FW: {satyapravah} A tryst with Vande Mataram



From: [] On Behalf Of sandesh
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 11:22 AM
Subject: {satyapravah} A tryst with Vande Mataram


A tryst with Vande Mataram

By Ram Jethmalani


 August 14, 1947 and the following day were great days in the history of
 India. The nation had come of age. It emerged from the era of slavery and
 was taking over governance in its own hands. On the morning of that day,
 the fifth session of the Constituent Assembly of India commenced its
 sitting in the Constitution Hall with Dr Rajendra Prasad in the Chair and
 almost all members present. The first item on the agenda was the singing
 of the first verse of Vande Mataram. Sucheta Kripalani sang it in her
 melodious voice and all members without exception stood in reverence and
 listened to the song.


 Dr Rajendra Prasad delivered a stirring address remembering those who had
 got us our freedom, bravely walking to the gallows and facing bullets on
 their chests, those who had experienced living death in the cells of the
 Andamans and spent long years in the prisons of India. A tribute of love
 and reverence was paid to Mahatma Gandhi who had been our beacon light,
 our guide and philosopher during the last 30 years of our struggle.


 The President did not forget our brothers and sisters who were parting
 from us to become the citizens of Pakistan. He sent them a message of
 greetings and good wishes for success and the best of luck in the high
 endeavour of independent governance of their new nation. He ended his
 speech with a message to the minorities. To them he gave the solemn
 assurance that they will receive fair and just treatment and that there
 will be no discrimination in any form against them. Their religion, their
 culture and their language will remain safe and they will enjoy all the
 rights and privileges of citizenship. He did not shrink from reminding
 them, however, that India expected them in their turn to render loyalty to
 the country in which they lived and to its Constitution.


 Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made his famous "tryst with destiny"
 speech and moved a resolution that at the midnight hour every member would
 take the following oath: "At this solemn moment when the people of India,
 through suffering and sacrifice, have secured freedom, I … a member of the
 Constituent Assembly of India, do dedicate myself in all humility to the
 service of India and her people to the end that this ancient land attain
 her rightful place in the world and make her full and willing contribution
 to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind."


 No Muslim member had objected to Vande Mataram being sung. No one had
 expressed the slightest reservation. Chaudhari Khaliquzzaman seconded
 Nehru's resolution which was then duly adopted and as the clock struck 12
 every member made the prescribed pledge. There was competition for the
 selection of the national anthem between Rabindranath Tagore's Jana Gana
 Mana and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's Vande Mataram. The competition was
 decided on the basis of superior musical qualities.


 Though the former scored on that ground, yet the equal status of both was
 formally recognised by the statement of the President on January 24, 1950,
 two days before our Republic was born. This is the text: "The composition
 consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the national
 anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the
 government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram,
 which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall
 be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with


 There was resounding applause in the House when this announcement was
 made. No one thought one's religion was being assailed or infringed upon.
 For a long time, nobody even remotely made such a silly suggestion. The
 statement of the President has the sanctity of any other part or Article
 of the Constitution. India is entitled to expect from every Muslim citizen
 of India respect for the national anthem and an equal respect for the song
 that provided the inspiration for the freedom movement of which every
 Muslim is a beneficiary.


 The proceedings of August 14, 1947 and January 24, 1950 constitute a
 compact between the nation and its minorities. The Constitution will be
 respected and Vande Mataram will be sung with an emotion of reverence and
 a feeling of joy. This is a requirement for national solidarity and
 integration. True, everybody in this country is free to profess, practise
 and propagate his own religion. But "religion" means the true kernel of
 faith. Claims based upon false and concocted interpretations of the great
 religion of Islam are not entitled to any protection merely because
 misguided clerics and self-appointed interpreters insist on reading into
 Islam prohibitions which the Prophet neither thought of nor would be
 pleased to hear about. I am convinced he must be shocked at the
 controversies cooked up from the noble text of the Holy Book.


 One would do well to recall that even some basic religious dogmas in
 secular India may have to be abandoned because they are inconsistent with
 public order, morality or health. Muslim seminaries and other
 organisations with pretences to superior understanding of Islam must first
 acquaint themselves with Article 25 of the Constitution. The Holy Quran
 tells us: "And the earth we have spread (like a carpet); set thereon
 mountains firm and immovable; And produced therein all kinds of things in
 due balance."


 "And we have provided therein means of subsistence, for you, and for those
 for whose sustenance ye are not responsible." Sura 15.A 19 and 20. It is
 the sacred soil of India which makes human life possible and worthwhile.
 It is a veritable mother for every inhabitant of the country. If a Muslim
 worships his biological mother, I do not believe that the Prophet of Islam
 would frown upon him. If God has to be worshipped there is nothing wrong
 in worshipping his fantastic creations. But the song does not even compel
 or enjoin any kind of worship.


 The objectionable word in the song only means saluting out of reverence, a
 reverential salaam.
 What I have said here comes from one who is next to none in fighting for
 the liberty, human rights and dignity of the Muslims of India. My public
 record is evidence enough, but I do not buy Muslim applause by accepting
 irrational and anti-national interpretations of the great religion of the
 Prophet. I know a large number of Muslim intellectuals, philosophers,
 journalists, teachers, simple folk who do not accept this vicious
 interpretation. I know I am in great company.


 Must we however, make the singing of this song mandatory? I am too much a
 lover of human liberty and freedom of conscience to approve of any
 compulsion in this matter. Those who refuse to sing this song, however,
 must be prepared to show the necessary courage of conviction. He who
 declares that his conscience tells him that the singing of the song is
 inconsistent with his religion must be exempted from the obligation to
 sing it. Such declarations must be respected. The declarants must,
 however, know that they too have to respect the right of the rest of
 society to register an appropriate response to such a declaration. The
 response might well be that society with its own collective sense of right
 and wrong and for the sake of national strength and unity would adjudge
 them as simple Constitution-breakers not to be trusted with any public
 honour office or employment. Stripping them of citizenship may be
 perfectly in order.


 If as a senior lawyer I had to choose from two bright Muslim young men an
 apprentice, a junior or even a partner in my professional chamber, I would
 unhesitatingly, other things being equal, reject the one who refuses to
 sing the song. In my own freedom of judgment, I am entitled to conclude
 that something is very wrong with his intelligence or loyalty to the
 nation. I concede that Muslim parents have the right to tell their
 children not to sing the song, but equally, the schools must have the
 right to adjudge them as unfit pupils of the institution. This could well
 be the beginning of the isolation of Muslim society leading to denial of
 all the benefits of a civilised pluralistic democracy.


 Muslim parents will advance both Indian secularism and the religion of
 Islam by introducing their children to Kabir's great poem, which is one of
 the finest examples of Kabir's doctrine of universal brotherhood:
 If Khuda lives only in masjid
 who looks after the rest of the world?
 If Ram is lodged in the temple idol
 who takes care of the universe?
 Is East the abode of Hari,
 and West that of Allah?
 Search in your heart for both of them,
 there live both Karim and Ram.
 They are one and the same,
 Creator of the universe
 men and women are His image
 and Kabir is son of both Ram and Karim,
 his preceptors are guru and pir alike.



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