The Politics of Symbolism

The Indian national song, Vande (or Bande) Mataram, has officially been accorded, at least since the time of independece, the same status in terms of reverence as the official national anthem ”Jana Gana Mana”. The song has a history of controversy surrounding it, surfacing from time to time, stretching back to much before Partition. What makes history relevant if not the present?

Jamiat Ulema e Hind (JUH), the political wing of the Deoband school, was created in 1920 at the height of the Khilafat Movement fully supported by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. From the moment of its inception, through Partition and till this day, the JUH has remained steadfast in its alliance to the INC.

The latest controversy about Vande Mataram has been triggered by a resolution by the JUH, in obedience to a fatwa by the Deoband ulema, forbidding (Indian) Muslims from singing the song lest they court apostasy. At least three Indian takes on the whole issue are reproduced below. These do not cover the whole spectrum of views but are interesting nevertheless. Each distinct view fills us in, as much inadvertantly as not, as to the present context that makes a historical piece of literature, turned into symbolism, ‘controversial’.

This thread is a bit long and intends for the reader to draw her own conclusions. Readers can reward themselves at the end of it by listening to A R Rehman’s beautiful rendition of the song… especially recommended for readers who feel that even after reading all about it they are still left none the wiser about the whole issue. – [posted by BC]

FIRST VIEW:

‘Those opposing Vande Mataram should go to Pakistan’

The Indian Express Nov 04, 2009

Mumbai Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray hit out at the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind for issuing fatwa against singing Vande Mataram saying that those who oppose the national song should go to Pakistan.
In a statement issued in Mumbai, Thackeray said that the fatwa was issued in the presence of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram which shows that the Centre has indulged into minority appeasement.

“If anti-national fatwas are issued in the presence of the Union Home Minister then there is no future for this country. It looks like the Centre has a policy of Muslim appeasement for votes,” The Sena leader alleged.

He said Vande Mataram is not just two words but a flame to invoke nationalism. “If you don’t want to salute the motherland, then whom do you salute? What is the shame in saluting Bharatmata? Those who don’t want to salute Bharatmata should go to Pakistan, Bangladesh. There is no place for such traitors in India,” Thackeray said.

He asked his party members to put up ‘Vande Mataram’ boards all over Maharashtra. Such fatwas create tensions between Hindus and Muslims, he added.

(More of the same context?): RSS chief says no Delhi-based leader will be BJP chief 
 
India Today November 5, 2009 
 
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken a hard Hindutva position on terrorism emanating from across the border and the Darul Uloom resolution on Vande Mataram. But against the Maoists, the Sangh did not favour the use of the army.

In an interview to Prabhu Chawla, editorial director of the India Today Group of publications, the RSS chief deliberated over contentious national issues and the crisis in the BJP. Discussing leadership change in the BJP, Bhagwat asserted that none of the Delhi-based leaders would become party president and that L.K. Advani would quit according to the schedule agreed by him.

He said Narendra Modi and the RSS would never apologise for the Gujarat massacre and the Babri Masjid cannot be reconstructed in Ayodhya. He launched an attack on Home Minister P. Chidambaram, saying he “speaks good words but lacks in action”. He said the government committed a mistake by not attacking terrorist camps across the border after attacks on Parliament and 26/ 11 and asserted that India needed a military victory against Pakistan to tackle terrorism.

On the ideological front, the Sangh chief repeated that the Two Nation theory was not acceptable and that Pakistan would become a part of India. He said there would never be any dilution of the RSS’s stand on Article 370, Uniform Civil Code and the Ram temple.

SECOND VIEW:

Jamiatul-Ulema vis-à-vis Vande Matram

By Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani, Chairman of All India Muslim Forum, 05 November 2009, ummid.com

Let me clarify at the very outset three important issues related to  ‘Vande Matram’ controversy, which is raised at a time when it was not at all being discussed.

Firstly that this song is completely Un-Islamic, secondly that Jamiatul-Ulema has always been the stooge of Congress, and thirdly the sound health of ‘Hindutwa forces’ is a pre-requisite condition for the so-called secular parties to entice Muslim community on emotional issues, so that it may throw its legitimate demands into oblivion.

The stronger the Hindutwa forces, the greater prospects for Congress and other so-called secular outfits to capture Muslims through the false slogans of  ‘secularism’.
      
If our memory is not too weak, we may recollect that a few years back the then H.R.D. Minister Mr. Arjun Singh was the person who declared that the centenary of  ‘Vande Matram’ would be celebrated with its singing in all institutions.

As expected, the Muslims reacted aggressively, giving an opportunity to Hindutwa forces to spew venom against the community. Arjun Singh later on withdrew his circular, and emerged as secular figure in the eyes of Muslims. The purpose was served, i.e. to divert the community’s attention from the basic issues of  ‘give and take’.
             
This time again, as the Muslims are showing tilt towards Congress, but with a rider of  their demands, like the implementation of Sacher Committee report,  which it cannot concede for the fear of losing Hindu support, the safest via media before it  is to raise some emotional issue by which to reinvigorate the degenerating health of ‘Hindutwa forces’. Using its old faithful stooges, it has succeeded to a considerable extent.
 
The so-called Deoband ‘Fatwa’ against Vande Matram has activated the dying cells of B.J.P.  The unholy nexus between ‘Hindutwa forces and the ‘fictitious secularism’ is the most effective instrument since independence to deceive Muslims, and the hypocrites with the community are always used as the tool in that mechanism.

THIRD VIEW:

(Here’s roping in a particluar, well-known scholar to throw light on the background of the issue.. even though the article was written some years before the latest controversy): How secular is Vande Mataram?

By A.G. NOORANI, The Hindu’s Frontline Magazine 02-15 January, 1999

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to make ‘Vande Mataram’, originally a song expressing Hindu nationalism, into an obligatory national song is unconstitutional.

UTTAR PRADESH Minister for Basic Education Ravindra Shukla declared on November 17 that “the order to make the singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ compulsory stands, and will be enforced”. That the “order” would not cover schools run by the minority communities does not detract from its unconstitutional nature. It clearly violates Article 28 (1) and (3) of the Constitution. “(1) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds” and “(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto.” (emphasis added throughout). The language could not have been broader. It hits at the actual practice, regardless of a formal order and at attendance even if there is no participation in the worship.

What applies to Vande Mataram applies also to Saraswati Vandana, a hymn to the Goddess Saraswati. The Supreme Court’s ruling that the singing of the National Anthem cannot be made obligatory applies both to Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana with yet greater force.

The U.P. Minister, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, revealed on November 17 that “the order” did exist and “will be enforced”. But a few days later, on November 21, Union Home Minister L.K.Advani said that the “factual position” needed to be ascertained though he was against the singing of that song being made “mandatory”. (Shukla has since been dropped from the Ministry.) More royalist than the BJP king, the Samata Party said on November 23: “Vande Mataram has no religious connotation”. This is utterly false.

Else, in 1937 the Congress Working Committee would not have said: “The Committee recognise the validity of the objection raised by Muslim friends to certain parts of the song.” It declared that “only the first two stanzas should be sung”. A poem which needs surgical operation cannot command universal acceptance.

The song ‘Vande Mataram’ occurs in Bankimchandra Chatterjee’s novel Anand Math published in 1882.

In his Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Nirad C. Chaudhuri has aptly described the atmosphere of the times in which the song was written.1 “The historical romances of Bankim Chatterjee and Ramesh Chandra Dutt glorified Hindu rebellion against Muslim rule and showed the Muslims in a correspondingly poor light. Chatterjee was positively and fiercely anti-Muslim. We were eager readers of these romances and we readily absorbed their spirit.”

R.C. Majumdar, the historian, has written an objective account of it.2 “During the long and arduous struggle for freedom from 1905 to 1947 ‘Bande Mataram’ was the rallying cry of the patriotic sons of India, and thousands of them succumbed to the lathi blow of the British police or mounted the scaffold with ‘Bande Mataram’ on their lips. The central plot moves round a band of sanyasis, called santanas or children, who left their hearth and home and dedicated their lives to the cause of their motherland. They worshipped their motherland as the Goddess Kali;… This aspect of the Ananda Math and the imagery of Goddess Kali leave no doubt that Bankimchandra’s nationalism was Hindu rather than Indian. This is made crystal clear from his other writings which contain passionate outbursts against the subjugation of India by the Muslims. From that day set the sun of our glory – that is the refrain of his essays and novels which not unoften contain adverse, and sometimes even irreverent, remarks against the Muslims” (emphasis added). As Majumdar pithily puts it, “Bankimchandra converted patriotism into religion and religion into patriotism.”

The novel was not anti-British, either. In the last chapter, we find a supernatural figure persuading the leader of the sanyasis, Satyananda, to stop fighting. The dialogue that follows is interesting:3

“He: Your task is accomplished. The Muslim power is destroyed. There is nothing else for you to do. No good can come of needless slaughter.

“S: The Muslim power has indeed been destroyed, but the dominion of the Hindu has not yet been established. The British still hold Calcutta.

“He: Hindu dominion will not be established now. If you remain at your work, men will be killed to no purpose. Therefore come.

“S: (greatly pained) My lord, if Hindu dominion is not going to be established, who will rule? Will the Muslim kings return?

“He: No. The English will rule.”

Satyananda protests, but is persuaded to lay down the sword.

“He: Your vow is fulfilled. You have brought fortune to your Mother. You have set up a British government. Give up your fighting. Let the people take to their ploughs. Let the earth be rich with harvest and the people rich with wealth.

“S: (weeping hot tears) I will make my Mother rich with harvest in the blood of her foes.

“He: Who is the foe? There are no foes now. The English are friends as well as rulers. And no one can defeat them in battle. (emphasis added).

“S: If that is so, I will kill myself before the image of my Mother.

“He: In ignorance? Come and know. There is a temple of the Mother in the Himalayas. I will show you her image there.

“So saying, He took Satyananda by the hand.”

Anti-Muslim references are spread all over the work. Jivananda with sword in hand, at the gate of the temple, exhorts the children of Kali: “We have often thought to break up this bird’s nest of Muslim rule, to pull down the city of the renegades and throw it into the river – to turn this pig-sty to ashes and make Mother earth free from evil again. Friends, that day has come.”

The use of the song ‘Vande Mataram’ in the novel is not adventitious, and it is not only communal-minded Muslims who resent it because of its context and content. M.R.A. Baig’s analysis of the novel and the song deserve attention. “Written as a story set in the period of the dissolution of the Moghul Empire, the hero of the novel, Bhavananda, is planning an armed rising against the Muslims of Bengal. While busy recruiting, he meets Mahendra and sings the song ‘Bande Mataram’ or ‘Hail Mother’. The latter asks him the meaning of the words and Bhavananda, making a spirited answer, concludes with: ‘Our religion is gone, our caste is gone, our honour is gone. Can the Hindus preserve their Hinduism unless these drunken Nereys (a term of contempt for Muslims) are driven away?’… Mahendra, however, not convinced, expresses reluctance to join the rebellion. He is, therefore, taken to the temple of Ananda Math and shown a huge image of four-armed Vishnu, with two decapitated and bloody heads in front, “Do you know who she is?” asks the priest in charge, pointing to an image on the lap of Vishnu, “She is the Mother. We are her children Say ‘Bande Mataram'” He is taken to the image of Kali and then to that of Durga. On each occasion he is asked to recite ‘Bande Mataram’. In another scene in the novel some people shouted ‘kill, kill the Nereys’. Others shouted ‘Bande Mataram’ ‘Will the day come when we shall break mosques and build temples on their sites? 4

The song has five stanzas. Of these only the first two are the “approved ones”. Jawaharlal Nehru was ‘opposed to the last two stanzas’. The approved stanzas read:

“I bow to thee, Mother, richly watered, richly fruited,

cool with the winds of the south,

dark with the crops of the harvests,

the Mother!

Her nights rejoicing in the glory of

the moonlight, her hands clothed

beautifully with her trees in flowering

bloom, sweet of laughter, sweet of

speech, the Mother, giver of boons

giver of bliss!

The third stanza refers to ‘Thy dreadful name’, evidently, a reference to the Goddess Kali. The fourth is in the same vein. ‘Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen, with her hands that strike and her swords of sheen’.

It is essentially a religious homage to the country conceived as a deity, ‘a form of worship’ as Majumdar aptly called it. The motherland is “conceived as the Goddess Kali, the source of all power and glory.”

This, in the song itself. The context makes it worse. “The land of Bengal, and by extension all of India, became identified with the female aspect of Hindu deity, and the result was a concept of divine Motherland”.5 How secular is such a song? The objection was not confined to mere bowing and it was voiced early in the day.

In his presidential address at the Second Session of the All-India Muslim League held in Amritsar on December 30, 1908, Syed Ali Imam said:

“I cannot say what you think, but when I find the most advanced province of India put forward the sectarian cry of ‘Bande Mataram’ as the national cry, and the sectarian Rakhibandhan as a national observance, my heart is filled with despair and disappointment; and the suspicion that under the cloak of nationalism Hindu nationalism is preached in India becomes a conviction. Has the experiment tried by Akbar and Aurangzeb failed again? Has 50 years of the peaceful spread of English education given the country only a revival of denominationalism? Gentlemen, do not misunderstand me. I believe that the establishment of conferences, associations and corporate bodies in different communities on denominational lines is necessary to give expression to denominational views, so that the builders of a truly national life in the country may have before them the crystallised need and aspirations of all sects…

“Regard for the feelings and sentiments, needs and requirements of all is the key-note to true Indian nationalism. It is more imperative where the susceptibilities of the two great communities, Hindus and Musalmans, are involved. Unreconciled, one will be as great a drag on the wheel of national progress as the other. I ask the architects of Indian nationalism, both in Calcutta and Poona, do they expect the Musalmans of India to accept ‘Bande Mataram’ and the Sivaji celebration? The Mohammedans may be weak in anything you please, but they are not weak in cherishing their traditions of their glorious past. I pray the Congress leaders to put before the country such a programme of political advancement as does not demand the sacrifice of the feelings of the Hindu or the Mohammedan, the Parsee or the Christian.”

The Congress Working Committee, which met in Calcutta on October 26, 1937, under the presidentship of Nehru, adopted a long statement on the subject.6 It asked that the song should “be considered apart from the book.” Recalling its use in the preceding 30 years, the resolution said:

“The song and the words thus became symbols of national resistance to British Imperialism in Bengal especially, and generally in other parts of India. The words ‘Bande Mataram’ became a slogan of power which inspired our people and a greeting which ever remind us of our struggle for national freedom.

“Gradually the use of the first two stanzas of the song spread to other provinces and a certain national significance began to attach to them. The rest of the song was very seldom used, and is even now known by few persons. These two stanzas described in tender language the beauty of (the) motherland and the abundance of her gifts. There was absolutely nothing in them to which objection could be from the religious or any other point of view… The other stanzas of the song are little known and hardly ever sung. They contain certain allusions and a religious ideology which may not be in keeping with the ideology of other religious groups in India.

“The Committee recognise the validity of the objection raised by Muslim friends to certain parts of the song. While the Committee have taken note of such objection insofar as it has intrinsic value, the Committee wish to point out that the modern evolution of the use of the song as part of National life is of infinitely greater importance than its setting in a historical novel before the national movement had taken shape. Taking all things into consideration, therefore, the Committee recommend that, wherever Bande Mataram is sung at national gatherings, only the first two stanzas should be sung, with perfect freedom to the organisers to sing any other song of an unobjectionable character, in addition to, or in the place of, the Bande Mataram song.”

‘National’ songs do not need political surgery; the songs which do, do not win national acceptance. Against this was the fact of history that, however ill-advised, the song had come to be associated with the struggle for freedom. Gandhi advised Muslims to appreciate its historic association but counselled against any imposition. “No doubt, every act… must be purely voluntary on the part of either partner,” he said at Alipore on August 23, 1947.

THE Government of India acquired this emotion-charged legacy. Its stand was defined in a statement by Prime Minister Nehru to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) on August 25, 1948:7 Nehru said:

“The question of having a national anthem tune, to be played by orchestras and bands became an urgent one for us immediately after 15th August 1947. It was as important as that of having a national flag. The ‘Jana Gana Mana’ tune, slightly varied, had been adopted as a national anthem by the Indian National Army in South-East Asia, and had subsequently attained a degree of popularity in India also… I wrote to all the provincial Governors and asked their views about our adopting ‘Jana Gana Mana’ or any other song as the national anthem. I asked them to consult their Premiers before replying… Every one of these Governors, except one (the Governor of the Central Provinces), signified their approval of ‘Jana Gana Mana’. Thereupon the Cabinet considered the matter and came to the decision that provisionally ‘Jana Gana Mana’ should be used as the tune for the national anthem, till such time as the Constituent Assembly came to a final decision. Instructions were issued accordingly to the provincial governments…

”It is unfortunate that some kind of argument has arisen as between ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jana Gana Mana’. ‘Vande Mataram’ is obviously and indisputably the premier national song of India, with a great historical tradition, and intimately connected with our struggle for freedom. That position it is bound to retain and no other song can displace it. It represents the position and poignancy of that struggle, but perhaps not so much the culmination of it. In regard to the national anthem tune, it was felt that the tune was more important than the words… It seemed therefore that while ‘Vande Mataram’ should continue to be the national song par excellence in India, the national anthem tune should be that of ‘Jana Gana Mana’, the wording of ‘Jana Gana Mana’ to be suitably altered to fit in with the existing circumstances.

“The question has to be considered by the Constituent Assembly, and it is open to that Assembly to decide as it chooses. It may decide on a completely new song or tune, if such is available.”

A MORE definitive statement was made by the President of the Constituent Assembly, Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950. He said: “There is one matter which has been pending for discussion, namely, the question of the national anthem. At one time it was thought that the matter might be brought up before the House, and a decision taken by the House by way of a resolution. But it has been felt that, instead of taking a formal decision by means of a resolution, it is better if I make a statement with regard to the national anthem. Accordingly, I make this statement… 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 it. (Applause) I hope that will satisfy the Members.”8

Mutual understanding will lead to the Gandhian formula – respect for the song but no imposition. But even more than that, if the problem were understood in depth, what would emerge is a far better appreciation of the reasons why the Muslims and the Congress drifted away from each other. Those reasons have many a lesson for us today as we build a secular India. Attempts at imposition reflect a conscious decision to break with the national secular ideal.

REFERENCES

1. Jaico; page 235.

2. British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part II: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1965; page 478.

3. Sources of Indian Tradition compiled by William Theodore de Bary and others; Columbia University Press; 1958; page 715.

4. Vide his essay “The Partition of Bengal and its Aftermath; The Indian Journal of Political Science; Volume XXX, April-June 1969, Number 2, pages 120-122.

5. D.F.Smith: India as a Secular State; Princeton University Press; 1963; page 90

6. Indian Annual Register, 1937, Volume II, p. 327.

7. Official Report on “Constituent Assembly Debates”; Third session, Part I, Volume VI, August 9-31, 1948.

8. Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume XII; January 24, 1950.

244 Comments

Filed under Democracy, Identity, India, minorities, Partition, Religion, south asia

244 responses to “The Politics of Symbolism

  1. stuka

    I love the song Vande Mataram – especially the first two stanzas because typically that is all that is sung. I am all for it’s glorification but against making it mandatory for Muslims to sing it. How can you force someone?

    I do think it is reasonable that if the song is sung in a school Muslims can stand respectfully though not sing.

  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    The problem with the song is its usage in Anand Math…

    This song is sung by “Hindu” Patriots who along with their British liberators are fighting against Muslim tyrants in the book.

    Please feel free to correct me.

    Anyway this is an excellent resource BC… thanks for posting it… it exposes the ugly face of Hindu chauvinism…. in the end the Kashifiats and Karuns have more in common than they wish to accept.

  3. Vajra

    The aesthetics of symbolism.

    The article is well-put and generally balanced, but how I wish I could say that I agree with it wholly!

    It is all the more ironic that the one minor cavil that arises does so in the analysis by Noorani, who has taken his rightful place as a wise and even-handed arbiter of these issues relating to the balances that make up India.

    First, I deeply disagree with the assessment of Nirad Chaudhuri, whom I admire in many ways without necessarily agreeing with his views. His views on Bankim Babu are typical of this. He ascribes to the author his own prejudices and the prejudices of a large number of his friends and acquaintances with middle-class Hindu backgrounds; some tinges of the ‘settler’ mentality of East Bengali landlords (he is a chaudhuri, don’t let’s forget) also creep in.

    I read the original Vande Mataram, written in very sanskritised Bengali (it is possible to compose a style of Bengali which is practically indistinguishable from Sanskrit, and it was the genius of authors like Rabindranath and more than he Saratchandra that the language broke away from that style), in my early teens. It was part of a rollicking adventure story, if readers will accept that part of my reading list also included G. A. Henty and the Biggles stories. Political correctness was not a criterion for reading these, a good adventure, with clearly demarcated villains and clearly spelt out nasty endings for them, typically in the mouths of crocodiles in temple moats in remote Africa, well located in the story line. Like Edgar Wallace’s Sanders stories, these too were artlessly racist, almost written with an air that racism was something that the Huns and the Froggies did, and the British would never, ever be guilty of; but dash it, can’t let them in at dinner-time, eh, what, what?

    Ananda Math was very much Walter Scott out of G. A. Henty, if you like; but it was not Bankimchandra’s only novel, there were others, and each rollicked more than the previous. Devi Chaudhurani was my personal favourite, being almost a Georgette Heyer novel in its conception and scope and its very satisfying denouement. And while Ananda Math gets a lot of airtime, excessive airtime in my opinion, because of being the original source for Vande Mataram, there is another significant story that deals with a straightforward clash between Hindu and Muslim, and is in my opinion as truly representative of Bankim’s views as any other, and that is Durgeshnandini – the Castellan’s Daughter. The Muslims there are hardly the degraded scum he is supposed to have shown elsewhere (an image drawn from one or two phrases from characters who were fanatics), they were in fact chivalrous foes who treated their wounded-in-battle enemy with gentle care and with honour. Ayesha’s gracious visit to her romantic rival’s wedding ceremony, and her princely gifts are hardly the acts of a slavering fanatic intent on conversion at sword-point.

    So I beg that a story be accepted as a story. In the interests of authenticity and narrative integrity, I believe that it was quite in order for Satyananda to say the kind of choked, muffled-with-emotion things that he did. Note that Mahendra was initially reluctant, later ‘went along’ and finally detached himself, finding the whole mess quite too soaked with a sickening sentiment for him to find much in common with it any longer. For Satyananda to be emotionally swept away on a rising tide of communal frenzy was appropriate to his character; it does not necessarily reflect the author’s views.

    Second, I draw the attention of the reader to the song itself. It is beautiful in its original form, and setting aside for a minute its implications and connotations. When we are not looking at it with the keen eye of a Derrida, but just sing it, it is difficult to resist its beauty.

    Coming to the only serious problem I have, a problem with Noorani’s analysis, it is difficult to understand his argument about a truly national song not having to be amputated to be generally acceptable. With great regret, this is special pleading, and very bad and unsound special pleading, unless he is laying a mine for the other anthem as well. As everybody is well aware, the original Tagore song Jana Gana Mana is a multiple stanza song; as a young military school cadet, we had to sing the whole @$%^^*& every morning. As a defensive measure, there is a gentle veil of darkness covering it, and the deep pauses for breath that were necessary between stanzas; very hard going after morning PT, a frugal breakfast, and morning assembly parade.

    The point is this: if truncation is a disqualification for a national anthem, rather on the lines of the mediaeval dictum that a monarch had to be whole in all his members to be monarch (mediaeval in the European context: there are other examples), then Jana Gana Mana also does not survive. Was the good Mr. Noorani not aware of this, or was he aware of it, and very subtly hinting that Jana Gana Mana had its own problems and that we should address them as well? Who knows?

    There is frankly nothing wrong with the song as a song; it does not have an anti-Islamic bias unless one wishes to see it in the words. The BJP and the RSS do see it there. The JuH was afraid that this would be the interpretation and resisted it from the outset for that reason. Unfortunately, it was too strong a symbol of the independence struggle to be abandoned; that was too strong an abandonment for anyone to stomach, hence its odd characterisation as a national hymn, not as the national anthem.

    Our enemies are the BJP, and the RSS, their spine and driving force, not the JuH, not the Congress (at this moment), certainly not Bankimchandra, not the novels of Bankimchandra, not the song Vande Mataram. This has to be understood clearly, rather than getting tangled in the thickets of deconstructionist detail.

  4. karun1

    @YLH

    hahaha………….

    so you do remember me from time to time…good for you.

    i know you have a great predicament (to be truly secular you would have to completely dissosiate yourself with Islamic culturalism you associate loosely with nationalism but that option is not available to you because your countrymen will never agree to that)

    Since you are walking on such thin ice it is unecessary to provoke someone whose society/nation follows no such narrow confines as yours.

    Hence before you secure your country and get it on the right track, stop boasting. Perhaps, there will be a time for that.

  5. karun1

    Not singing Vande Mataram is like Not watching TV for corrupting influence(against Islam)

    Funny and Outdated!

  6. karun1

    Its like Saying John Locke’s contribution towards republicanism and liberal theory cannot be accepted because he himself kept a slave and did not think highly of black people

  7. Bloody Civilian

    thankyou vajra

    your conclusions were the kind i was aiming at in posting this very brief ‘anthology’. the symptoms can and will be debated with and to no end, if we close our eyes to the disease. normal people act normally. there are no reactions to normalcy. yet one joker in a crowd… not only gets noticed and elicits a reaction, he is all that anyone remembers.

    whether some men at a godhra train stattion were ‘responsible’ or whoever else, or, whether it was zaheeruddin babar or LK Advani… had it not been for things like that, why would there been an issue.

    but more interestingly in the light of not only our partition debates here at pth, but also pakistan’s current woes, it’s interesting to note JUH’s role. and there cosy relationship with congress. there was such symbolism in the interim govt of 46/47 too. from both sides. when congress despite failing to manage even 5% of the muslim vote, wanted to reserve for itself the powerful symbolism of nominating muslim ministers. the muslim league considered such use to be democratically misleading and dishonest. in the end, the muslim league had to give up its objection and enter the govt in order to ‘serve the interests of its voters’.

    many would agree with mustafa kamal sherwani and his suspicion that this politics of symbolism is there to replace the politics of real issues. and stuka’s suggestion can only be a stop-gap solution at best. how many muslims do you know with any issues with the song? how many do you know who take the JUH seriously? yet who is the pre-eminent political representative of the muslims?? but ignoring these two realities allows one to avoid having to face up to and engage with the real issue. stuka’s type of solutions are a much easier way out.

    to me, what mohan bhagwat says would be equivalent to dr munawar hassan or maulana fazlurrehman (let alone hafez saeed) saying that the next leader of the PML will not be from lahore! if the BJP are mere political opportunists like our PML – N or Q, then why doesn’t it break itself free from the RSS? if doing so would increase BJP’s vote bank? except, the BJP obviously thinks that doing anything of the sort would decrease rather than increase its votes. in case the BJP is right in this assessment, where does the centre lie in Indian politics? giving jokers like JUH undue importance, then coming up with stuka’s solutions based on that joke, is much easier than trying to answer the tougher questions.

  8. Hayyer

    Vajra:
    If I may be permitted to take you up on beauty as an excuse for accepting something otherwise repugnant. But before that I would question if anything can be taken out of context and still remain authentic. Also, Nirad Chaudhuri, to whose prejudices you rightly alluded also praised Muslims on occasion. That does not make him merely a unprejudiced chronicleer anymore than Bankim Chandra was an unprejudiced novelist.
    Beautiful words strung together to evoke beautiful images are not in themselves enough to command respect, let alone symbolize nationhood. They must mean something. Beauty is a funny thing. It can move one to tears but by itself the ‘aesthetic’ is meaningless.
    Bande Mataram’s association with the freedom struggle was through Hindu, not Muslim freedom fighters. It meant nothing to nearly a third of Indians. It was inspirational in a fictional struggle against Muslims, so not withstanding its beauty, they are right to be repelled by it.
    Even if you take the song out of context and consider only its truncated form Muslims are right not to sing it. Worship of anything other than God is repugnant to Islam. Rejection of faith cannot be a test of patriotism.
    The Gita is profoundly beautiful. The same is said about the Koran and there is no dearth of admiration for the King James version of the Bible. You can accept or reject one or the other. Only a contortionist can accept all three in their entirety. A mind catholic enough can take bits of beauty from here and there in all three to satisfy some self defined internal ethic but it can hardly arrive at a consistent theory of faith from this sort of a mix and match affair. For Muslims Bande Mataram poses a similar challenge; to practice eclectic faith.
    The butcher I frequent in Delhi’s Khan market does a profoundly beautiful job of dressing lamb. There can be beauty in butchery too, but I submit there is nothing so fraudulent and deceptive as beauty. Truth is not beauty nor beauty truth.
    Jana Gana Mana was first sung in Parsi Bagan Calcutta in 1911. It was written for the visit of the King Emperor and in his praise. Quite irrelevant to a nation seeking freedom from the self same Emperor one would think, but probably no one remembered its context when they chose it. There is a connection between the two songs. Bande Mataram was set to music by Rabindranath Tagore’s father. This was the tune that was remixed by A R Rehman. It is the only one of his compositions that is actually a work of genius I think.
    Quite apart from all that you would agree that Bande Mataram is politically incorrect in its context. Out of context (if anyone can be persuaded that such a thing is possible) it is irreligious for those who cannot ‘worship’ their country, or are not inclined to, especially when reified as goddess.

  9. karun1

    @hayyer

    do you think ‘hindus’ actually worship the country? i do not know of any and maybe those who do perhaps do in the same way they worship the nature.(figurative)

    why cannot it be loosely interpreted as showing respect; since anyway the language used is not persian/arabic

    what sort of archaic debate is this?

    I think javed Akhtar’s response is the best:

    If they (RSS/BJP) force me to sing it, i Will not. If they (Muslim ulema,deobandis etc) force me not to sing it, I will sing the full version.

  10. karun1

    @hayyer

    Only a contortionist can accept all three in their entirety.

    sorry your view is very short-sighted and needless to say your view of religion is more of theology than spirituality.

    and whenevr theology takes precedence over spirituality we end up eating the peel rather than the banana.

  11. Vajra

    @Hayyer

    Oh no, not so!

    Let me make it clear, in case the verbiage obscured it, there is no merit in enforcing Vande Mataram when it has such obvious obstacles for an observant Muslim. That is a preliminary, a given.

    What it should not lead to, what I was in fact presenting to you and everyone else, was that a song, a book, any cultural artifact, in fact, including Hussain’s depiction of Saraswati, can be used as a murderous tool in the politics of bigotry and obscurantism. That is how Vande Mataram is being used; and that is how Bankim is being positioned by fascists who cloak themselves in the cloak of religion.

    My argument in brief: we need not be, should not be distracted by the weapon, we need to concentrate on the wielder.

    The song is beautiful; that it is used to inflict pain on Muslims is a function of those who use it so. By itself, a hymn to the motherland by a set of people who personify nature in all her aspects, and expressions of nature as well, including the earth and the rivers and the skies, down to diseases like smallpox or characteristics like generosity in feeding the hungry is quite innocent. Used to enforce mental discomfort and congregational injury on a monotheist community, it is a wicked and sinful weapon.

    The author presented it on the lips of a fanatic. That is why, in addition to its theocratic elements, it has acquired prejudicial overtones.

    My second point was about the integrity of the work, about depicting Satyananda as a communal bigot. I maintain that it was correct in artistic terms; should Satyananda have been a rational, open-minded, secular character? Surely the ridiculous aspect of that comes through. The point further is that in no way does that damn Bankimchandra permanently as a Hindu bigot. I have already provided the example of another work which has opposite views; which are we to take? Why should we refuse to accept that Bankimchandra’s work was different when we worked on different plots?

    My argument is that the song, the novel and the entire body of work in question have their merits and their proper place in art and literature, and we need to sidestep their misappropriation and abuse by bigots searching for weapons, who have used the temples and their history in their own fashion as well as this. My argument is that those who can, among our readers, should read these works, as works of art, and that we should see their use or misuse in a different context from their creation.

    To use another example, should the obviously alien cultural ethos of the tales of Sinbad the Sailor distance us from them?

    If we are to retrofit our current conceptions of what is politically correct, I would not have cited either the racist adventure stories that I have (very few have read Henty), nor the genteel sexism of Georgette Heyer in support of my argument that one can read and enjoy a story apart from its cultural context or political context. If this is untrue, then we have a problem with the works of Wagner, and their interpretation with von Karajan; nor can I recommend Mendelssohn to any Muslim reader. That puts all of us into straitjackets based on categories and classes that are imposed on us, and which we may not agree with in the first place.

    To recap., I think it is a terrible idea to make singing the song compulsory; I think equally strongly that it has nothing to do with the merits of the song, or the work in which it appears, or the author himself. I think that we need to clearly separate ourselves and to encourage others to separate themselves from the glib classifications which play into the hands of bigots of all descriptions. I believe that we can read Sanders of the River without advocating slavery for Africans, and that we can read Biggles without being anti-German.

    Therefore in condemning the BJP, we should not in reaction behave in the way that they wish us to behave, in classes and categories and religious groupings.

    That amounts to nothing more nor less than Gandhi’s egregious mistake in assuming that by accepting the fundamentalist view of the Muslims as a community, he was pleasing them. Not so. He pleased nobody; neither the Muslim committed to a world-view with no possible tolerance for the kafir, nor the Muslim committed to preserving his faith in the middle of a society composed of disparate elements, including those who were hostile to Islam; nor, in fact least of all, the Muslim who wished to examine his faith in the light of radical changes that had taken place in human society and the need to re-interpret the inessential aspects and characteristics of Islamic beliefs, an urge common to sincere adherents of every known religion.

    In order to avoid falling into the same trap, I urge that hand-in-hand with resisting any compulsion in singing this song, we do not make such a resistance a vehicle for categorising our citizens by class, or category, or creed, rather than as individual. The alternative in the final analysis is to hand over the justice system to our khap panchayats and to sharia courts.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Karun,

    Let us not talk of narrow confines shall we… you too are limited by many things… and your society/nation has its own limitations.

    The dilemma you speak of is not necessarily unique to me… but all people of Muslim origin, whether in majority or minority , who want their “societies” to move forward. And by no means is it unique to Muslim society … other semitic faiths at other times have faced similar issues… you mentioned John Locke I believe… the father of Modern Secular Society built upon his “Christian culturalism” whatever the hell that means.

    It may not even be a dilemma… as in coming years I shall demonstrate how I shall use this as my greatest asset in achieving precisely what you think I may not truly achieve.

  13. karun1

    i mentioned john locke vs racism in the same vein as Bankim vs prejudices against Islam

    Just bcos vande matram happened to be in Anandmath (a fictional text) doesnot mean it loses its charm or beauty as a poem for nationalism.

    Or just because ‘Sare jahan se achha’ was written by Iqbal we(Indians) should stop singing it.

  14. Hayyer

    Vajra:
    I can agree with most of what you say. Categories are abhorrent to me personally, but they surely exist in a general sense, though I am not at all sure that they have any didactic utility in human society even as they have one for mischief. One can make up categories as one goes along, or follow the ones defined by others. Fascist ideologies have their own sort of category.
    I know very little about Bankim Chandra and I take your word that he is wrongly positioned by religious fascists, but Henty was an imperialist, and Scott a Scottish nationalist of sorts, and their writings are not merely ripping adventure stories, they reflect certain ingrained values. Biggles was anti German. Sanders is a white supremacist. To enjoy the works fully one must empathize with these ‘heroes’.
    Beauty is neutral to ethics, politics or morality. Which is why I gave the example of the butcher. Something evil can be beautiful too. The Nazis may have been moved to tears by Wagner despite their wickedness, but it does nothing for Wagner. German myths expressed in songs can be beautiful on their own, but their beauty inspired the worst of sentiment.
    I am no liberal fascist I think. I defend Hussain’s right as an artist to draw Hindu goddesses in the nude. The artist’s imagination is not to be restrained, but I question his discretion. A couple of the paintings are positively obscene. Durga is of course depicted mounted on a tiger in the iconography, but does she ‘mount’ a tiger as he depicts her in one of his paintings? If I were a practicing Hindu I would be offended. Hussain, the artist, can and should have artistic liberty but it can be rightly asked if his sexual imagination is limited to Hindu themes?
    Karun:
    The Chinese eat everything and Hindus worship everything. That is the way the two groups experience the world. Everyone to his own. If you want to pay respect to your country ( a map with fluctuating borders) by worshipping it, by all means do so. Don’t insist on others following your example
    I don’t care one way or the other whether Javed Akhtar sings the song or does not. I don’t sing it and I don’t know the words. It means nothing to me.
    I don’t know what you mean by spiritualism. I have never seen any spirits and I don’t believe anyone else has either unless they are delusional.
    I don’t do theology. I am an agnostic.
    Iqbal wrote ‘sare jahan se achha’ in his nationalist phase. He later disowned the sentiment. It is perfectly legitimate for Indians to sing the song because it was written by a man believing in what he wrote, though he changed his mind later.

  15. Bloody Civilian

    vajra

    your case, as argued in the relatively narrow sense, will be well received by good and aspiring scholars and a tiny number of connoisseurs (not all). but you cannot ask africans, wherever they happen to be, to read Sanders and remove themselves from the context and its legacy which has been the context of their daily existence for some centuries now.

    ordinary people are the least bit interested in historical context, unless it is related to their present predicament. and they cannot be expected to ignore their present predicament in order to remove historical context. if identity is being used for mischief, then the victim cannot be denied the right to use it in order to be able to defend and speak for herself. the same goes for a denial of another’s identity for the wrong reasons, ie. to make mischief without being honest enough to own up to it.

    it is perhaps understandable that those who narrated the story of the terrorists attacking the temple in gandhinagar asking a kid to sing vande mataram and then shot him… or the victims of the 2002 gujrat rioters and arsonists chanting the same song, will not be able to remove themselves from the present context that easily. ‘sare jahan se achha’ is not immune to being brought into disrepute in the same manner… and then the chronology of iqbal’s changing attitudes would count for little. but again, there was a pre-existing controversy attached to vande mataram that made it attractive to the mischief-makers as a symbol.

    i doubt a single deoband aalim will be able to make much sense of your case at all. i very much doubt they’re even interested in speaking up for any kind of victim either. the mischief-makers on the other side wouldn’t care for your explanation if they understood it.

    i already said in my previous post that there are only a few jokers in any community but they do stand out like a sore thumb. the many normal, decent people would wish there was no controversy in the first place. and that if there were any historical ones, they weren’t relevant today. but yet wishing the controversy away will not make it go away. sitting on the fence would do even less than any unrealistic solutions. and for solutions which try to claim there is no problem….

  16. Vishal

    I just wrote a post on my blog about this.

    I believe that in a just and liberal society no one should be forced to sing a song, be it national song or national anthem. If I, for example, find Vande Mataram offensive for religious, personal, ethical or any other reason, I should have freedom to deny its recital.

    Whatever the reasons for the denial might be.

    I would go even further and say that one should be free even to be unpatriotic. [Anti-national is a different matter, however.]

  17. Bloody Civilian

    vishal

    you’ve given us the legal ‘solution’ which hardly any reasonable person would disagree with. but are there no political repercussions? more importantly, is there a political solution to the issue, other than slow and often haphazard evolution of democracy?

  18. PMA

    karun1 (November 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm):

    Iqbal’s Urdu poetry is divided into three phases. As Hayyer (November 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm) has pointed out, this one poem of his, ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ (Anthem of an Indian) is from his pre-1905 phase. During that phase he also wrote “Hindustani Bachoun Ka Qoumi Geet” (National Song of Indian Children). In that song he refers to the Greek, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and Muslim background of his fellow countrymen. His second phase is between 1905 and 1908, a transformational phase if you may. However his post-1908 phase clearly belongs to his idea of Muslim Nationalism. It is during this phase that his thoughts truly precipitate and he galvanises his Muslim Nation. At that point he revises his original poem and re-writes it as an other anthem “Tarana-e-Milli” (National Anthem)….”Cheen-o-Arab Hamara, Hindustan Hara”. Here he sings to the glory of Islam and Muslims and proclaims pan-Islamism. He identifies Crescent as his national symbol. I suppose that is where he is hailed by Muslims and rejected by Hindus of India. By the time he dies in 1938, the lines of Muslim Nationalism are fully drawn. March 23, 1940 Lahore Resolution puts seal on his message.

  19. Vishal

    @ Bloody Civilian,

    Interestingly, not imposing the majority’s will on the entire population (including the minority) would be undemocratic. I don’t think the solution to this problem lies in democratic principals. The government (and politicians) should stay away from this, and let the justice system handle it.

    Please check out my post if you get a chance, and let me know what you think: http://vishal12.wordpress.com/

  20. Vajra

    @Hayyer
    @Bloody Civilian

    I have tried to respond to Hayyer’s comments as best as I could devise.

    Bloody Civilian, however, as always suaviter in modo though always remaining fortiter in re, had me fleeing with my dhoti flapping in the wind created by my passage (among other things and other winds) through the paddy-fields. I must claim sanctuary for a while to gather my wits, my dhoti ends and my arguments; it is not every day that one is assaulted foot, horse and artillery by a Bloody Civilian, and the experience has left me, understandably, shaken and temporarily, as the saying goes, hors de combat. It is earnestly and sincerely brought to his notice that some leeway should be shown to non-violent, spectacle-wearing, grass-eating, harmless Bloodless Civilians.

    It is clear, as a general rule, that it is not good for the physical or mental health of an East Bengal peasant to be the designated prey of a Pathan, however Civilian and of whatever haematologic type the latter may profess himself to be.

    I shall now execute the Mustafa Shaban gambit, and point out that due to my extensive scholastic schedules and consequent burdens, I, too, claim the privilege of raising a question but never providing an answer, at least for the present. I, too, shall ‘real soon now’ provide the answers and respond to the issues that you have raised, O Bloody Civilian sir, only not today, and not now. And dunt say that I’m nut answering, I always answerings.

    I know very little about Bankim Chandra and I take your word that he is wrongly positioned by religious fascists,

    I am sorry but there seems to be a minor misunderstanding here. Bankimchandra is an author and also a socially accountable citizen with socially accountable views of his own.

    It is not my contention that he is wrongly positioned by religious fascists (I am using your phrase while disagreeing violently with it, for reasons of ambiguity: the religious but narrow-minded are bigots, the politically inclined towards force and violence are fascists, and conflating the two in the style unfortunately excessively used on this forum is misleading and inaccurate).

    Rather, his artistic work, and his depiction of character consistent with the development of the plot need to be seen separately from the uses made by religious fanatics of his work.

    Further, his artistic work and his depiction of character consistent with the development of the plot need to be seen separately from his own social and political position.

    but Henty was an imperialist, and Scott a Scottish nationalist of sorts, and their writings are not merely ripping adventure stories, they reflect certain ingrained values. Biggles was anti German. Sanders is a white supremacist. To enjoy the works fully one must empathize with these ‘heroes’.

    About Henty, Scott, Biggles and Sanders: one need not be scarred for life by empathising – well-chosen word, that – rather than by sympathising with their heroes. That is quite supportive of my point: empathy does not amount to sympathy.

    More on this below.

    Beauty is neutral to ethics, politics or morality. Which is why I gave the example of the butcher.

    You mentioned that Beauty is neutral to ethics, politics or morality. We agree on this, then. That is all I am saying with regard to the backward historical or sociological context of Bankimchandra; his moments of beauty are independent of, are neutral to his ethics, politics or morality.

    Obviously, this applies to all artists and to all art as a general rule. Botticelli’s Venus arising from the Waves was beauty; there was no intention to offend, for instance, a Southern Baptist preacher, to use a neutral example.

    Something evil can be beautiful too. The Nazis may have been moved to tears by Wagner despite their wickedness, but it does nothing for Wagner.

    Here you have lost me.

    The Nazis being moved to tears by Wagner despite their wickedness is not a particularly good example of something evil being beautiful. In fact, it is not even a bad example.

    * The Nazis are evil (presumably we are agreed on that).
    * Wagner’s music is beautiful (as a reference to extant imagery and portraiture of the period will discover for us, Wagner needs to be heard but never, if a merciful providence permits, seen).
    * So the Nazis, evil, admiring Wagner’s music, beautiful, is hardly a case of the evil being beautiful.

    Unless, of course, it is your contention that the more we listen to Wagner, the more beautiful we become. If this is truly so, then investing in Wagner’s copyright is perhaps indicated strongly.

    Unfortunately, further research into imagery and portraiture reveals that Herbert von Karajan, to give a minor example, does not approximate anybody’s ideal of beauty, except possibly his mother’s.

    German myths expressed in songs can be beautiful on their own, but their beauty inspired the worst of sentiment.

    This, on the other hand, is perhaps closer to what you would have us ponder about.

    In whom, is what we might ask ourselves.

    Let me illustrate by asking you a question (two, actually).

    Do you, on hearing the Double Eagle March, immediately have an irresistible desire to annex Silesia? Do you, on hearing the Horst Wessel Song, immediately have an urge to cut a Jewish throat?

    If not, might I suggest, with all the trepidation that it is proper to display, that the effect of the song depends on the listener, not the song?

    I am no liberal fascist I think. I defend Hussain’s right as an artist to draw Hindu goddesses in the nude. The artist’s imagination is not to be restrained, but I question his discretion. A couple of the paintings are positively obscene. Durga is of course depicted mounted on a tiger in the iconography, but does she ‘mount’ a tiger as he depicts her in one of his paintings? If I were a practicing Hindu I would be offended. Hussain, the artist, can and should have artistic liberty but it can be rightly asked if his sexual imagination is limited to Hindu themes?

    Here you have successfully managed to turn my argument through a complete about-turn, as befits the master polemicist that you are.

    My argument was about not making an artistic work a tool of hatred, a tool that unites a group to hate another. It was about not taking one work from an artist’s oeuvre to adopt the artist as a fellow-bigot, and contrarily, not to take the similar approach from the other side, not condemn the man simply because it appears from one work that he might be a bigot.

    My argument goes further, if you don’t mind observing the matter further. It goes to the extent of considering that even such a bigoted attitude by the artist does not warrant condemning his work, one or the entire body, as being bigoted. No art is bigoted or liberating; it is our thinking that makes it so.

    The artist’s crimes of bad taste and his idiocy in picking an inflammatory theme is not the point. The viewer (or worse, from the artists’ position, the non-viewer) not personifying his art and not assigning an active role in bigotry for it is the point.

    I hope that some of the issues you have raised have been considered; if they have not, I shall, in the intervals of dodging Bloody Civilian somewhat marked attentions, respond to you as best as occurs to me at that future stressful moment.

  21. Hayyer

    Vajra:
    In my effort at brevity I may have obscured my argument
    I was trying to say that the beauty in Bankim Chandra’s writing, whatever it is in the original version, is deployed to a purpose. The writer’s art lies in deploying his gifts to arouse an emotion. By itself then, beauty is in this particular case only an aid to embedding a certain sentiment in the reader.
    The beauty of words is essentially meaningless unless there is a context.
    A beautifully cut piece of meat is a dismembered dead animal deprived violently not only of life but also dignity. The viewer finds it beautiful. It is in the relevant context that beauty gives meaning.
    It is the same with Wagner and Nazism.
    The double eagle and the Horst Wessel song can do nothing for me. I am not a German Nazi. As for cutting Jewish throats, why should I, with no historical interaction or knowledge of jews, in any context except books, feel such an urge. The only jew I ever knew, at a distance in fact, was in Calcutta decades ago. If I criticized Israel and was accused of anti-semitism as a consequence, I should simply laugh at the accusation.
    I would even venture to say that had I not had some exposure to western music I would find Wagner repellant. The vast majority of Indians cannot stand western classical music. They have grown accustomed to western pop in recent years and through that African sounds, and so there is some hope for them, but try getting the average Indian music lover to listen to The Magic Flute. Simple melodic scales are something else. That is something we have in common with the west and we respond to the emotion they express, but their ‘beauty’ is probably a result of our evolutionary processes. Even the west is now beginning to hear some beauty in Indian scales. I hear the occasional Indian scale in western movies and on TV but always in the background.
    Beauty therefore is contextual. By itself, beauty, one might say is up for hire and deployment. It is value neutral. Beauty for beauty’s sake can lead to a dangerous anarchism. Whatever beauty there is in Bande Mataram cannot but be contextual. Beautiful words by themselves mean nothing.
    I dont think that words can be taken out of context and admired on their own, or in contexts contrary to the original text.Beautiful words by themselves mean nothing.

  22. Hayyer

    Sorry for the repetition of that last sentence. Such is the nature of blogging.

  23. Tathagata Mukherjee

    After few weeks I am revisiting PTH and can’t resist seeing the issue as Vande-Mataram. SORRY for the barbs exchanged last time.

    Few quick points on Vande Mataram:

    1) Mother Cult is deeply engrained in culture of Bengal and India. If you read history of Communists in India, you will find they also used imagery of “Mother”.

    Harekrishna Koner, a Polit Bureau Member of CPIM, in a speech invoked it during peasant movement of West Bengal in 1960s (Communism in Indian Politics, Bhabani Sen Gupta, Columbia Univ Press)

    2) Accusing Bankim/AnandaMath as “Anti-Muslim”:

    Rezaul Karim , a top intellectual from West Bengal, wrote a great piece “Bankimchandra O Musalman Samaj” refuting much of the charges that Bakim/Anandamath was anti-Muslim. I think it was published in 1960s. I don;t remember all the points he raised, but he wanted to highight Bankim never condemned Islam as a religion, or Muhamad as a religious leader.

    Bankim’s comments were against Muslim ruler many of whom did untold atrocities on majority population.
    While today’s Indian Muslims cannot be blamed for those artocities, people would expect they will share the pain the majority faced during that time.

    3) Most historical novels, poems based on events of medieval period will refer to such atrocities.

    Recently, I was again going thro’ “Tungabhadra-Er Tire” (By the side of the River Tungabhadra) by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay (based on events of the Vijaynagar Empire)- there are many such references to the atrocities on the Hindus by the then rulers.

    Or what about Tagore’s many poems where he praised the Sikhs, Sikh Gurus, Banda Bahadur etc?

    But again, as in Bankim’s case- Islam as religion, or Mohamad as a religious leader was never condemed.

    AG Noorani quoted last few lines from the Anandamath- guess the few paragraphs prior to that are more meaningful and central to Indian psyche of all Indian nationalists.

    Partha Chatterjee elaborated that in his book “Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World”.

    Guess, will elaborate that later.

    Once again, SORRY FOR THE BARBS LAST TIME.

  24. yasserlatifhamdani

    Karun mian….

    I don’t care about Bankim Chatterjee’s views on Islam.

    However Vande Mataram was a communal song sung by “Hindu ” Patriots siding with the British “liberators” against “Muslim foreigners”.

    The insistence of the Congress to use this song was bound to create the havoc that it did.

  25. lal

    How different is a fatwa against vande mataram different from the vandalism against hussain paintings by rss?

  26. yasserlatifhamdani

    I don’t see why there should be a fatwa against it.

    There shouldn’t be any fatwa against it.

  27. Vajra

    @karun1
    @lal

    Goes without saying that this lovely song is now contaminated as far as public life is concerned by its being viewed, rightly or wrongly, as an exclusively Hindu slogan, derived from a song embedded within a virulently anti-Muslim (not necessarily anti-Islamic) book.

    Also, lal, a fatwa against it is ridiculous, just as ridiculous as those fundamentalists who wanted it to be made compulsory singing in Government-aided schools.

    About the original work being anti-Muslim rather than anti-Islamic

    [Without going into detail, Bankimchandra apparently saw Muslims as quite sharply differentiated; the hatred and contempt he expressed in one place through a rabidly fundamentalist Hindu character for one section of Hindus, local Bengali converts, is completely contradicted in another book, in which his treatment of Muslims and treacherous Hindus resembles nothing so much as Scott’s The Talisman Ring.]

    In my view, it is a pity. In my view, it is also probable that the implications of using this and alienating the Muslim sections of the population were not understood until it became too late. That is one possibility. The other is that it was first used in the intense Bengali reaction to Curzon’s first partition of Bengal. The hostile reaction to it, and resistance to it, was largely by the Hindu community in Bengal. This may have made it easier to ignore the provocative aspect of using the personified land as a goddess; there was hardly anyone within the resistance to speak out against it, and it was a natural expression for most taking part. Bankimchandra was not the only author/ poet/ songwriter enlisted, by the way; Charankabi Mukunda Das was another, and wrote similarly, again, in my opinion, with little or no sensitivity to the irritating aspects of his work, but with no explicit desire to irritate. It just happened to be his natural way of expression. That is also the class and community which said, “Janani janmabhumischa swargadopi gorioshi”; the Sanskritist reading this will be in whoops of laughter by now at the Bengali twist I have give the words, but it means,”My mother and my motherland are greater than Heaven.”

    I am afraid we have to live with the fact that the way one community saw patriotism and the land and love for the motherland simply flew in the face of the most cherished beliefs of the other community.

    YLH is right in what he says, I think; Vande Mataram was precisely an anti-Muslim song sung by a character who was a fundamentalist, and did in fact at some level equate the British with liberation and the Muslim with past oppression.

    He is spot on in evaluating it as communalist, considering the context within the book, and considering the plot of the book itself. However, he has not claimed, I am glad to see, that the original historical background resembled the book or it’s plot in any way.

    As an historical curiousity, ironically enough, the Sanyasi Rebellion, on which the book was based, was a combined Fakir and Sanyasi movement against the British, with little or no communal agenda in it. Being without any serious reference at hand, I am taking the liberty of putting in an excerpt from the reference that we all love to hate:

    At least three separate events are called the Sannyasi Rebellion. One refers to a large body of ascetics both Hindu sannyasis and Muslim madaris, religious fakirs that travelled from North India to different parts of Bengal to visit shrines. On route to the shrines, it was customary for many of these holy men to exact a religious tax from the headmen and zamindars or regional landlords. In times of prosperity, the headmen and zamindars generally obliged. However, since the East India Company received the diwani or right to collect tax, many of the tax demands increased and the local landlords and headmen were unable to pay both the ascetics and the English. Crop failures, and famine, which killed ten million people or an estimated one-third of the population of Bengal compounded the problems since much of the arable land lay fallow.

    In 1771, 150 fakirs were put to death, apparently for no reason. This was one of the reasons that caused distress leading to violence, especially in Natore in Rangpur, now in modern Bangladesh. However, some modern historians argue that the movement never gained popular support.

    The other two movements involved a sect of Hindu ascetics, the Dasnami naga sannyasis who likewise visited Bengal on pilgrimage mixed with moneylending opportunities. To the British, both the Hindu and Muslim ascetics were looters to be stopped from collecting money that belonged to the Company and possibly from even entering the province. It was felt that a large body of people on the move was a possible threat.

    Please note that Bankimchandra’s fanciful plot, with mysterious temples in dark forests, resembles one of the romantic boys’ own stories that I had listed earlier, and not this prosaic view that the British took. It must be obvious that writing a best-seller about money-lending looters is not really an easy job.

  28. Bloody Civilian

    @Vajra

    it’s not the kind of thing i do 365 days of the year. but i do believe 1 or 2 days in a year ought to be put aside for this. except that with the limited tools at my disposal the best i can hope for is to see you disappearing across the paddy fields… while i can seem myslef wriggling at your feet in a day or two, when you have the time, unless i end up being so lucky that you do actually do a mustafa shaban on me.

    @lal

    do you think the bjp voter should insist on withholding her vote until the party radically changes if not completely cuts off its relationship with the rss?

    should the congress voters insist that it do the same in case of the juh, although there are hardly any similarities in the congress-juh and bjp-rss relationships?

    if congress’ muslim voters give congress such an ultimatum about not making relevant obscurantists that they themselves don’t take seriously as far as politics is concerned, what alternative party should they turn to? bjp?

    if congress and bjp can’t agree to do the right thing in unison, should either undertake to do it unilateraly?

    @TM

    While today’s Indian Muslims cannot be blamed for those artocities, people would expect they will share the pain the majority faced during that time.

    would you kindly list all the tests that the minority must meet in order to satisfactorily answer the question whether they share the pain the majority faced during that time?

    as for the pain of the victims of the rioting in, say, 2002.. i guess that was random in both perpetrator and victim. and those who claim one community to be the greater victim must account for it not sharing the pain of what happened to the other in the form of the victims at godhra. modi has nothing to answer for till then, or never.

    the sikhs must show they share the pain for the (whole) country’s PM’s assasination… but that is a different matter any way. 1984 was a one off. there is no pattern nor frequency to any kind of hindu-sikh conflict.

    @Vishal

    sorry, vishal. your post didn’t come up until after a delay cos of the url link in it. a minor question would be whether democracy is just numbers in the ballot box and fundamental rights are something external that legally check democracy i.e. hold it accountable to law. or is democracy itself more than just the ballot box. i did read your article. it is very good. you do mention the danger of tyranny by the majority in it, but you did not say whether it can only ever have a legal remedy or other democratic or structural redress is also possible.

    i agree with you that at the individual level people can do little more than what you and others here have done. you wrote in your blog. i know another friend here who doesnt just write here but can be found organising and participating in larger more meaningful efforts too.

    what one hopes for is that the politics responsible for this mess is recognised and condemned. that it is somehow adressed in a more meaningful manner. once the politics is right, the controversy will be no more.

    the fact is that many muslims sing this song. there is the very strong concept of mader-e-watan even in urdu. there isn’t the concept of mother as goddess in islam, but there is even in urdu the idea that the path to paradise lies under the mother’s feet. nothing less than controversial politics, to say the least, could make such commonly held beliefs and age-old concept controversial.

  29. lal

    I understand that we all stand united against fatwas or any attempts by any right wing organisations imposing upon us what they think is right….
    Correct me if i am wrong…but is there any fatwa impresing upon our muslim brothern that they should compulsarly learn till,say 10 th standard….i m sure that once u read thru khuran(i confess my ignorance) one can come up with enough arguments in favour of knowledge and education ….is there such a fatwa and our sensationalist media is not projecting that….
    Frankly 2 me as a person “vande matharam” or “ma thujhe salam” evokes the same national fervour in its every intensity…if somebody finds one to be communal and the other secular it is beyond my comprehension to grasp,but i leave it to their choice….
    @ylh
    about calling bankimchandra and vandemataram fundemenatalist rather than nationalist…some thing which i ve often argued with u is to have a bit of consideration about space and time…..it is unfair to critiscise people of the past with the value systems we have at present….i leave it to u…
    @ vajra
    i agree to u in toto…both are ridiculous…
    @bc
    could u explain it a bit more in detail,please…

  30. Tathagata Mukherjee

    There exists one paragraph prior to the ones AG Noornai quoted from the Anandamath. That probably is the MOST IMPORTANT polemic in defining nationalism, its goal and remain central till today.

    To quote Patha Chatterjee (“Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World”):

    The superiority of the West was in its materiality of its culture. The West has achieved progress, prosperity and freedom because it has placed Reason at the heart of its culture. The distinctive culture of the West was its science, its technoligy and its love of progress. But culture did not cinsist inly of the material aspect if life. There was the spiritual aspect too, and here the European Enlightenment had little to contribute. In the spiritual aspect of the culture, the East was superior and hence, undominated.

    That para from the anadamath roughly reads like this (my loose translation):
    ————–
    Satyananda (crying)- Mother, forgive me, I could not protect you from foreign British rule. Better, if I were to die today.

    The Doctor- the real Santana Dharma/Hinduism has died. It consists of Gyana/knowlege -its of two types, material and spiritual. British have great material knowledge. You have to learn all material knowledge and only then you can empower your spiritual. Then there will be no problem for the rise of Hinduism and its spread. British will rule till Hindus are not sufficiently powerful in material knowdge.
    —————–

    This division of material aspect while protecting inner spiritual core was seminal achievement of Bankim. Its hard to find even a single leader of some eminence who did not agree with it then, or even today. Whether its Swami Vivekanand to Tilak to Gandhi……

    We can call this process sanskritization or whetever. That’s the reason why with more and more literacy, education, urbanization, nationalism has grown over the years.

    Also, it explains rise of BJP particularly in urban/semi urban areas.

  31. Vajra

    @Tathagata Mukherjee

    Please do not bring confusion into these discussions. Sanskritisation is a clearly-defined term in anthropology and has nothing to do with what you have described and attributed to Bankimchandra.

    The BJP are fascists in the classical political definition, and their rise is in no way to be attributed to the diffuse process that you have described.

    Please do not start your right-wing Hindu nonsense once again. We have had enough unpleasantness and bad temper on your entry last time; it will be most obliging if you kindly do not start your propaganda warfare once again.

  32. Bloody Civilian

    @lal

    i’ll explain with a few more questions, ie breaking down my original questions into shorter ones.. if you don’t mind. you’ve stated that you’re opposed to both the rss and the juh. my questions were:

    1. is there any relationship between bjp and rss?

    2. how strong is this relationship?

    3. if a relationship exists, do the bjp voters at all mind the existence of this relationship?

    4. or is it that they do not mind it enough to stop them voting for bjp?

    5. if they don’t mind it enough, is it because the relationship is sufficiently weak?

    6. is there a political relationship between juh and congress?

    7. is it similar to the one between bjp and rss?

    8. if there is a political relationship between juh and congress, would juh still be politically relevant even to the muslims without this relationship?

    these are my basic questions. hopefully, the act of breaking them into 8 from 2 or 3, and ignoring the less important of my questions amounts to an explanation/clarification.
    is there a relationship

  33. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Lal>>How different is a fatwa against vande mataram different from the vandalism against hussain paintings by rss?
    —————–

    vande mataram is THE national song, inspired nationalism (still does greatly), played crucial role in freedom struggle. 10s of 1000s of people took british bullet, batton, went to jail singing this song. DO YOU MEAN TO SAY ALL THOSE WERE ANTI-MUSLIM? Even Muslims sung it all over india – may be there was some opposition in UP/Bihar. I am from rural bengal and we have seen how hindus and muslims ALL congress supporters chant vande-mataram in their meeting, procession. Even today.

    The issue was settled in 1937 when first two stranza was chosen by a 3 member committee that included tagore and azad.

    Why raise the issue now? Why fatwa now?

    How can you compare such song with Hussian’s paitings that outraged feelings of average Hindus unless its devil’s mind?

    Show me one party that has supported those drawings of Hussian (probably CPIM does support it in Delhi, but it will never dare to make it a issue in bengal as saraswati invoked deep respect there).

    I support Hussian’s free expression as freedom of speech. But why he does not paint his parents, or for that matter islamic icons in such way (there were traditions of paintings of muhamad at some point in time).

    Why one rule for Rushdie/Taslima, another for Hussian?

    Fact remains- Hussian has a bigoted mindset and he will never dare to do to muslims what he did for the hindus. Because he fears for his life.

    This double standard in dealing with issues of hindus and muslims is the root cause of rise of aggressive BJP.

  34. Tathagata Mukherjee

    vajra>>Sanskritisation is a clearly-defined term in anthropology and has nothing to do with what you have described and attributed to Bankimchandra.
    —————

    The project Bankimchandra explained in the last para of the anadamath, i.e., with the rise of material cultural, there will be rise in spiritual consciousness is same to sanskrization of mn srinivas.

    Sanskritization is not just the adoption of new customs and habits, but also includes exposure to new ideas and values appearing in Sanskrit literature, the inner spirirual.

    Have you visited any mass programme Viswa-Bharati (Shantiniketan) does with tribal community? Look at the customs they follow- you will see its effects. Or analyzed why a tribal babulal marandi/madhu koda visits vaishno devi temple/sacrifice goats to a hindu temple?

    Ultimately, max weber won over karl marx!

    Look at things happening closely and you will see its effect everytime. Everywhere.

  35. Tathagata Mukherjee

    * material cultural –> material culture

  36. Tathagata Mukherjee

    In my opinion two things happened because of the Deobandi fatwas-

    1) Harish Khare, PM Sing’s media advisor stated this before indian muslims dot info in an interview last year -“the truth is that since last few decades the people who spoke on the behalf of the (muslim) community have either been clergy or goons”

    These fatwas have diluted position of whatever small middle class muslim leadership we had and gave central place to deobandis who themselves are minority amongst muslims in India as well as most regressive.

    The fatwas on other 24 issues are EQUALLY, or even more dangerous for a pluralistic, democratic, modern, secular country.

    2) Vande-Mataram is a potent weapon of nationalism, extremely powerful symbol. even today (look at run away success rahman’s rendering had). Congress’s half hearted position that did not condemn the fatwa has handed over this weapon to sanghis.

    Its worse kind of tactics for congress, as it has always been traditionally a congress song. Now its disowning and given this to opponents.

    Sanghis will not complain.

  37. PMA

    Tathagata Mukherjee (November 8, 2009 at 1:03 am):

    “…….why [Maqbool Fida Hussain] does not paint……..Islamic icons in such way……Why one rule for Rushdie/Taslima, another for Hussain Fact remains- Hussain has a bigoted mindset and he will never dare to do to Muslims what he did for the Hindus. Because he fears for his life.”

    Actually he does. MF Hussain has a very Hinduanised style. He iconology includes all religions of India. He depicts Buddha, Mother Teresa-Catholic symbols, all kinds of Hindu gods, and religious symbols popular among Indian Muslims such as ‘hand’ and ‘horse’. His calligraphy (verses from Qur’an) could be seen as offensive by some conservative Muslims. His one calligraphic painting of Muslim ‘Kalma’ shows second part of the statement (relating to Prophet Mohammad) something that looks like a tree or a dancing girl. His one painting regarding Hussain, the martyred grandson of Prophet Mohammad, shows other than ‘hand’ and ‘horse’ of Hussain, the name of Hussain as a mirror image. He shows one young women fixing her hair scantly clad in Mother Teresa’s familiar blue and white colors. In my opinion instead of threatening the life of this great painter, the Hindu fanatics of India should leave him alone. The old man means no harm to anyone.

  38. Bloody Civilian

    @TM

    The issue was settled in 1937 when first two stranza was chosen by a 3 member committee that included tagore and azad

    it was a congress committee. i guess you mention azad as the representative of muslims. what was the congress share of the muslim vote in 1937??

    p.s. why do you think a LOUDER argument is a better argument? in the interest of ‘removing the barbs’, would you go easy on the CAPS!

  39. Vajra

    @PMA

    With respect, you are speaking to stone. Some people come by with fixed ideas, and no amount of argument or logical persuasion will change their minds.

    The idea is, of course, not to change their minds per se, but to enter into rational discourse. But these are not there to enter into rational discourse, but to bang on about their pet notions and their warped world-views even if it involves twisting every logical precept or reference to the original text of any stuff that they quote.

    For what it’s worth, I have concluded that it is futile to try and address anything to these worthies. If the forum insists on retaining their bilge, then for my part, I prefer to sit it out until the all-clear is sounded and the noticeable freshening of the air indicates that it is safe to come out again.

  40. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Vajra>>That is also the class and community which said, “Janani janmabhumischa swargadopi gorioshi”; the Sanskritist reading this will be in whoops of laughter by now at the Bengali twist I have give the words, but it means,”My mother and my motherland are greater than Heaven.”

    I am afraid we have to live with the fact that the way one community saw patriotism and the land and love for the motherland simply flew in the face of the most cherished beliefs of the other community.

    BC>>it was a congress committee. i guess you mention azad as the representative of muslims. what was the congress share of the muslim vote in 1937??
    —————————
    Azad was tallest muslim representative of Muslims in Congress. No? Why you expect Congress needed Jinnah’s approval for vande-mataram? Jinnahites were supposed to move to Pakistan, no?

    Don’t bring religion into everything.

    Did anybody ask Muslims to sing Vandemataram inside their mosque? No. If large section of people can derive inspirartion, unite by singing vande-mataram- what is your problem? Read Azad’s many commenteries- he also used many religous idiom to further anti-british struggle amongst muslims. Nobody objected to those.

    It was an extremely popular song, played heroric role in freedom struggle. Neither all those who used it or still get inspired use it for anti-muslim purpose. The problem is in your mind, not in the song, or the people.

    Another answer to this is what Pandit Pauluskar (who was to sing Vandemataram in Kakinada conference in 1923 where Maulana Mohamed Ali opposed singing of the song)- the Congress session was an open gathering and not a religious congregation; and since Maulana Mohamed Ali had not found the band that led his procession as “taboo in Islam”, he could not object to the singing of Vande Mataram. He then went on to sing Bankim’s composition which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi associated with “the purest national spirit”.

    Your opposition to vande-mataram comes from a particular strand of nehruvian secularism. But for that, you have to first condemn this fatwa culture and other 25 resolutions of deobandis. As far as nehruvian secularism- we all know its practically dead in India.

    Rest are all time pass. The real damage as I stated was done to image of indian muslim community by deobandis who themselves are minority amongst indian muslims.

  41. Tathagata Mukherjee

    PMA>>In my opinion instead of threatening the life of this great painter, the Hindu fanatics of India should leave him alone. The old man means no harm to anyone
    ———–

    Please don’t live in delusion that ONLY ‘Hindu fanatics’ feel hurt by his drawings. Many top grade painters like Ganesh Pyne, Ganesh Halui,Satish Gujral…..as well as aam-janta oppose the way some of his paintings were drawn. Fellow artist Satish Gujral has even gone on record to ask him whether he will be bold enough to treat icons of Islam in the same manner.

    Only those intellectuals who stood for free speech, artistics freedom can demand return of Hussian. There are very people who stood for Hussian, as well as Taslima/Rushdie. Ram Guha and Mahashweta Devi probably will qualify.

    Political party like CPIM who stood for Hussain in Delhi were first to ban taslima and throw her out of the state.

    Congress’s act of surrendering to threat violence on Rushdie/Shah Banu and u-turn are the original sin. If it stood firm, much of these things would not have happened.

    Yes, I support hussian’s return to country personally. But I doubt the situation was so bad he was forced to leave. He used the controversy to further his popularity. His new home in the middle east is not known to a place with greater freedom of expression, painting either.

  42. Vajra

    @PMA

    I told you so.

  43. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Vajra>>The idea is, of course, not to change their minds per se, but to enter into rational discourse. But these are not there to enter into rational discourse, but to bang on about their pet notions and their warped world-views even if it involves twisting every logical precept or reference to the original text of any stuff that they quote.
    ————–

    IBN Live had some 84-85% poll that went against Deobandis position that Vande-Mataram was anti-Islam.

    NDTV tried to shift the subject from Deoband’s 25 regressive issue to religious dogma, still had 70-75% poll that went against Deobandis.

    Not a single party in India supported Deobandis claim.

    And still, you continue to believe Vande-Mataram is anti-Muslim and accuse others as illogical !

    JNU is not India, neither AMU, or Jamia. Lets talk some senses here.

    Will it lead to some common good? I greatly doubt that.

  44. Luq

    @BC

    1. is there any relationship between bjp and rss?

    They are one and the same thing. RSS is the seed of the mango and BJP the peel.
    BJP is the just the political face/front/mask for the fascists.

    Replace the word german with hindu in “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party” and you end up with RSS.

    2. how strong is this relationship?

    RSS will still exist without the BJP not the other way round.

    3. if a relationship exists, do the bjp voters at all mind the existence of this relationship?

    Most of the people who vote for the BJP are illiterate in one sense or the other (formal education or otherwise). Most people dont even understand the fascist nature of the RSS. For ex: we have this TM fellow here, seems to be able to read and write but whats the use? He is just as illiterate. Education should give us the power to differentiate the wrong and the right.

    4. or is it that they do not mind it enough to stop them voting for bjp?

    The cancer has spread itself riding on religious chauvinism. Muslims are painted as demons just to cheat the hindus off their votes.

    5. if they don’t mind it enough, is it because the relationship is sufficiently weak?

    Its not weak – quite the opposite.

    6. is there a political relationship between juh and congress?
    7. is it similar to the one between bjp and rss?

    No, the congress can survive on its own. The juh has no hold on the muslims.

    8. if there is a political relationship between juh and congress, would juh still be politically relevant even to the muslims without this relationship?

    IMHO its not politically relevant even now. The hindus/muslims take their own individual political decisions. Inside a family the husband votes for a candidate and the wife often votes for the opponent. Its a free for all out there.

    Luq

  45. Hayyer

    TM:
    Spirituality, whatever it is, is not practiced exclusively in Hinduism. Muslims have their own tradition and so does European Christianity. If you meant that Hindus have an excess of mumbo jumbo I couldn’t agree with you more. Whatever has spirituality, howsoever defined, done anything for India. Unless you believe that all that IT development is a result, not of western logic but Indian spirits.
    So far the only benefits have been the various yoga teachers and the various guru types, who for some reason, all seek western pupils, take up residence in the materialist west than the spiritual east. If you can point out any benefits of this so called spiritualism please mention them and we can discuss them.
    You have not got Vajra’s point. The Hindu approach to nationhood, as expressed by the song is not shared by Muslims. Hindus are free to sing it. Muslims should not be required to.
    The Indian Constitution a document drafted by Hindus makes India a secular state. The Indian state makes two concessions only to Hindu sentiment. One is Bande Mataram and the other is the directive principle of the constitution to promote a ban on cow slaughter. Minor deviations from the norm. Eating cows is not compulsory for Muslims and they can have little grouse with that. The song is offensive however and they have every right to shun it.

    “Satyananda (crying)- Mother, forgive me, I could not protect you from foreign British rule. Better, if I were to die today.

    The Doctor- the real Santana Dharma/Hinduism has died. It consists of Gyana/knowlege -its of two types, material and spiritual. British have great material knowledge. You have to learn all material knowledge and only then you can empower your spiritual. Then there will be no problem for the rise of Hinduism and its spread. British will rule till Hindus are not sufficiently powerful in material knowdge.”
    —————–
    The intense religious emotionalism of Satyananda comes through and that is why it is a song for Hindus, not Indians, unless you conflate the two.

    Bankim Chandra has been called the greatest intellect produced by Hindus since Sankara (Nirad Chaudhuri). I am not equipped to comment on that but he certainly produced a fine emotionalism. The song came to him, I read, while travelling by train from Sealdah to Naihati as overwhelmed by the green beauty of the Bengal countryside.
    It is of-course typically Hindu to see the material world as an extension of the spiritual, and it is a short step thereon to conjure up a dedicated god or goddess and start dialogue.
    These are aspects of Indian spirituality.Did not Ramakrishan reportedly offer sweets to a vision of the goddess at Belur when she appeared to him in his mystical state. That is somewhat like Satyananda above, and akin I dare say to heroes of Indian films of yore talking to portraits of dead parents.
    The Hindu political right is living off the (pseudo) intellectual capital of the late nineteenth century. As a Hindu it is impossible not to be touched by it but it is time to get over it.
    One of the reasons for the success of the west is that it disassociated religion from science, and particularly from the state. The west admires its past but is not stuck in it. They are superior not just materially but because they have taught themselves to think differently. They excel in organization. Look at the Japanese and Chinese who emulate them. We cant even get our traffic organized, immersed as we our in our spiritual thoughts. You would find China and Japan counter positioning the Shaolin temple or intensely observed cherry blossoms as an argument against western development. When Admiral Perry showed Japan up the Japanese rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They didn’t go into a meditative Zen trance.

  46. Hayyer

    Please read ‘not’ before ‘find’, fourth line from the bottom.

  47. Vajra

    @Hayyer

    How I wish I had written this superbly balanced piece. There is so little to be added to it, except by any Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy patients that happen along.

    Many thanks.

  48. Vajra

    @Hayyer

    The song came to him, I read, while travelling by train from Sealdah to Naihati as overwhelmed by the green beauty of the Bengal countryside.

    You reminded me of my perennial theme and its connection with our subject – unless one sees the Bengal countryside, with its lush, green fecundity, this poem will be a collection of mellifluous words strung together.

    Someone who has never read the book, someone who has no sympathy for communal-minded bigotry can still be moved by the poem.

    It is a pity that it has been contaminated in the popular mind by a doubtful association with bigots prior partition, and by subsequent adoption as a communal symbol after partition.

  49. Bloody Civilian

    Luq

    many thanks. the poor voters deserve better. they’re learning with every election. and will not be hoodwinked everytime. not forever.

    you’re right: there are two types of ignorant and two types of educated. the illiterate ignorant and literate ignorant, and, illiterate educated and literate (and) educated.

    a typical sign of the literate ignorant is that they can write but read with difficulty. speak but hear little more than their own voice. they can show much but see nothing.

  50. Bloody Civilian

    vajra

    there are many examples of similar symbols whose history is actually controversial. but with a cleaner politics and minds, the history becomes irrelevant. the contamination and therefore the pity shall not remain forever.

  51. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>that is why it is a song for Hindus, not Indians, unless you conflate the two.

    You are ignoring how popular the song was across all communities. Or even today. Or how a Muslim, Rahman, played role in its rebranding. Its non issue except to Deobandis and Islamists who pretend to be secularists. I can’t imagine even socalled nehruvian historians ever questioned pedigress of vande mataram.

    Azad also used many islamic imagery in his writings, speech during freedom struggle. Nobody complained.

    The role played by this song in freedom movement is unparallelled in world history.

    >>The Hindu political right is living off the (pseudo) intellectual capital of the late nineteenth century.

    Nation State, nationalism are 19th century concepts.

  52. Bloody Civilian

    TM

    you ignored the question i asked in my mail of nov 7, 4:25pm. and you’ve no answered the latest one either: how many muslim votes did the congress, boasting azad as a leader, get in 1937?

  53. Tathagata Mukherjee

    “bringing women into the mainstream will create social problems and issues including their security” reads deobandi resolution attended by Indian home minister !

    You folks can get into self delusion of bashing hindu right, but the issue here medieval fundamentalism, obscurantism of mullahs.

  54. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>how many muslim votes did the congress, boasting azad as a leader, get in 1937?

    I think when a hindu right raises this question, he is given all sorts of funda how limited number of muslims were able to cast vote etc etc..

    We are often told, Jamat E Ulema Hind supported Congress, opposed Partition ! But in 1946 election that created Pakistan, Congress won not a single seat marked for muslims in present day geographic india!

    VM was battle cry of Congress, now National Song of Indian state.

    Show me there was any greater leader than Azad from Muslims in Congress!

  55. Tathagata Mukherjee

    And why only national song, host of other national symbols have reference to different dharmic traditions.

    National anthem too is filled Hindu ethos- can anybody deny that?

    National symbol whether dharma chakra, or Satyameva Jayate. National flower has deep civilizational values.

    Hardly a national institution can be found whose motto is not taken from dharmic traditions starting with Lok Sabha, or UPSC or for that matter even University of Kashmir.

    ISRO scientists visit temples with replica of Rockets prior to its launch regularly. Govt programmes start with religious rituals, chanting. Even Communists start any govt program by lighting lamps.

    The tika on the forehead of Gandhi-Nehru family is increasing with each passing decades!

  56. luq

    >learning with every election. and will not be
    >hoodwinked everytime. not forever.

    When an educated chap (not in the true sense of the word) like TM can repeatedly make the mistake of parroting from the RSS propaganda, (while completely ignoring his country’s constitution), expecting a large mass of people not to be hoodwinked most of the time, is a big ask.

    But all is not lost……..
    Its quite amazing that the BJP (or RSS) is losing votes inspite of every effort on their part to brainwash people. It only means that the average voter is clever.

    >you’re right: there are two types of ignorant and
    >two types of educated. the illiterate ignorant and
    >literate ignorant, and, illiterate educated and
    >literate (and) educated.

    The one category that never ceases to amaze – is the illiterate educated. In a southern state like kerala you can come across both the illiterate educated and the literate educated. The chaps are very politically aware. Hoodwinking them simply wont work. The next obvious question is what is the BJP strength in this state?

    Luq

  57. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Above all, what about the father of the nation who said, there is no politics without religion?

    I have no dobut average Indian muslims respect vande mataram like rest of us. deobandis are where they always have been- seventh century.

    Issue really is, how congress, psuedo secular media refused to condemn it and expose it medieval trends which is against nationalism, anti-women, religious fundamentalism.

    Forget Hindus, will Deobandi position do any good to the Muslims in India?

    * The size of the tika on the forehead of Gandhi-Nehru family is increasing with each passing decades!

  58. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >learning with every election. and will not be hoodwinked everytime. not forever.

    Election results does not reflect Deoband’s position on VM.

    Or Ram Temple. What’s the difference between Congress and BJP’s position on Ayodhya by the way? Has Congress ever opposed temple there? Has Congress ever stated, we will rebuild mosque, or build temple and mosque side by side?

    BJP’s core issues (ayodhya, ucc, art 371) have large scale support but it may NOT be sufficient to win election always because minorities vote enblock and average hindu are swayed by other considerations like caste.

    That does not make them unimportant. 2 of these 3 core issues are secular as well.

    Bigger picture is- what is the net result of these type of appeasement politics of congress? Is it good for democracy, good for Muslims, good for the society, social tolerance?

    Answer is a resounding no. Look at decline and plight of muslims in India, mostly under congress rule. The seperatism is the cause of problem, and instead of addressing it, more sops are given to muslim seperatism.

  59. Tathagata Mukherjee

    The greatest fun is how AG Noorani terms Vande-Mataram as communal, but isn’t he the same person whose views on Amarnath Issue, Kashmir is blatant Muslim majoritarianism ?

    Let Art 371 be applied to all states.

    And let all states enact same laws that does not allow property rights to Kashmiris.

  60. D_a_n

    I’m begining to think that withdrawing any Muslim opposition to the Ram Mandir being built in Ayodhya would indeed be a small price to pay…

    …..If only to shut up the interminable, tiresome and tedious windbag that is Tathagata Mukherjee…

  61. Vajra

    @D_a_n

    You have a hope. What we are faced with is the original perpetual (mouth) motion machine. Read Luq and Bloody Civilian about categories that matter in this context:

    >you’re right: there are two types of ignorant and
    >two types of educated. the illiterate ignorant and
    >literate ignorant, and, illiterate educated and
    >literate (and) educated.

    The only way to stay sane in the face of this unending drone (pun intended) is to treat this as some kind of laboratory experiment: we are the pieces of cheese!

  62. Vajra

    @D_a_n

    This is why, in India, when a Bong of the type discursus horribilis clears his throat and embarks upon speech, strong men blench, and get up and walk determinedly away (women and children, being less able to withstand the enormous wind-speeds, tend to stampede). When you get to Calcutta eventually, I’ll show you the type from a safe vantage point: they can last eight to twelve hours on a single cup of tea, typically saying the exact same thing over and over again. There are memory size restrictions which prevent them from loading more than one idea at a time without using paging.

    In some cities of Europe, there are men who paint themselves and dress up, and pose as statues, and can hold their poses for hours on end. Consider that we are now at the mercy of the vocal equivalent.

    Are you sure you are safe in Dubai?

  63. yasserlatifhamdani

    ” he is given all sorts of funda how limited number of muslims were able to cast vote etc etc”

    Only as many proportionally as Hindus and others were able to cast for the Congress… if anyone gives you this answer… well then they ought to also question the representative status of Congress as well.

  64. Hayyer

    “Show me there was any greater leader than Azad from Muslims in Congress!”

    There was till he quit in disgust. Even you can solve that one.

    “You folks can get into self delusion of bashing hindu right, but the issue here medieval fundamentalism, obscurantism of mullahs.”
    No, the issue was entirely different.

    One could try to put you right on every one of your rat a tat comments, but I doubt it would affect your conditioned responses. If you were a Deobandi in Pakistan you would be suitable material for recruitment to the suicide squad.

  65. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>learning with every election. and will not be hoodwinked everytime. not forever

    Politics has become winning at any cost. No wonder, today india is now home to world’s largest poor, hungry, illiterates and so on. Congress ruled most of these years.

    Is this politics which is now reduced to votebank.

    What’s harm in sayiny- let there be education for ALL, food for ALL, job for ALL?

    look at states of up, bihar, bengal, kerala, assam where majority of muslims live. If you exclude gulf’s economic contribution to kerala, situation of these states are like gutter and situation of muslims at the bottom. (except for a brief period in UP/bihar, bjp never ruled these states)

    and still, you folks have time and energy to question vande mataram/bankim’s anti-muslim issues and bash bjp.

    when electricity goes to a village, or new road connects areas, or water flows the canal- it goes to muslims as well as hindus. but you are not happy.

    carry on with your seperatist, anti-national agenda. Congress will scare you and get your votes- nothing else will happen.

    Ultimately, muslims who are part of the society will have to come to terms with larger society for peace and prosperity.

    one sided hostility, medieval agenda can only fuel the other.

  66. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Only as many proportionally as Hindus and others were able to cast for the Congress… if anyone gives you this answer… well then they ought to also question the representative status of Congress as well.

    ———

    Tell me how many seats Congress got from those marked for muslims in 1936 and 1946 elections from present geographic india?

    It flies in the face of the claim that Muslims (from india) supported Congress and opposed partition.

    Fact remains, the original Pakistanis (those from present day geographic pakistan) were last to demand pakistan. It was a demand by muslims from north india and most of whom remained in india.

    Its THAT strand that is now questioning vandemataram. Plain and simple.

  67. Luq

    >>that is why it is a song for Hindus, not
    >>Indians, unless you conflate the two.

    >You are ignoring how popular the song was
    >across all communities. Or even today.

    This is the very problem with these fascists. A lie is sold as fact.

    It is/was (also) mainly popular among the mobs and – their leaders who butcher their fellow countrymen (christian and muslim and sikh and so on…) and women and children simply because they follow a different faith (different from their own).

    >Or how a
    >Muslim, Rahman, played role in its rebranding.

    Classic example of twisting facts.

    Rahman was Dileep Kumar to begin with, but thats besides the point. Rahman made that song for commercial reasons. Throwing in exactly *two* words only “vande” and “mataram” doesn’t make him vande mataram lover – its good commercial sense . The lyrics are right here. So, TM can not twist facts further.

    There is no connection between vande mataram and this Maa tujhe salaam ….song

    Hindi Lyrics:

    Yahan vahan saara jahan dekh liya
    Ab tak bhi tere jaisa koi nahin
    Main assi nahin, sau din duniya ghooma hai
    Naahi kaahe tere jaisa koi nahin
    Main gaya jahan bhi, bas teri yaad thi
    Jo mere saath thi mujhko tadpaati rulaati
    Sab se pyaari teri soorat
    Pyaar hai bas tera, pyaar hi
    Maa tujhe salaam, maa tujhe salaam
    Amma tujhe salaam
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Janam janam tera hoon deewana main
    Jhoomoon naachoon gaaoon tere pyaar ka taraana
    Main jeena nahin soch nahin duniya ki daulat nahin
    Bas lootunga tere pyaar ka khazaana
    Ek nazar jab teri hoti hai pyaar ki
    Duniya tab to meri chamke damke maheke re
    Tera chehra sooraj jaisa chaand si thand hai pyaar mein
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Tere paas hi main aa raha hoon
    Apni baahein khol de
    Zor se mujhko gale laga le
    Mujhko phir voh pyaar de
    Tu hi zindagi hai, tu hi meri mohabbat hai
    Tere hi pairon mein jannat hai
    Tu hi dil, tu jaan, amma
    Maa tujhe salaam, maa tujhe salaam
    Amma tujhe salaam, maa tujhe salaam
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram
    Vande maataram, vande maataram

    >Its non issue except to Deobandis and Islamists
    >who pretend to be secularists. I can’t imagine

    When the RSS does it, its an issue worth national importance….no?

    >The role played by this song in freedom
    >movement is unparallelled in world history.

    Surely the germans and the italians had even more rousing songs.

    >nationalism are 19th century concepts.

    Are you implying that your BJP/RSS belong to that era? For once you are right.

    Luq.

  68. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>I’m begining to think that withdrawing any Muslim opposition to the Ram Mandir being built in Ayodhya would indeed be a small price to pay…

    ———

    The same politics of opposition prior to deolition days is being played today and it can perpetuate the division of society. In the short term, Congress might gain from muslim vote, but society at large and particularly the muslims will be looser as those who are vulnerable always pays more.

    It helps sanghis to clutch to that issue.

    Visit Kashi and Mathura’s mosque and watch peoples reaction to those mosques to understand what it does to peoples psyche and affects society.

    There was a good article in the hindustan times few years back written by a muslim on that. if you have time and energy, you can google it.

  69. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Rahman was Dileep Kumar to begin with

    lo ! May be you already supporting other 24 agendas of deoband and don;t like movie, songs of rahman!

    Let me ask you this- are you are indian?

    If yes, arrange a meeting of 1 million muslims each in each state and oppose vandemataram if you have guts. WILL YOU? Just do it.

    Have guts? Why blabbering in the net- why not dobandis and muslims show what you say.

    If you r not an indian, I refuse to argue with you on our national song.

  70. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Its THAT strand that is now questioning vandemataram. Plain and simple.”

    My dear friend, I know you are not very logical or enlightened…. but Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind that is now passing fatwas was allied with the Congress pre-1947. So it can’t possibly be the same strain.

    Perhaps you should understand that Hindu communal songs like Vande Mataram brings out the same feeling in all Muslims … be they liberals or conservatives, secularists or Islamists, Pakistanis or Indians.

  71. Vajra

    @luq

    Useful that, pointing out that Rahman’s version had nothing to do with the original. Also that it was a straight commercial decision, which nobody can blame him from making, considering the relative innocence of that set of lyrics that he worked with.

    Not that such minor matters as facts will deflect our visiting gasbag. He obviously takes his motto from sixteenth century England: Deus effluvit, et dissipati sunt . Effluvit seems to be his style of logic, anyway.

  72. Luq

    www. countercurrents. org/ comm-sikand150906. htm

    Try with removing extra spaces.

    Luq

  73. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >> but Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind that is now passing fatwas was allied with the Congress pre-1947. So it can’t possibly be the same strain.

    then let congres explain jamat’s 25 resolutions that are against secularism, against women, indian constitution, tolerance.

  74. Vajra

    @Hayyer

    One thinks wistfully of the need, the urgent and pressing need, for the BJP to have a suicide squad; can it not be brought to their attention that this is a lamentable lacuna in their order of battle?

    I hope that there will be a unanimous nomination of the first members from members of PTH.

  75. Luq

    some excerpts from that writeup…

    The Vande Mataram is part of a novel, the Anandmath, which reeks of anti-Muslim hatred and is the rallying cry of Brahminical Hinduism that is premised on an unrelenting hatred of Muslims. The was the novel written by Bankim Chandra Chatterji, a late nineteenth century Bengali Brahmin, a major cult figure in Hindu ‘nationalist’ circles.

    The crux of the novel is an ardent appeal to Hindus to rally against and slaughter Muslims and drive them out of India. The Vande Mataram, sung as a war-cry to rouse Hindu mobs against Muslims, exhorts Hindus to do all this for the sake of the Mother-India deified as the Brahminical goddess Kali or Durga. Curiously enough for a song that is projected by its advocates as the emblem of Indian nationalism, the novel ends with the hero welcoming the British take-over of India. ‘Now the British have arrived’, the hero exclaims with ill-concealed glee, ‘and our wealth and lives will be safe’. ‘The subjects [Hindus] would be happy in the English kingdom’, he goes on,………..

    Now that the Muslims have been killed and driven out and their place has been taken by the British, the hero concludes, the Hindus should accept the British as their ‘ally’.

    Hardly the stuff that one would expect from a song that is bandied about as the herald of Indian nationalism and anti-imperialism. Even more curious in this regard is the fact, which the ‘mainstream’ media probably has deliberately sought to conceal, that Bankim Chandra Chatterji was hardly the ardent ‘nationalist’ that he is made out to be. In 1858 he was appointed to the post of Deputy Magistrate by the British, the first Indian to enjoy that dubious distinction in the immediate aftermath of the failed Indian Revolt of 1857. When he retired from that post he was conferred with the titles of Rai Bahadur and Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire by the British, an ‘honour’ reserved, of course, only for pro-British toadies.

    From the very start, when Brahminical revivalists in the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha began insisting that the Vande Mataram must be made India’s national song, Muslims and other non-Hindu communities angrily protested. There was no reason, they argued, why non-Hindus should be forced to worship a Hindu deity, even if in the form of ‘Mother India’, suggesting that the equation of Indian nationalism with Brahminical Hinduism was aimed at excluding non-Hindus from the definition of the ‘national mainstream’. The Muslim argument, which has been repeated ad nauseum and highlighted in the Urdu press in the course of the recent controversy, is that the novel of which the song forms a part is clearly anti-Muslim and, furthermore, the Vande Mataram’s appeal to prostrate before to and worship the Mother, in the form of Durga incarnated in the guise of India, is forbidden in Islam, a fair enough point that any non-Hindu would make.

    However, in the heat and din of the recent controversy, the ‘mainstream’ Indian media, some notable exceptions aside, shamelessly shed all pretensions of ‘secularism’ and made it out to be that by refusing to sing the song Muslims were demonstrating that they had no love for India and that they were ‘anti-national’. The point of how a mere song could be the test of Indian nationalism, the issue of the political context of the song, the clearly anti-Muslim thrust of the Anandmath and Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s own collaboration with the British, were all carefully glossed over. Nor did the ‘mainstream’ media raise the obvious point that forcible extraction of demonstrations of ‘patriotism’ by Muslims unwilling to sing the song were pointless and completely farcical. And the fact that the mounting insecurity and threats to their life, property and identity that many Indian Muslims face today at the hands of the votaries of the Vande Mataram, a situation that is hardly conducive to promote passionate demonstration of love for the country, was completely lost on the ‘mainstream’ media, which was awash with stories of Muslims singing or not singing the song.

    It is not that both the Congress, votary of ‘soft’ Hindutva, the hardcore Hindutva lobby and the ‘mainstream’ media were unaware of the fact that appealing to or forcing all Indian school-going children, including Muslims, to sing the song would be stiffly opposed by most Muslims, for there has been a long history of Muslim opposition to this. In fact, it appears that it was hardly the intention of the ardent advocates of the song to promote patriotism by advising that all school-children sing it. Rather, it seems obvious that the brouhaha about the song was simply yet another stick for Hindutva fascists to beat Muslims with, to force them to accept their diktats and to terrorise them with threats of being expelled from India simply because of their refusal to sing a song that even most Hindus do not know and which fewer Hindus know the meaning of, being in highly Sanskritised Bengali. But this, of course, was a point that few ‘mainstream’ newspapers refused to point out, thus clearly revealing their underlying anti-Muslim bias and the fact that their perception of Indian nationalism is firmly within the framework of Brahminical Hinduism.

    By Yoginder Sikand
    15 September, 2006

  76. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagutha,

    “let congres explain jamat’s 25 resolutions that are against secularism, against women, indian constitution, tolerance.”

    Well that is what we’ve been pointing out to Congress. Congress drove the secular Muslims out …

    But … that said.. Congress is still better than alternative that comprises people like you.

  77. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >> to defend a certain vision of Indian nationalism that is framed in ‘upper’ caste Brahminical Hindu terms, in which Muslims, Dalits and other non-‘upper’ caste Hindu communities have little or no space for their identities, aspirations and interests
    ————–

    Last time I checked, Intelligence Bureau reported Islamists and ISI networking with Dalits and Naxalites groups to forment trouble !

    Sikand expects hindus to remain divided along caste while creating pan indian muslim ideantity! All in the name of secularism !

    Anyway, as I stated- not a single party supports vm as anti-muslim. Neither you guys have guts to mobilize muslims. media is exposed as they are not raising issues with other 24 fatwas.

    sikand works for whoever pays him. look at the places he works!

  78. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Tagutha

    What else to expect other than personal abuse from the folks who supports jinnah was secular, unhappy with indian secularism, opposes ayodhya, supports shah banu/rushdie/taslima bad and now refuse to condemn 7th century medievalism……!

    But don;t have guts to rally muslims openly on the streets!

    Islamists are now a global issue and unfortunately we have no cure.

    You have to support congress for the crumbs !

    If you rally in the heartland, bjp will sweep UP and rule india.

  79. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagutha,

    I for one think Congress- which I hate only slightly less than I hate people like you- exposed its hypocrisy when it overturned the Shah Bano issue… and I have never called any writer bad for expressing their point of view…especially when they’ve been persecuted by religious clerics.

    As for medievalism, I think everyone knows my track record on this website. And while I condemn Islamic fundamentalism consistently and constantly despite grave danger to myself ….what you support makes medievalism look progressive.

    And I don’t need to support Congress… because thanks to Jinnah, I have been liberated from the various shades of Hindu chauvinism and now the only thing that remains is to liberate ourselves from the Mullah variety which in any event is an enemy of my homeland.

  80. Vajra

    @YLH

    Now the gas-bag has a direct line to the IB! Wow. The IB have gone over to disseminating their information as pay-per-view. Boy, are we in deep financial trouble!

  81. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>And I don’t need to support Congress… because thanks to Jinnah, I have been liberated from the various shades of Hindu chauvinism and now the only thing that remains is to liberate ourselves from the Mullah variety which in any event is an enemy of my homeland.

    ——–
    And the best way to liberate from mullahs is to support 25 edicts of deobandis !!

    As for your brothers in india, the hostility to the majority has resulted in record low in number of muslim MPs, particularly from northern/ central/western india. even congress cannot put up a muslim as people will not vote for a muslim.

    perpetuating the hostility can only feed the hindu rightwing.

  82. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Now the gas-bag has a direct line to the IB! Wow. The IB have gone over to disseminating their information as pay-per-view

    ———

    there have been many reports on that from IB as reported in the media lately. don’t become a laughing stock just because you cannot deny the fact.

  83. Hayyer

    As an unabashed Hindu chauvinist, what are you trying to prove on this site. That you are an unabashed Hindu chauvinist?-Everyone knows that.
    The facts are not in doubt. Muslims do not want to sing Bande Mataram. It is an anti-Muslim song. What are you arguing about?

  84. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Muslims do not want to sing Bande Mataram. It is an anti-Muslim song
    ———

    Why no party supports these deobandi claim? Why not muslims rally in millions in each state against vm? why muslim leaders are saying opposite things?

    what does not go to your head is, positions like these from deobandis are deeply offensive to the majority of india. neither its true, rather it shows the 7th century mindset.

    if anything, muslim middle class voice has once again been replaced by mullahs.

  85. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>As an unabashed Hindu chauvinist

    Nope! I am a secular democrat. What’s record of Pakistan or for that matter any muslim majority country in respecting equality, freedom on minority?

    tell me, who is going to listen to your guys lecture? except some fringe websites, blogger like sikand.

    but situation will not change on the ground. there was a time when pakistan movement was nurtured by muslims of north india. today, even though their numbers are roughly same (in states like punjab, haryana though it has reduced greatly), NOT EVEN A SINGLE MUSLIM PARTY CAN BE FORMED.

    And you know why. That’s why there is much rush from muslims and media to divert attention from deobandi fatwas.

  86. Bloody Civilian

    Above all, what about the father of the nation who said, there is no politics without religion?

    and he called the RSS a fascist outfit. or do you wanna pick and choose, as you like?

  87. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagutha,

    I am not interested in Deobandis in the least bit. Deobandi Islam is a straitjacket…. when compared to flowing tunic of Barelvi Islam that most Sunnis in Pakistan follow…. and then there is the Shia Islam and Pakistan’s status as the second largest Shia country in the world after Iran… and the Ismailis and Bohras … Pakistan’s pluralist Islamic tradition cannot be confined in the Deobandi straitjacket…

    You are an extremely confused and idiotic person who keeps changing the goal posts in the argument. Well I am about to change goal posts for you. Don’t POST anymore. And I have gotten requests from your own compatriots to take you off. So I am going to do that. Don’t bother posting after this.

  88. AZW

    While the discussion here has unfortunately been diverted by Tagatha again along Hindu Nationalism lines, I am never ceased to be amazed at the crudeness of views that puts the blind nationalists and blinds religionists in the same league.

    It is the single minded focus on their hatred towards a particular class, or their devotion towards their own creed that makes them oblivious to the nuances that govern our societies on a daily basis.

    Thanks to this thread I have read quite a lot about the origins of Vande Mataram, its author, and the anti Muslim fictional background. Muslims’ hesitance to sing this song is understandable. Secularism is not about forcing nationalistic ideals down the throats of its subjects. A song with that much controversial background need never be made a requisite reading/singing in public schools, no matter how melodious or beautiful it may sound.

    Yet I have seen Mukherjee invoking everything under the Indian sun to drive home the point that VM controversy need not to be looked at its own merits, but somehow anyone who has ever opposed it had his or her patriotism suspect one way or another.

    I don’t think my few lines here will make a small dent here TM; I have read you for past the few months and have been disappointed in you again and again. As you invoke some interesting references here and there to support your stance, somehow you block yourself out of the opposing point of view, never appreciate what many Indians and Pakistanis try to reason with their own references, and start singing your own Hindu nationalist songs again and again. Then you quickly start punching below the belt as the heat builds up, leave PTH, and come back invariably a few weeks later.

    I was stuck by the rambling disjointedness by your arguments. You remind me of Qazi Hussein Ahmed (the ex-JI Chief in Pakistan), about whom Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy said something like this in a recent discussion: “You Sir (Mr. Qazi Hussein Ahmed) took me to a trip halfway across the world, invoking grievances across decades and across different countries, to justify your local complaints”.

    Enough said; at the end, there is a lot more in common in the Hindu Nationalists and the Islamist fanatics that regularly grace this forum. Maybe their inherent similarities are the curse of our present world around us.

  89. Hayyer

    “Why no party supports these deobandi claim? Why not muslims rally in millions in each state against vm? why muslim leaders are saying opposite things?”
    Because Muslims in India dont want another 2002 Gujrat pogram.

    “what does not go to your head is, positions like these from deobandis are deeply offensive to the majority of india. neither its true, rather it shows the 7th century mindset.”
    What is deeply offensive to your type is the very existence of Muslims in India.

    “Nope! I am a secular democrat”
    You mean pseudo secular democrat, don’t you.

    “tell me, who is going to listen to your guys lecture? except some fringe websites, blogger like sikand.”
    You are a prime target, if only you would listen.

  90. AZW

    Yasser:

    May I request that TM not be banned. May I also ask that his rambling confusedness be treated with the proper response that it deserves: be completely ignored, not be answered. Decades of blind nationalism will not be cured, ever, by PTH, or anywhere else. However ignoring his ramblings may let him know the exact place his point of view deservedly deserves.

    Adnann

  91. Luq

    Adnann sahib, the only good troll is a banned troll.

    Luq

  92. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>>> and the Ismailis and Bohras

    Are Islamilis treated as muslims in Pak. We know how the word “Muslim” erased from the grave of Dr Salam!

    In India too, deobandis started flexing muscle and forced cancellation of birth centenary of Islamili leader few months back (who else but Congress CM of andhra surrendered to MIM, the Ex Razakars of hyd) which is against Indian constitution. Only in BJP ruled states of Karnataka, Gujarat, MP …Ismailis could celebrate the freedom granted by indian constitution !

    Bohras? Last time I checked, their leader met and blessed Narendra Modi of Gujarat! It happend sometime within last 1-2 months.

  93. AZW

    TM Quote: “Hindu nationalists are not blowing them up, or killing people in Europe, America like Islamists.

    If anything, your comment shows why Pakistan as a state will always remain vulnerable to Islamism and equivalence.”

    TM, it is quite sad that you completely missed my drift. That you would miss the similarity was probably not unexpected, but still is quite a sad commentary here.

    Have a good day.

  94. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>>he (Gandhi) called the RSS a fascist outfit

    Where exactly Gandhi stated so? He visited RSS office few times and praised the work amongst hindus, specially without caste prejudice.

    Secondly, why we need to hear abt gandhi from pakistanis , a state that was created in opposition to gandhi?

    isn’t gandhi’s ‘ram rajya’ was one of the reasons why jinnah rallied muslims for a seperate state?

  95. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ismailis are very much considered Muslims and are very strong in Pakistani politics, business and economy.

    Pakistan founding father was a Khoja Ismaili by birth and Aga Khan IV is the biggest benefactor of Pakistan’s elite (his grandfather mind you was the founding president of the Muslim League)… and almost every major businessman in Pakistan, with a few exception, is an Ismaili. And now Pakistan has a large Ismaili province in the making as well… i.e. Gilgit Biltistan.

  96. Bloody Civilian

    why we need to hear abt gandhi from pakistanis

    because of where you are – pak tea house. did you not read the name as you entered?

  97. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Sorry, I confused Ismailis with Ahmadias. That’s why I referred to Dr Salam’s grave.

    Does Pak treat its citizens equally irrespective of their religion? Answer is no.

    In India, muslims demanding special rights that is denied in Muslim majorty countries.

    That’s the whole issue. Nobody demanded less rights for muslims- issue here is why special rights in a secular state, that too after partitioning based on religion.

  98. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>because of where you are – pak tea house. did you not read the name as you entered?

    If you can discuss of Indian national song (that too in a manner which is contrary to real situation/aspect of it), why I can’t contribute there?

    Yes, its a hypocrisy for a Pakistani to talk about Gandhi when your country was created in opposition to him.

    Also, the nehruvian secularism that most of you guys propose (basically you support that because you hate anything hindu as well a discarded gandhi) goes contrary to gandhian principles.

  99. Luq

    >Hindu nationalists are not blowing them up, or
    >killing people in Europe, America like Islamists.

    Array janab, unhein itna waqt kahan.

    Jab itne saare zulm hindustaan main hi kiya ja sakte hain to duur jaane ki kya zaroorat hai.

    Yeh jo kartein hain – sab jaayaz.

    Luq

  100. Bloody Civilian

    why I can’t contribute there?

    when do you wanna start??????????

  101. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Jab itne saare zulm hindustaan main hi kiya ja sakte hain to duur jaane ki kya zaroorat hai.

    show me the data that will show more muslims died in more riots under bjp ruled states.

    You will see many propaganda material by say teesta seetalvad and others- but will never see a whole compilation when riots happened, who died and who ruled and most importantly how many punished.

    it will never be compiled, because it will expose the myth muslim persecution under bjp.

    ON THE CONTRARY, IT WILL SHOW LESS RIOTS UNER BJP RULE.

    I am not justifying riots, but trying to expose this propaganda.

  102. Vajra

    @Hayyer

    The gas-bag’s trying to prove nothing.

    First, there is this tradition of ineffective pontificating over endless cups of chai outside Gopal-da’s cabin in Bagbazar; that’s probably how we got visited in the first place. For these sessions, not much rationality, not much logical sense is needed. Each participant takes out the frustrations of his upper division clerk’s job in the Corporation or an equivalent breeding place for fly-blown intellectualism of a peculiarly venomous yet ineffective variety by demonstrating his ability to concoct a position and then hold to it through thick and thin. Most of this takes place during office hours, when this riff-raff hangs its coat over its office chair and slips away for the day. The city is full of lower middle class cookie-cutter outputs from fairly bad colleges, where they are taught by clones of themselves. To see the disaster that is the local education system, you only have to check the disastrous grammar and the worse spelling with which we have been attacked.

    This is one way of winning victories, which were not available so cheap in academic endeavour, and which are certainly not available for the insincere and shallow responsibility-shirking work-culture that passes for independence of spirit in that milieu.

    Part of this is the death-like clutch on the glories of the past. Most of the examples are from the freedom struggle, freely interpreted to prove one tendentious thing or the other, largely in favour of the Bengali caste Hindu, but by and large glorifying either the early days of terrorist anarchy, or the subsequent vainglorious efforts of an overweight babu to seduce sepoys from their loyalty and run them against the British – an effort which failed dismally, not due to the lack of courage of the patriotic Faujis, but due to the utter lack of vision and total failure to think of anything even remotely resembling a strategy by the Leader.

    The rest of it is known, and the effort made by the Hindus of Bengal to ensure a partition of Bengal to preserve their own little place in the sun is well known. Even among this, one rancid and obscurantist casteist, Brahmanical element sought solace in the glories of an even more distant past, and that hearkening back to the warm and schmoozy and entirely improbable history of Bengali eminence in the affairs of India was carefully nursed and built into a little flame of bigotry.

    Unfortunately, the babucracy that is Bengal is lazy but not sufficiently stupid to fall for this last flight of fancy. While there are enough fringe elements to keep petitioning periodically for Netaji’s true fate to be enquired into, there are not enough to give the khaki chaddis enough numbers to weave a decent sized carpet out of their elected representatives’ chaddis. And this is what frustrates and enrages our little pocket Narinder Modis. They would like to be that all-conquering hero. They dream rosy-visioned dreams of burning down houses, slaughtering men, women and children, using their ridiculous phallic symbols, their trishuls, in a horrific simulation of the real thing. Sadly, they don’t have the numbers.

    The reason why the street, the mob, an appeal to force is so seductive for our friend the gas-bag is because he and his friends have neither the numbers nor the courage to do all that they are challenging others, the Congress, Muslims, wherever and whatever they are, the Deoband mullahs, to do: take to the streets. The embarrassing truth is that the BJP regularly loses its deposit where its candidates contest in the gas-bag’s state, and cannot produce a large enough mob, to change similes, to make a khaki flag for its own . Its leader, Jolu Mukherjee (hello, here’s a coincidence!) had to step down and hand over to a second-rung leader, in line with this great fascist war-machine’s grinding to a dead halt all over India.

    Therefore the anger, therefore the fitful rage, therefore the inability to accept the truth about anything whatsoever. Therefore the dogged insistence that a resurgent Hinduism is just around the corner, or actually, is lying hidden under every rock and within every dark place in obscure hinterlands. The truth, said some leftist, Pinko bastard, will make us free. Not so, says the gas-bag; Arbeit macht frei.

  103. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagutha,

    The tragedy that has fallen Ahmadis has been detailed by us on this website and we will one day overturn this nonsense against them… and yet Ahmadis remain committed patriots of Pakistan… I can assure you none of them would want to be associated with the likes of you. The late Dr. Salam- who I am connected through family ties- remained a true Pakistani to his dying day… and corrected many a newspaper on this count.

    Theoretically the Pakistani constitution does accord all citizens equality…. but unfortunately your friends the Maududians have perverted our legal system as well as the constitution on fringes.

    We will change all of that one day I am sure.

  104. Tathagata Mukherjee

    EDITED FOR NONSENSE.

  105. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagutha,

    Can you point out where I have supported Deoband’s 25 regressive fatwas?

    Are you really stupid or do you just act this way?

  106. Amit

    I think it’s a good idea to read a book before criticizing it. I doubt if many, including the esteemed YLH, have cared to read the book. Vande Mataram is a beautiful song, even if we take only first two stanzas. There is no compulsion in singing it, so I am not sure what the loony idiots at Dar-ul-loom gain by banning it. Respect is a two-way street. I am constantly amazed by how in some quarters, the entire criticism of Vande Mataram rests on some incident that happened long time ago, wherein some Hindu mobs apparently sang Vande Mataram while killing Muslims. Aren’t we supposed to move on? For example, Iqbal composed Sare Jahan se accha…before he composed the entirely pedestrian and silly “Taraana e milli”. So, should we ban the singing of Sare jahaan se accha just because the author of that song turned out to be a nutcase. If we carry this sort of reasoning further, should we ban the reading of Kalima as well, since almost all the Jehadi videos are accompanied by reading of holy passages from Koran before they go on their despicable missions. It’s time to grow up. If a faith is challenged by just singing a song, where does the problem lie?

  107. yasserlatifhamdani

    Come on…. Is A G Noorani a deobandi? Not by a long shot. He is a secular Indian nationalist…. and most probably an atheist.

    Deobandis have always been Congress’ favorite Mullahs…. but this is not about Mullahs etc. The issue is of the context of the song… of “Hindu” patriots rising up against Muslim tyrants with the help of British liberators.

    How can a song that symbolizes Hindu communalism and is sung by Hindu chauvinists in a Hindu nationalist novel … be considered a national song?

    How is that equivalent to Iqbal writing Tarana Milli … or the use of Quran by Jehadis? The equivalent would instead be if Indian Muslims were to insist that a song extoling Mahmud’s conquest of Somnath or Aurangzeb’s killing of Guru Gobind’s sons should be the national song of India.

    I hate the Deobandis…. but this is not a Deobandi issue anymore.

  108. Tathagata Mukherjee

    [EDITED for reasons by now obvious given the author]

  109. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>there are not enough to give the khaki chaddis enough numbers to weave a decent sized carpet out of their elected representatives’ chaddis

    ——–

    how its related to the issue of vamdematarm?

    show me a party in west bengal who will oppose vandemataram. Its deeply rooted in psyche of bengalis and also muslims.

    it shows what I have been stating all along- this deobandi regressive fatwa is non-issue, even to the muslims to a large degree outside up/bihar.

    two congress parties of west bengal shouting VM since their inception and will do so for foreseeable future.

  110. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >> He is a secular Indian nationalist….

    Yes, we know his stand on Amarnath Land issue.

    In any case, who cares what he writes. Neither muslims can oppose VM in a visible way, neither Congress, or any other party will entertain such tantrums.

    if anything, deobandi fatwas on VM and other 25 issues have pushed aside muslim middle class voice and made it conform to mullahism.

    Will it be good for society, social tolerance?

    Absolutely not.

  111. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>The city is full of lower middle class cookie-cutter outputs from fairly bad colleges, where they are taught by clones of themselves

    ——-

    still jinnah wanted calcutta in pakistan and thanks to SP Mukherjee and congress, he was forced to eat moth eaten pakistan!

    calcutta is the city that has bore the biggest burnt of partition, seeing wholesome slaughter of bengali hindus in eastern pak/bangladesh still continuing.

    but it will soon come up irrespective what detractors say.

  112. Tathagata Mukherjee

    And Sorry folks- somehow I had an impression, there are few Indian guys here discussing about Vande-Mataram and because of my close relationship with VM being bengali and also from being rural bengal, I thought I could contribute few things.

    I HAVE NO INTENSION TO DISCUSS OUR NATIONAL SONG, OR SECULARISM WITH PAKISTANIS.

    Mad Dog has not bitten me that I would do that.

    If I were you, I would have thought abt my country specially when its hyphenated with Afghanistan!

  113. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Noorani is a secular Indian nationalist….

    Also, what’s his views on partition, Jinnah, Congress? He thinks it was congress that was responsible for partiton and jinnah was for a secular pakistan! His view on gandhian secularism is hostile.

    Noorani has deeply hostile view of Sardar Patel ! What’s his view on Kashmir? What’s his view on Hyderabad (Deccan)?

    Congress WILL NOT even touch his positions on so many of these issues. For that matter no politcal party will do that except islamists like PDP, or MIM.

    His position is more like Pakistani nationalists on most of these issues.

    Free speech is allowed in India and he is practising that. Nothing more.

  114. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>[EDITED for reasons by now obvious given the author]

    PTH is removing simple post that questions secular credential of Pak state and record of your state on minorities. And you have removed that!

    But you think for your website and many of the posts that have questioned Indian secularism is fine?

    What sort of intellectual paradigm is this?

  115. Bloody Civilian

    your post was removed for name calling.

    you can discuss pakistan, india or what you like, as long as it is relevant to the particular thread, without resorting to name-calling.

    similarly, this blog can discuss whatever topic it wishes to, without seeking your permission first.

    it is you who has has stated that you choose what you discuss with whom, depending on nationality, not PTH. you’ve claimed that you came here looking for Indians to discuss this issue with. whatever the logic of looking for Indians on a Pakistani blog, no one has stopped you.

  116. Amit

    YLH,
    The question here is not about the secular credentials of Noorani or any other person, per se. I am from Bihar and I can tell you that Vande Mataram resonates as deeply in my home state as it does in Bengal. In fact, a lot of us feel ashamed that Tagore’s Jan Gan Man was chosen as a national anthem because it was composed as a welcome song for George V, a figure of foreign occupation. So, it is entirely a matter of context. Vande Mataram contains the stirrings of a fresh nation that is missing from Jan Gan Man. Now, whatever the idealogy of the author who composed it, the song itself is beautiful. It’s become a bit tiresome when any expression of pre-Islamic identity or culture is hastily condemned as Hindu chauvinism. Though it is swept under the carpet, there has always been an undercurrent of resentment against Muslim invaders who were considered no better than the English or the French or the Portugese. It has always existed no matter what the Marxist historians would like you to believe. The after effects of 1857 merely exemplified this crack. That is a sad reality. However, I would like anyone to read Anand Math before they criticize it. It’s not what the loony tunes of Deoband would like people to believe.
    As for comparison with Taraana e milli, well, it’s just what people see from the other side. For a lot of us, Iqbal is a glorified plagiarist. But, we love sare jahaan se accha. Since, Iqbal was one of the foremost progenitors of the two-nation theory, should we jettison Sare Jahaan se accha as well. And with reference to Koran, well, the traditional battle cry for hordes from across the Khyber pass had been “Ya Ali” like it was “Har Har Mahadeva” for armies from India. It was accompanied with a lot of slaughter on both sides. For anyone hating wars and killing, both those slogans would carry the accompanying hideous images of war. In interests of his/her feelings, should we ban both those verses. How can any reconciliation happen when such issues, which are hundred of years old, constantly dragged to the fore. How is that different from people who justify the destruction of Babri Masjid?
    And, lest we forget, the swastika symbol is deeply offensive to Jews, but is central to Hindu ceremonies. Should we let go of Swastika. What I am trying to convey is that things can be born with a regressive or hate ideology tagged with them, or conversely, come to associate with an offensive doctrine. There is need, however, to recognize what the majority thinks about a particular symbol or, as in the case here, a song. Howsoever offensive it may seem to most Muslims, Vande Mataram is a revered song for most of us, whether liberal or communal. There is a need for accommodation on both sides.

  117. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>>>your post was removed for name calling.

    Go and check pls- I have NOT done that. Go and read my posts. Its you guys who are using choicest adjectives even using a urdu word close to my name with bad meaning.

    Its nothing but mob mentality.

  118. Bloody Civilian

    Amit

    In interests of his/her feelings, should we ban both those verses

    this is the second time you’ve gone on about banning things. i’m not surprised at a regressive group like the JUH doing what it did… but have they or anybody else asked for VM or anandmath to be banned?

  119. Bloody Civilian

    TM
    Its nothing but mob mentality

    what’s the ratio of TM to non-TM posts here? some blogs would automatically treat it as spam.

  120. Bloody Civilian

    a urdu word close to my name

    where and when?

  121. Amit

    @civilian,
    I apologize for the oversight, but I think it’s a slippery slope from asking people not to do certain things and then asking for banning something all together. However, your point is recognized. I should have been careful with that word. JUH hasn’t asked for a ban because they are afraid of a ridicule. The last time they asked for a ban, they were made a laughing stock all over, and nothing irritates those humbugs than to be made fun of. I include Baba Ramdev in that category as well. His pronouncements with regard to decriminalizing gays have been hilarious, to say the least.

  122. Vajra

    @Amit

    I was not going to intervene in this again, given the way the atmosphere has been totally vitiated by an Indian apparently from your neighbouring state. However, you have taken care to express your point of view in decent language, and you seem to be listening to what is being said – an unexpected bonus!

    1. The recent excitement due to the JuH issuing a fatwa saying Muslims should not sing Vande Mataram was under discussion;
    2. Nobody anywhere sought a ban, as we have commonly understood;
    3. What was being discussed was the distaste that Muslims felt for the song Vande Mataram, and the effect of asking them to sing it compulsorily, which was attempted under BJP rule in the UP;
    4. One strand of opinion felt that its use by the Congress by itself tainted it, on the grounds that in Pakistan in general, and on this web-site in particular, following detailed discussions on the sequence of events leading to partition, it was postulated that the Congress had played an anti-Muslim role while seeking to take a secular position;
    5. This position was drawn from a number of underlying premises (all of these have been debated before and you will find these debates archived or on app:
    a. Gandhi’s ill-judged support for the Khilafat movement and his consistent identification with the obscurantist section of Muslims;
    b. The Congress’ failure to comprehend the reaction within the Muslim community taken broadly and most particularly in North India to what you have described in the following terms: there has always been an undercurrent of resentment against Muslim invaders who were considered no better than the English or the French or the Portugese. Under the circumstances, it is difficult for us to tell the Muslims that they should have sought no safeguards under a constitution;
    c. The Congress’ failure to respond to the articulation of this reaction, which took the form, ultimately, through much detailed evolution, of the Muslim League seeking, as rightfully representative of the Muslim community as a whole, and therefore speaking for it, a secular democratic constitution with a minimalist central authority, and three strong constituent portions, two aggregations of British Indian provinces with Muslims in the majority, one very large one with Hindus in the majority; no physical partition of the country, no exchange of populations was sought;
    d. The Congress’ inveterate opposition to the Muslim League, its insistence on being the only ‘official’ opposition to the British Empire and repeated attempts to disenfranchise the Muslim League, all of which finally led it to reject the constitutional set-up mentioned; partition was the result;
    6. This forum largely believes the Congress played a starkly anti-Muslim role, siding with the community’s darker side to win votes, abandoning its progressive side which was better led, because it did not wish to recognise the secular democratic leaders from the progressive side;
    7. Vande Mataram was adopted as a national hymn because its constant use as a rallying cry for this same Congress which has such a bad reputation among thinking sections of Muslim opinion;
    8. Its association with the Congress alone has damned it among progressive Muslim opinion;
    9. Regressive Muslim opinion has rejected it for narrowly theological, not theocratic, reasons;
    10. Attempts by some of us to raise the fundamentally harmless nature of the song itself, and the contextual validity of its being placed in the mouths of a fanatic Hindu fundamentalist, and the need to allow artistic freedom to the author in his plot development, also to free him from the allegations of extreme Hindu bias were made, but were swept away by the tidal wave of BJP propaganda unleashed by your neighbour.

    In brief, given the strong, deep-rooted antipathy of Muslims to the song, why shove it down their throats? You and I are agreed on its beauty, and on its sentimental appeal; so what? Does that by itself constitute an argument for imposing it by diktat? Surely not? Surely there should be, even at this very, very late stage, some effort by us within the majority community to understand the sensitivities of a minority, and its constant fear that it will be swept away by the numbers against it?

    Nobody here, in case you have not discovered that for yourself, whether Muslim or Hindu, whether Pakistani or Indian, is a votary or supporter of the JuH and its stupid fatwa. The fatwa itself, as again you may have discovered, was met with ill-concealed ridicule; it was originated by the section of Muslim opinion on the sub-continent which is most closely opposed in this forum.

    The point is that something not desired by an entire community is sought to be pushed on it by main force: is that possible? Is that desirable as an objective? Does it not revive the fears and sensitivities of the minority, and does it not encourage regressive elements within it?

    This, and not the leathery-minded, ox-like insistence on destroying a position that never existed, and the opportunistic way in which a Hindutva programme was introduced into the discussion, are the questions to be considered.

    I hope that after considering these points in detail, you will understand the position, and without prejudice to your personal stand on the nature of Vande Mataram, agree that Muslims have a right to refrain from singing it, if they please. That is what I and several other Indian commenters on this forum have come to conclude.

  123. Vajra

    @Amit

    I was not going to intervene in this again, given the way the atmosphere has been totally vitiated by an Indian apparently from your neighbouring state. However, you have taken care to express your point of view in decent language, and you seem to be listening to what is being said – an unexpected bonus!

    1. The recent excitement due to the JuH issuing a fatwa saying Muslims should not sing Vande Mataram was under discussion;
    2. Nobody anywhere sought a ban, as we have commonly understood;
    3. What was being discussed was the distaste that Muslims felt for the song Vande Mataram, and the effect of asking them to sing it compulsorily, which was attempted under BJP rule in the UP;
    4. One strand of opinion felt that its use by the Congress by itself tainted it, on the grounds that in Pakistan in general, and on this web-site in particular, following detailed discussions on the sequence of events leading to partition, it was postulated that the Congress had played an anti-Muslim role while seeking to take a secular position;
    5. This position was drawn from a number of underlying premises (all of these have been debated before and you will find these debates archived or on app:
    a. Gandhi’s ill-judged support for the Khilafat movement and his consistent identification with the obscurantist section of Muslims;
    b. The Congress’ failure to comprehend the reaction within the Muslim community taken broadly and most particularly in North India to what you have described in the following terms: there has always been an undercurrent of resentment against Muslim invaders who were considered no better than the English or the French or the Portugese. Under the circumstances, it is difficult for us to tell the Muslims that they should have sought no safeguards under a constitution;
    c. The Congress’ failure to respond to the articulation of this reaction, which took the form, ultimately, through much detailed evolution, of the Muslim League seeking, as rightfully representative of the Muslim community as a whole, and therefore speaking for it, a secular democratic constitution with a minimalist central authority, and three strong constituent portions, two aggregations of British Indian provinces with Muslims in the majority, one very large one with Hindus in the majority; no physical partition of the country, no exchange of populations was sought;
    d. The Congress’ inveterate opposition to the Muslim League, its insistence on being the only ‘official’ opposition to the British Empire and repeated attempts to disenfranchise the Muslim League, all of which finally led it to reject the constitutional set-up mentioned; partition was the result;
    6. This forum largely believes the Congress played a starkly anti-Muslim role, siding with the community’s darker side to win votes, abandoning its progressive side which was better led, because it did not wish to recognise the secular democratic leaders from the progressive side;
    7. Vande Mataram was adopted as a national hymn because its constant use as a rallying cry for this same Congress which has such a bad reputation among thinking sections of Muslim opinion;
    8. Its association with the Congress alone has damned it among progressive Muslim opinion;
    9. Regressive Muslim opinion has rejected it for narrowly theological, not theocratic, reasons;
    10. Attempts by some of us to raise the fundamentally harmless nature of the song itself, and the contextual validity of its being placed in the mouths of a fanatic Hindu fundamentalist, and the need to allow artistic freedom to the author in his plot development, also to free him from the allegations of extreme Hindu bias were made, but were swept away by the tidal wave of BJP propaganda unleashed by your neighbour.

    In brief, given the strong, deep-rooted antipathy of Muslims to the song, why shove it down their throats? You and I are agreed on its beauty, and on its sentimental appeal; so what? Does that by itself constitute an argument for imposing it by diktat? Surely not? Surely there should be, even at this very, very late stage, some effort by us within the majority community to understand the sensitivities of a minority, and its constant fear that it will be swept away by the numbers against it?

    Nobody here, in case you have not discovered that for yourself, whether Muslim or Hindu, whether Pakistani or Indian, is a votary or supporter of the JuH and its stupid fatwa. The fatwa itself, as again you may have discovered, was met with ill-concealed ridicule; it was originated by the section of Muslim opinion on the sub-continent which is most closely opposed in this forum.

    The point is that something not desired by an entire community is sought to be pushed on it by main force: is that possible? Is that desirable as an objective? Does it not revive the fears and sensitivities of the minority, and does it not encourage regressive elements within it?

    This, and not the leathery-minded, ox-like insistence on destroying a position that never existed, and the opportunistic way in which a Hindutva programme was introduced into the discussion, are the questions to be considered.

    Note also that the discussion was conducted in a Pakistani forum, and largely by Pakistani individuals, not in the context of India-baiting, but as a serious challenge to all intellectuals to consider the politics of symbolism, the original subject of this discussion and exchange of ideas.

    I hope that after considering these points in detail, you will understand the position, and without prejudice to your personal stand on the nature of Vande Mataram, agree that Muslims have a right to refrain from singing it, if they please. That is what several other Indian commenters on this forum and I with them have come to conclude.

  124. Luq

    >Have guts? Why blabbering in the net- why not
    >dobandis and muslims show what you say.

    The rush to go out on the street to settle things is what can be expected of fascists. And your eagerness to do just that reveals your inner self.

    In the scheme of things planned by your loony friends for the future, you think you will be the Tatha Mengele – the brown angel?

    Moreover why should the muslims do that? If at all a law is enacted to force anyone (non-hindus) to parrot v-m (or humpty dumpty for that matter) they can (and will) approach the courts.

    But its perfectly understandable why *you* will choose the mob justice over judiciary.

    >Mad Dog has not bitten me

    Just wondering what the consequences will be if you bite the mad dog. Oh my Dog

    Luq

  125. Hayyer

    I think it is time to apply the Turing test to TM. I am fairly certain now that there is a machine trolling under the name TM. It cannot understand what is being said and it cannot respond to the issues raised. It spews forth, randomly at best, the right wing factoids fed into it. I do not think it is ever going to respond in a human way.

  126. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>It cannot understand what is being said and it cannot respond to the issues raised

    ————

    What is your locus standi on Indian national song? Your country is created based on religion and you have proved not only a complete failure to protect minorities, but became cesspoll of islamic terrorism and indoctrination.

    People of europe talk about pipe-line of Islamic terrorism connecting europe and pakistan thro’ pakistanis.

    and you guys have galls to question indian constitution, secularism ! WHO IS GOING TO LISTEN TO THESE?

    If anything, its support to Islamic terrorism by your country that has made the situation of indian muslims from bad to worse.

    As long as pakistan exists, so does exist muslim separatism and fanaticism in the subontinent.

    talk of your country and stop becoming cespoll of islamic terrorism, export hub of islamic fundamentalism. we don’t need lecture from you.

  127. Tathagata Mukherjee

    The last thing indian muslims need is lecture from islamic and taquiyya fundoos of pakistan on vandemataram!

    Sorry for wasting my time as I was under initial impression some indians were raising question!

    but as soon as you removed my posts twice questioning basic pak inability to protect rights of minorties (forget secularism pakistanis- muslims will never be secular as a state, though as an individual person there are many fine people) and fomenting terrorism- it became clear!

  128. Luq

    @Amit
    >However, your point is recognized.

    May your tribe increase.

    L

  129. Bloody Civilian

    What is your locus standi on Indian national song?

    could it be that the person you’re addressing is in fact an indian? what does that latest of your assumptions say about you and the Turing test?

  130. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>could it be that the person you’re addressing is in fact an indian?

    —–
    Yes, that indian was trying to learn secularism from pakistanis ! hehe..

  131. Bloody Civilian

    thanks for answering the second of my two questions.

  132. Luq

    >If you r not an indian,
    >I refuse to argue with you on our national song.

    Now if you just stick to your own rules made by you yourself….

    1. You don’t argue with Pakistanis on Indian issues.

    obviously you want Pakistanis to follow the same rules, so,

    2. You expect Pakistanis never to debate with you on Pakistani issues.

    3. You want to debate Indian issues with Indians and quite naturally want Pakistanis to debate Pakistani issues with Pakistanis.

    Since you don’t fit here, and having repeatedly been told that you are not welcome here, why do you so shamelessly keep coming back.

    Jab mezbaan hi tumhein baar baar bahar ka raasta dikha rahe hain, to kyon be-sharmon ki tarah vapas (temperory mafee mangte huve) aa jaate ho?

    Thodee to sharm kiya karo.

    L

  133. D_a_n

    @ Tathagata Mukherjee…

    ‘ if you have time and energy, you can google it.’ ….

    Pardon me, but after reading your blabbering posts I feel like I have been De-Flowered by a lumbering goods train. Repeatedly.

    Excuse moi if I dont have the time nor the energy to do much.

  134. Bloody Civilian

    indian minorities

    there is enough evidence here, from your own compatriots, that your kind is the only truly hopeless indian minority.

  135. Bloody Civilian

    btw, TM is on spam now. i hope even adnann would agree that there was little point in continuing with wasting bandwidth on his repetitions ad nauseum (in other words, spam).

  136. D_a_n

    @Luq…

    you asked TM the following question:

    ‘Since you don’t fit here, and having repeatedly been told that you are not welcome here, why do you so shamelessly keep coming back.’

    It is a good question and reminds of an old joke as goes a bit like this:

    A hunter decides to bag himself a Grizzly bear. Once in the forrest, he finds the bear in his sights and shoots. The bear has vanished and he feels a tap-tap on his shoulder. It’s the bear.

    As punishment, the bear tells the hunter that he will be buggered and proceeds to do just that.

    Humiliated, the hunter decides to come back the next day with a bigger, better gun. He finds the bear in his sights and shoots. The bear vanishes yet again and the hunter feels the tap-tap on his shoulders again. It’s the bear.

    The hunter is told the punishment and is duly buggered again and told to be off never to return.

    The Hunter vows to return yet again with an even bigger, better gun to finally finish off the grizzly.

    He goes to the forrest. Finds the bear in his sights and shoots again. The bear is gone. Again, the dreaded tap-tap. However, before the bear administers the rogering, he asks the hunter:

    ‘Are you sure your only coming here for the hunting?’

  137. Majumdar

    My knowledge of Ananda Math (AM) comes from the Amar Chitra Katha’s (ACK) interpretation of the same, so that is not saying much. But someone told me once that originally BCC babu had planned to write AM as an anti-Brit novel but when he showed the draft to a friend, this friend suggested that the Brits wudn’t be too thrilled so BCC babu conveniently made the Muslims the whipping boys. If that is true, then the much maligned ACK series has done a good service by restoring AM to its original anti-Brit character.

    Regards

  138. Milind Kher

    Why get controversial songs like Vande Mataram, when you can have moving songs with brilliant lyrics like Sare Jahan se achha?

    Taraana i Hind has a timeless appeal.

  139. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Very true, Milind, very, very true.

    Now why not let’s get all readers of PTH to sign up and then put in a mass petition to the Secretary of the Lok Sabha, addressing the members of parliament, and requesting them to do as you suggest?

    I’d like this to be done in a well-planned way, so that it will be possible for me to land up in the Secretariat at the right time to capture the expressions of the staff receiving this petition. This pictorial record will have value beyond computation. It will be my humble offering to posterity.

  140. Milind Kher

    @Vajra,

    There is a problem. PTH will have votaries of Taraana i Milli, surely not Taraana i Hind.

    Regarding Vande Mataram, it is not clear whether “Vande” signifies ibaadat or taazeem. If it is ibaadat , then Muslims will not find it acceptable. If it is taazeem, it would be OK

  141. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    Civvie mian might not mind singing Tarana-e-Hind but I am sure PMA sb and prolly even Yasser Pai will commit suicide b4 singing Sara Jahaan se achhha Hindoostan hamara

    Regards

  142. Milind Kher

    Majumdar Saheb,

    TECHNICALLY, they should not have a problem since Allama Iqbal composed it for undivided India.

    Yet, why should they sing it? Would you sing Cheen o Arab Hamara?

  143. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    I have no problem singing Cheeno-Arab hamara, dunno whether the Arabs or Chinks wud appreciate it much, though.

    Regards

  144. Sudarshan

    >>My knowledge of Ananda Math (AM) comes from the Amar Chitra Katha’s (ACK) interpretation of the same

    Still showed guts to accept the funda is based on comic strip. Guess, rest of the public behaved like in comc strip!

    Quodos to Mukherjee for standing upto the Jihadi mob. However, nothing will change- you wasted your time time on explaining first hand experience of reading AM, Partha Chatterjee etc.

  145. D_a_n

    @Vajra…Hayyer…..Majumdar

    But based on Sudarshan’s stunning observation, let me welcome you all to the ‘Jihadi Mob’ ….
    hope you have a pleasant stay…🙂

    Suicide bob here will take you to the supply Squadron for your vests….

  146. Hayyer

    No doubt all monotheists, agnostics, atheists, christians and even polytheist Hindus who see different from TM and Sudarshan are jihadis.

  147. Amit

    Vajra,
    Thanks for your quite detailed post. I never implied that VM should be made compulsory. In fact, I firmly believe that nothing should be made compulsory. My point, however, is the issue of the much publicized image of VM being associated with communal Hindus. A lot of hearsay and misgivings would be simply avoided by reading that book. I am somewhat amazed by so many people having quite strong views about it without even reading the book. I mean, how lazy have we become.
    Dar-uloo’s fatwa was on the basis of supposedly non-Islamic character of the song. Aside from the rather infantile nit-picking of what is Islamic and what is not, I am still confused what Dar-ul.. is trying to achieve apart from needling communal forces from both sides to have a go at each other again.
    I won’t go into the discussion of whether the Muslim’s fear of being taken over by Hindus was right or wrong. That is another topic. I just think that some people from both communities made the fatal error of assuming that both Islam and Hinduism were monolithic entities.
    So, in a nutshell, I have no desire to force anyone to sing that song or any song. Yet, to go around and circulate issues that have been long dead and buried does no one any good. There is need for mutual respect. I, personally, feel closer to the culture of 18th century India than say 6th century India, and one point of time seriously thought of taking Medieval History as my subject matter. It does, however, saddens me that there are hardly any Muslim scholars of ancient India. Worse still, there is a general condescending attitude of even very educated Muslims towards pre-Islamic culture. For example, the fat Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid has been on record as saying that “Humne Hindustan to tehjeeb di hai”. That kind of feeling is, unfortunately, quite common and exhibit itself in varying forms– sometimes subtle and sometimes profane.
    People would do well to remember that BJP came to power only after the Shah Bano case. I can see the history repeating itself.

  148. Sudarshan

    >>No doubt all monotheists, agnostics, atheists, christians and even polytheist Hindus who see different from TM and Sudarshan are jihadis.
    —————————-
    Why trying to hide under others- talk about Pakistanis here.

    What’s the rating of Bin Laden in Pak? And Obama?

    What’s the % of Pakistani who believe 911 was not done by Laden, 28/11 was Mumbai was done by Hindus/Jews?

    Always in denial will not solve your problem.

    Where will you hide and for how long? The Pralaya does not stop just because one is blind.

  149. D_a_n

    @ Sudarshan..

    …What’s the % of Pakistani who believe 911 was not done by Laden….

    Quite a flimsy litmus test to declare someone a terrorist. It will surprise you as to how many US nationals also believe it and are called ‘Truthers’…..look up a person in the Obama appointments called Van Jones (green jobs czar) as he is one of them..

    Whaddaya say now padner??

  150. Amit

    Sudharshan,
    A lot of people back home believe that Udan Khatola of Ramayan times was the progenitor of modern airplane. What would you say to that? Every country has its share of fools.

  151. Hayyer

    Sudarshan:
    You replied to my comment. I can solemnly assure you that I am not hiding behind Pakistanis or anyone else except my name.
    Like TM you have in rapid fire mode, raised issues outside the topic under discussion.
    The issue is that Bande Mataram is offensive to Muslims and they should not be made to sing it. What does Bin Laaden have to do with the song, or 9/11.
    If you want to use a discussion on the song to attack Muslims in general then PTH is not an appropriate site for you.

    Amit:
    It is a fact that Muslim historians generally concern themselves with the Muslim period but that is no reason to castigate them, anymore than Imam Bukhari should be taken as representative of most Muslims. Consider for example how many Hindu scholars, proportionately to Muslim scholars take interest in Islamic history and culture. I could not find a single book on Persian history or even Afghan history in the four book shops of Khan market in Delhi. There is no market for it I am sure.
    The syncretic North Indian culture is a wonderful thing. There are huge Muslim contributions to the music, dance and language of North India. A few Islamic supremacists cannot be taken as representative of the majority. After all Muslim culture in North India is actually a development of Persian forms rather than Arabian. Culturally the Islamic content of North India, even among Muslims is minimal. The invading rulers took Hindu forms and developed them further. I can’t see anything wrong with that.

  152. vajra

    @Sudarshan

    Fortunately, an ignorant bigot like you is your own worst enemy, and nobody has to assist you to finding your own personal Pralaya. You do it better than with support on your own.

    It would appear that a fair test for Indian Hindu advocates for singing the song would be that they should know the song, and should perhaps have read Anand Math.

    Do you qualify? I do; I first read it as a teen-ager, along with Bankimchandra’s other marvellous works. I strongly suspect that you are indulging in polemics for the sake of indulging in polemics, and not with any clear purpose in mind.

  153. Amit

    Hayyer,
    I was not castigating them; I was just sad. You would find scores of ‘Hindu’ writers on the Muslim period in India. RS Sharma, JN Sarkar, RC Majumdar, Romilla Thapar, etc. I have mentioned only the big names; there are many others. In all fairness, all those authors would probably be aghast at being labeled as ‘Hindu’ writers. The reason that you didn’t find a book on Persian history is, as you rightly said, that there is no market of such books in India. For the same reason, you wouldn’t find any book on Russian history. Whatever the connections may be in past, they are all foreign lands. As a nation, we are very inward looking people. Forget about Iran, more than half the country barely knows anything about north-east of India or just pretends that it exists “somewhere”. My intention in bringing up Bukhari comments were not to drag everyone in the same group. Regrettably, in my travels , both in India and outside, I have met scores of Muslims who have thought of Hindus no better than savages dancing around fire, worshiping some pagan idols. It is quite hilarious to hear such tales, but it also made me aware of their lack of initiative to learn something about the other side. All I wanted to say was that reams and reams of invectives would simply be avoided by just reading that book, but people don’t seem to do that. They latch on to some idiot’s random quotations to regurgitate old myths.
    I don’t think I have ever denied the Islamic contributions to our culture. To remove Islamic content of our culture would be like removing sugar from honey, and I take pride in our own unique syncretic culture, but that culture was born out of mutual give and take. Nothing could express my thoughts better than the quotation of Al-Beruni who wrote these lines, ironically, in reference to the haughtiness of Hindus that he met:
    “The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs.They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid. … If they traveled and mixed with other nations, they would soon change their mind, for their ancestors were not as narrow-minded as the present generation is.”
    The last line is particularly important.

  154. Amit

    Hayyer,
    I think Sudarshan wants Bin Laden to sing VM so that he can choke while singing the song. For an Arab, it would be herculean pronouncing Sanskrit words.

  155. Majumdar

    Hayyer mian,

    The issue is that Bande Mataram is offensive to Muslims and they should not be made to sing it.

    We don’t know that for sure. Certainly it is offensive to Deobandi types and many other more liberals as well. But there are others who are OK with it while millions more are indifferent. The real thing is that they shud neither be forced to sing it or forbidden either. It is quite appropriate that the best suggestion has come from Stuka in Post #1.

    I could not find a single book on Persian history or even Afghan history in the four book shops of Khan market in Delhi.

    Why shud u be surprised not to find a book on Persian history or Afghan history in India’s capital city. Obviously it is of little interest to Indian Hindoo and possibly Muslim students of history either.

    Consider for example how many Hindu scholars, proportionately to Muslim scholars take interest in Islamic history and culture.

    Let us not mix up nations and faiths. It wud be quite odd if Indian Hindoo historians do not take interest in history of Indian Muslims/Islam or if subcontinental Muslim historians not take interest in history of Hindoo India. But why wud Indian Hindoo historians be expected to take interest in history of Islam outside the subcntinent or why wud non-subcontinental Muslim historians be expected to take interest in history of non-Islamic India.

    Regards

  156. Luq

    Sudarshan are u TM in disguise?
    L

  157. AC

    Nobody should be forced to sing anything they don’t want to. Period. The real issue here is that the condemnable fatwa was issued in the presence of the Home Minister. I have no doubt that this was yet another dirty trick of the Congress. They need the BJP and RSS. They need right-wing Hindutva to be just relevant enough to ‘scare’ the minorities into voting for the Congress.

    On another note, what I gather from these comments is that some Muslim Indians are not merely uncomfortable singing the song, but deem it to be offensive. If that’s the case, shouldn’t everybody be forbidden from singing it?

  158. D_a_n

    @Majumdar…

    ‘But why wud Indian Hindoo historians be expected to take interest in history of Islam outside the subcntinent or why wud non-subcontinental Muslim historians be expected to take interest in history of non-Islamic India.’

    but then why would a white American scholar take interest in pre-Islamic Indian history or any other history not directly related to his personal circumstance…All history is worthy and demands study.

  159. vajra

    @Amit

    Let me go back to your post of 10:56 am. You have made the following points:

    1. It should not be compulsory to sing Vande Mataram;
    2. The JuH, conversely, should not have made it compulsory NOT to sing Vande Mataram;
    3. Circulating old issues is not helpful, and merely strain relationships between communities;
    4. There is insufficient knowledge about ancient India within the ranks of Muslim or Pakistani historians.

    Do you wish to modify them or alter them in any way?

  160. Majumdar

    If that’s the case, shouldn’t everybody be forbidden from singing it?

    By that logic Hindoos shud be forbidden from worshipping idols becuase Muslims find it offensive and Muslims shud be forbidden from eating beef becuase Hindoos find it offensive.

    Regards

  161. Majumdar

    Dan bhai,

    but then why would a white American scholar take interest in pre-Islamic Indian history

    Of course, a white Yank can take interest in pre-Islamic history. My take is different. Shud it be considered odd if a white Yank scholar takes no interest in ancient Indian history.

    Regards

  162. AC

    @Majumdar,

    Exactly, it was a rhetorical question. But since India does have the precedent of being the first country to ban ‘satanic verses’ ….

  163. AC

    It is amusing to read Vajra pleading for ‘artistic freedom’ for the author. I wonder if he would be willing to do the same if V.D Savarkar’s “Sagara pran talmalala” would have been made the national song…

  164. vajra

    @AC

    You seem to have difficulty in carrying around these distinctions. Permit me to explain.

    My stand was in favour of artistic freedom, not merely for Bankimchandra, but for all authors. Although I abhor Savarkar, his ideology and his politics, I would say with not the slightest hesitation that he should be allowed the same artistic freedom that we did not allow, in a shameful manner, to Salman Rushdie, or, to go from the greater to the lesser, to Taslima Nasreen.

    That has nothing to do with his song being made the national song. Try to make an effort and grasp the difference.

  165. D_a_n

    @ Majumdar…

    fine. Got it🙂

  166. AC

    @vajra,

    Surely, that distinction is obvious. My point being, if you really believed that you would not have gone to such lengths to ‘exonerate’ Bankim Chandra, if you will, of religious bigotry. To slightly re-frame the question, would you have praised the song for its beauty and begged for it to be seen as a work of art, had it been written by Savarkar?

  167. vajra

    @AC

    You don’t give up, do you?

    OK, let’s try again.

    With regard to your re-framed question, yes, I would have praised the song, Vande Mataram, for its beauty and begged for it to be seen as a work of art even if it had been written by Savarkar.

    With regard to your original question, no, I would not have praised the song, Sagara Pran Talmalala, for its beauty and begged for it to be seen as a work of art.

    Guess why?

    My own guess about your motives is that you are using weasel logic, shifting your premises of argument from one post to the next, to prove some disparaging point or the other.

    Keep trying.

  168. Bloody Civilian

    one of the finest scholars pakistan has produced, dr dani, was an expert of pre-islamic subcontinent.

    far more interesting is the fact, that reputedly the all time best novel in urdu literature, quratalain haider’s aag ka darya, is deeply rooted in pre-islamic india.

    as for hayyer’s problem in delhi’s book stores, that’s sad for any culture/society. how many urdu speakers have read aag ka darya? how many people in the subcontinet read? i’m sure there are regional variations, but..

    edward said tells us about how he was watching a late evening programme, as a kid, on israeli tv, only a few weeks after the country’s declaration of independence. a few scholars were discussing 18th century japanese culture and literature… and all the guests and the host were ‘native’ israelis. the producers must have thought at least somebody would be interested in watching it.

  169. Hayyer

    Amit:
    “You would find scores of ‘Hindu’ writers on the Muslim period in India. RS Sharma, JN Sarkar, RC Majumdar, Romilla Thapar, etc. I have mentioned only the big names; there are many others. In all fairness, all those authors would probably be aghast at being labeled as ‘Hindu’ writers.”
    Naturally there are, because the history of India does not cease being Indian history once the Muslims come in. It does not follow that Muslim scholars have no interest in India’s pre-Islamic past. On PTH they go to great lengths about it, only they prefer not to refer to it as India.
    Afghan and Pakistani academics and museologists take great pride in their pre Islamic artifacts and ruins. Some of them may consider it an era of jahaliyat, but that does not mean that they don’t value it. Kashmiri Muslims acknowledge and revel in their pre Islamic civilizations. There are any number of Muslims, starting with Amir Khusro, the self proclaimed tuti e hind, who tried to understand and know India’s Hindu past, and its religion and literature, and translated Hindu texts for Muslim readership.

    “The reason that you didn’t find a book on Persian history is, as you rightly said, that there is no market of such books in India. For the same reason, you wouldn’t find any book on Russian history. Whatever the connections may be in past, they are all foreign lands. As a nation, we are very inward looking people.”

    Russia is in a different category. India has been under profound Iranian influences from ancient times to the recent past. And the Afghans have perpetually troubled Hindu and Muslim India. Inward looking we are but that does not excuse our lack of interest in the two countries. I know few Mulsims with any interest in present day Afghan or Iranian politics let alone history. The Mughals themselves changed from abhorring everything Indian to a complete indifference to things outside Hind by the time of Aurangzeb.
    Alberuni also spoke thus of Hindus-: ‘ their haughtiness is such, that if you tell them of any scholar in Khurasan and Persis, they will think you both to be an ignoramus and a liar’. That situation continues even though we have acknowledged the superiority of the west, except as TM says, in ‘spirituality’.

    Majumdar Babu:
    “We don’t know that for sure. Certainly it is offensive to Deobandi types and many other more liberals as well. But there are others who are OK with it while millions more are indifferent.”

    Of course one would have to take a poll to find out. I have nothing to say on the giving of fatwas. It is a disgraced procedure anyway. Any two bit Maulvi will give you a fatwa to suit you if you pay him well enough. The subject matter of the fatwas have reflected no credit on Maulvis in the past. Remember the one in UP where the daughter in law got raped and the mullahs declared the woman divorced as a result, or some such nonsense.
    There are Muslims who sing Bande Mataram, and there are Maulvis leading them in the choir these days. I don”t understand it, just as I dont understand the concept of Muslims in the BJP, but there it is. I think the context and religious sentiment of the song is enough, even if the first two verses have no anti Muslim connotation. The law allows us to solemnly affirm rather than swear in the name of God. Surely our love of country is not to be judged by our refusal to worship it.
    I have attempted to reply to your other points in my answer to Amit above.

  170. Luq

    >>‘Are you sure your only coming
    >>here for the hunting?’

    Sudarshan, ‘Are you sure you are only coming here for the hunting?’

    L

  171. PMA

    Hayyer (November 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm):

    Thanks; and I mean it. Pre-Islamic historic period of Pakistan (which is primarily an Indus Valley country) is at least five thousand or perhaps eight thousand years old. Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh and British periods are only some of it. Before that there were Persian and Greek periods as well. We Pakistanis have a very fascinating and interesting history.

  172. Amit

    Vajra,
    You have made a very nice surmise of my main points, much better than what I would have done. Thank you very much.

    Hayyer,
    I totally agree with you. History is history: it has nothing to do with just a particular period. The reason that I gave those names was that you asked me if there were many “Hindu” scholars studying the Islamic history. Once again, I am putting Hindu in quotes. It’s just for the sake of argument. Your example of Amir Khusro is very relevant. I would go forward and add Dara Shukoh and Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana to that illustrious list. As is very well known, Rahim’s couplets are very popular across whole of Northern India, even in remote villages. I was, however, talking about the recent times. I gave Al Beruni’s quote as a subtle reminder to a lot of Muslims that their thoughts are similar to what Hindus were thinking in Al Beruni’s times. I didn’t imply that there are no Muslims who are interested in pre-Islamic Indian history. That would be downright foolish. What I meant to say was the number of those scholars is abysmally small. Having an interest in pre-Islamic culture is not the same as undertaking a critical study. A critical study removes a lot of those prejudices that fester over time. My whole argument was that the controversy over VM is in some ways symptomatic of this malaise. As I have said ad nauseam, most of the misconceptions would be avoided by just reading that book. People who are looking for images of blood thirsty hindu mobs out to pillage Muslims in that book would be sorely disappointed.

    As for your lament that there is not enough interest in Iranian politics, can you blame us? The antics of Mullahs there has got really boring. It’s the same thing over and over again. I would be really interested if another Saadi or Firdaus showed up again.

  173. Amit

    Hayyer,
    I would like to add another point. VM could hardly be construed as a form of worship, but I recognize your point. If some people think that it is a form of worship, and, consequently, horrendous, so be it. It does boggles my imagination, however, when people indulge in such nit-picking. Would God, if he/she existed, be really bothered if I did something that conflicted with His/Her omnipotence by some minor semantic differences. I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways.
    Just for your reference, Nietzsche’s philosophy of Superman, the same that was hijacked by the Nazis, maintains a profound influence to this day, and, some would say, liberally plagiarized by ‘thinkers’ all over, including our own Iqbal. I have never heard from Jews calling for a wholesale debunking of Nietzsche’s books or ideas.

  174. PMA

    Iqbal did not plagiarized Nietzsche. He was only inspired by his philosophical thoughts. But then he was also inspired by the Islamic concept of ‘Mard-e-Momin’. Re: ‘Zarb-e-Kaleem’. Iqbal’s ‘Mard-e-Kamal’ is not a ‘superman’. Iqbal took it further from where Nietzsche had left. Iqbal’s complete philosophical thoughts galvanize in his concept of ‘Khudi’, an essential element of ‘Mard-e-Kamal’.

  175. Bloody Civilian

    …. nor was iqbal unaware of nietzche’s racism, and anything less than entirely dismissive of it.

  176. Bloody Civilian

    I have never heard from Jews calling for a wholesale debunking of Nietzsche’s books or ideas

    the debunking is quite complete. even you know what was wrong, a sham and deserving of debunking about it. jewish scholars and other jews have contributed their due share to the necessary debunking.

    how can you ask for or a work to resist debunking on anything other than its own merits?

  177. Bloody Civilian

    = how can you ask for or expect a work to resist debunking on anything other than its own merits?

  178. Amit

    PMA,
    Iqbal extension on Superman of Nietzsche was what we in research circles call as an infinitesimally incremental work, which, in most cases, is merely a semantic improvement with no original content. I am aware of Iqbal’s other works too. There is no dispute as regards to the quality of his style.

  179. Amit

    civilian,
    I didn’t get the import of your comments, but, Jews, by and large, considering the pogroms that they have been subjected to over centuries, have been remarkably catholic in their intellectual pursuits.

  180. Bloody Civilian

    amit

    my main point was that debunking is an exercise in objectivity. why should anyone have anything against it? if a debunking itself is a sham, such a ‘debunking’ should be debunked. so where is the problem for asking for things to be debunked?

  181. Bloody Civilian

    problem *with* asking. sorry.

  182. Amit

    Civilian,
    Ok. Got your point. You are right. I chose the wrong word. Nothing wrong with debunking and, as you said, it is a healthy habit to debunk something after a due process of debate and thought. Its alright as long as you got my underlying thought. Since I can’t use the word “ban”, which, as someone pointed out, was not in contention, I am at loss as to what word should I use. I am not aware of any literal translation of ‘fatwa’ in English.

  183. PMA

    “……extension…..research circles……infinitesimally incremental……semantic improvement…..no original content……quality of style…..”

    So you are dismissive of Iqbal. Does not surprise me. He is not very popular among Indians after all.

  184. Amit

    PMA,
    I am not dismissive of Iqbal, just not too enamored of his ‘original’ thoughts. My reference was only to the particular theory of Superman. I can’t comment on other things. He was peerless with regards to his style, but style can only take you so far. I used to be a fan when younger. I have, since then, lost much of my enthusiasm for him. As for popularity in India, well, Faiz is more popular, actually, quite popular.

  185. Bloody Civilian

    amit

    although i might not entirely agree with faiz on this (but who am i!), his verdict on iqbal is that he was one of those rare breed of pioneers who do not just start something new but take it all the way to perfection all by themselves.

  186. Bloody Civilian

    … and it’s not just a statement that faiz made, but the full thesis is in his book, meezaan.

  187. Amit

    Civilian,
    Maybe Faiz was referring to something that was genuinely new with regards to Iqbal’s works. I would be delusional to characterize Iqbal’s entire works as merely an extension of something. But, truly pioneering works stand the test of time and space. I guess, we can only wait and see.

  188. Gorki

    1. It should not be compulsory to sing Vande Mataram;
    2. The JuH, conversely, should not have made it compulsory NOT to sing Vande Mataram;
    3. Circulating old issues is not helpful, and merely strain relationships between communities;
    4. There is insufficient knowledge about ancient India within the ranks of Muslim or Pakistani historians.
    ……………………………………………………

    Vajra and Amit:
    I agree with points 1-3 above but I don’t have much to say about point number 4 which even if true, is still relatively unimportant.
    It is important though to discuss who should pass judgment on the above 3 points and even more important as to who should ask for such a judgment to be made in the first place.
    VM is a very beautiful and a lyrical celebration of our national aspirations, if one were to believe the gentle scholar Vajra but still it is only a song. What embodies the nationhood though is not any song or a symbol but the principles upon which it was founded.

    Thus for me the following words of the preamble that I memorized as a schoolboy:
    ‘LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation’; hold a much more powerful meaning.
    Combine these words with Rehman’s rendition of VM and I may be moved to tears and remove these from our nation’s midst and then VM may well be a theme song from ‘The Triumph of Will’.

    It is a sad but necessary fact of life of functioning democracies the world over that political parties and other pressure groups try to rake up emotional wedge issues like these from time to time in a cynical attempt to stake out a political ground.
    For example the US has had to deal with similarly divisive symbolic issues like the confederate flags in public places and honoring the confederate heroes in the recent past. Even today there are several unfortunate but reliable wedge issues like the gay rights and abortion that are used by politicians (ruffians?) to divide the people on predictable lines.
    Younger democracies, especially maturing and pluralistic ones like India too will have to learn to deal with such issues in a mature manner. We cannot forever remain struck at the point from where we deal with such issues only in a minority\majority context.

    IMHO neither the JuH’s Fatwa nor the Parivar hooligans’ have any right to dictate anything to anyone.
    It is a simple question of the rights of the individual citizen of India (to sing or to refuse to do so) versus the state (BJP government of UP in this case) to insist that he does; and it should be decided by the courts. The legislatures of the day (and even the law courts) are duty bound to operate within the limits of the above words of the preamble of the Indian constitution. (The courts can only interpret the citizen-state covenant; not re-write it.)

    In my opinion, till date the Supreme Court which has performed admirably otherwise, has remained rather timid in the face of public and legislative threats and has often failed its citizens by remaining a rather hesitant arbitrator in such cases.
    For the sake of our Republic, it is time the judiciary woke up to perform its duty to the nation.

    Moderation and timidity in the pursuit of national interest may not be a virtue after all.

    Regards.

  189. AC

    @vajra,

    I was merely trying to point out that it is not so simple to keep the artist and his work distinct. I would appreciate it if you do not jump the gun and ascribe fanciful motives to my questions.

    “Guess why?”

    I do not know. Either you don’t think it is a work of art, or you do not think it is beautiful. Anybody who understands Marathi even in the slightest will disagree on both counts.

    Disclaimer: I am no fan of Savarkar. He is merely an example.

  190. vajra

    @AC

    If I should have sounded embittered, you have, regrettably, only yourself to blame. A shifting stand is sometimes an indication of an insincere and quarrelsome attitude; your stand can fairly be described as shifting because you started by asking sarcastically if I would have pleaded so hard for the beauty and artistic integrity of another song by another controversial author as the national song:
    I wonder if he would be willing to do the same if V.D Savarkar’s “Sagara pran talmalala” would have been made the national song…

    Here, artistic integrity and beauty, the artistic freedom of an otherwise controversial author and the role and selection of a ‘national song’ have all been conflated. Which, naturally, led me to compose a careful answer, supporting the artistic freedom of authors, howsoever controversial, in those cases where no hurt nor harm to individuals or to society were intended, but to exclude the question of a national song from the scope of my support.

    This was obviously dissatisfactory; within 53 minutes, you had, in your own words, ‘slightly re-framed’ the question, and now excluded the national song business from your pincer movement:

    would you have praised the song for its beauty and begged for it to be seen as a work of art, had it been written by Savarkar?

    Now it is different; it is no longer the question of the national song, but it is still two questions continuing in a deadly embrace.

    Again, I have answered, clearly enough, I hope, to the artistic freedom portion, shunning the judgement of Paris. And you cannot guess why.

    It is because I have neither heard nor read the song.

    An expression of support for the artistic freedom of Herr Schicklgruber is not the same as an appreciation of his painting; if I have not seen the painting, I cannot appreciate it.

    Would you consider me extremely stupid – that you consider me stupid is already clear beyond the shadow of doubt, given the nature of your questions – if I said that I cannot help you with a sound byte or a ready quip on either the standing of the song as a work of art, or its beauty, unheard and unread? Possibly you would. I must bear this burden of your displeasure as best as I can.

    O tempora, O mores!

  191. AC

    @vajra,

    *Sigh*. I did not want to get drawn into silly nitpicking. If I have, regrettably, you only have your own confrontational attitude to blame.

    First of all, when I originally asked you the question, I meant ‘artistic freedom’ in the context of your pleading the case for Bankim Chandra. These are your own words:

    “his artistic work and his depiction of character consistent with the development of the plot need to be seen separately from his own social and political position.”

    In this context, my use of ‘artistic freedom’ was reasonably clear – for an artist’s social and political position to be seen as separately from his work. Instead, you used it in an equivocal sense – you used it to mean the freedom of artistic expression itself, by citing Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen etc. Nobody is asking for a ban on Bankim or Savarkar’s works. I couldn’t have possibly meant ‘artistic freedom’ in that sense. Yet, I glossed over your subtle evasion of the question.

    “It is because I have neither heard nor read the song.”

    Oh the times! I think it was George Eliot who said “Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities”. He couldn’t have been more right.

    “that you consider me stupid is already clear beyond the shadow of doubt….”

    If you are hoping to seek validation of your intellect, perhaps you will be displeased to know I will not oblige. And I shall happily live with the burden of that displeasure.

  192. Milind Kher

    The JUH was never very powerful to start with, and now it is getting increasingly marginalized.

    Perhaps, it felt it would get right wing support within the community for promulgating this ordinance. Things have not quite worked out that way.

  193. PMA

    Ghalib–Iqbal–Faiz. These are the three pearls of the same strand. Why Ghalib and Faiz are popular poets with Indians and Iqbal is not. Well, it is not because his poetry is of inferior quality. In fact Iqbal’s entire body of work is far superior than the other two luminaries. His lack of popularity among Indians has something to do with his political thoughts. In India Iqbal is considered politically incorrect and for that he is villainized like Jinnah is. He is the ‘persona non-grata’ of India. Some Indians would come out openly and admit it. Others will just beat around the bush.

  194. Milind Kher

    @PMA,

    Iqbal may be a persona non grata for the saffron brigade, but many level headed people regard him as a great author, poet and philosophers.

    He was not scared of speaking his mind and boldly incurred the wrath of the mullahs at times too.

  195. I am a little late joining in, but I think among a substantial chunk of India’s young, esp. in the cities, Vande Mataram will bring to mind A R Rahman’s melody. The BJP is really silly to keep playing these games, looks like it isnt learning its lessons, just look at what happened in the Assembly bypolls recently.

    I had btw, written abt Rahman’s song,
    http://vikramvgarg.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/a-r-rahmans-vande-mataram-reclaiming-and-reshaping-indias-inter-communal-space/

  196. PMA

    No Milind Kher, it is actually the ‘congress’ type, the ‘pale saffron brigade’ that dismisses Iqbal. You will hear Indians lavishing praises to Ghalib and Faiz, but never Iqbal. Iqbal ridiculed Brahman as well as Mullah for its religious backwardness. But Congress disliked him for his Idea of Muslim Nationalism and Two-Nation Theory which both Congress and Mullah opposed.

  197. Amit

    PMA,
    I think you are extrapolating things a bit. Personally, I have made it abundantly clear that the quality of Iqbal’s writing is peerless (yes, I used that word). It’s his philosophy that I find to be not that great. His enthusiasm and enunciation of two-nation theory is a subject matter of another discussion. But, I’ll agree with you on that point that, no matter how much we deny, a substantial criticism of Iqbal rests on his insistence on the two-nation theory. Even there he was hardly original. In my case, I made a specific reference to one strand of his philosophy. I didn’t touch other aspects, since I have not read them in detail. As for comparison with Ghalib, well, it’s a subjective opinion. Ghalib, in my humble opinion, was far more catholic, and, consequently, infinitely more acceptable. You would excuse us, non-muslims, if we do not feel so enthusiastic about a philosophy that has strong Islamic underpinnings. Very few people have any dispute with Iqbal’s ideas before he came back from his sojourn in Englang, Germany. It’s his ideas after that which, to be honest, are not of the greatest quality, howsoever brilliant they seem to be in context of Islamic thought.

  198. Amit

    Gorki,
    Actually point 4 is as, if not more, important than the rest of points that I made. A bulk of secular criticism of VM is historical and can only be explained by giving proper historical context. JUH’s criticism of VM is based on religious interpretation, which I really cannot comment on.

  199. Gorki

    Amit,

    Thanks for the reply. I understand the context of point 4 but again beg to differ.

    It is immaterial why the JUH hates VH or the RSS likes it. May be VM is indeed communal and maybe it is not. I don’t care as it is none of my business.
    There are two (and only two) hypothetical parties in this dispute; the citizen who does not want to sing VM and the state which it seems wanted to insist on it at some point.

    What I feel, an RSS man or a JUH man or even the popular opinion (or learned historians) feels about it should not matter.
    Once we start deciding such questions based upon popular opinion of one group or another then there is no stopping the oppression of the majority.
    The operative principle here is nothing more than the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of India.

    Regards.

  200. Amit

    Gorki,
    The choice of singing a song or not singing is a personal matter. I believe, as I have indicated elsewhere, that even national anthem should not be forced upon anyone. The politics behind VM is a different matter. We all broadly agree on that issue that no one should be forced to sing it. My point was that there has been a lot of misconceptions about VM among Muslims and some Hindus, most of which can be removed by reading the book Anandmath. It falls on deaf ears, however, and people want to believe what they want to believe and what appeals to their prejudices. It resembles in some ways the predominant urban myth in our country about a very common and insidious rumor about Muslims displaying Pakistani flags when an Indo-Pak match is held. When you inquire further, everyone who believes that rumor knows someone who has seen it, but never is the case that that person has seen it himself. The present rancor about VM is in a large part due to verbiage gathered over decades.

  201. PMA

    Well, Amit, we differ in our perspectives. You may want to read up on Iqbal. He wrote in Urdu, Persian and in English. His Persian books “Asrar-e-Khudi”, “Ramooz-e-Bekhudi” and “Pe’aam-e-Mashriq” have been translated into English.

  202. Bloody Civilian

    Amit

    are you not so enthusiastic about iqbal’s work because, according to you, it is “infinitesimally incremental” or “has strong Islamic underpinnings”? if either one were true, the former could be an objective criticism and the latter a rather subjective one of the kind that your comment (of 2:52am) above is trying to explain.

  203. vajra

    @Amit
    @Gorki

    At the cost of incurring your wrath, tovarisch, I have to agree with Amit here: his point 4 is the most important. Summarising them for him merely makes me, as BC and YLH will confirm, an accessory after the fact; but that will come up for consideration during later stages. Amit’s second post is even more compelling, but first things first.

    There were three elements, or two and a pair, if we might re-wind a step or two: the aesthetic element, the religious and corresponding anti-religious elements, and the political element.

    As for the aesthetic element, and the associated artistic freedom that should go with it, it is a pitiful few who have actually gone through the works in question, but that is not surprising, given its clothing in nineteenth century Bengali. Nor is the denial of artistic freedom surprising, considering that Bankimchandra has been banned by bell, book and candle, as the saying goes, and his other works, which flat out contradict his supposed bigotry, are not taken into consideration, or are taken into consideration with the greatest care in selecting those that fit the prosecution’s case. All this has nothing to do with the aesthetics of the matter, but has everything to do with the religious expressions that have been detected by drain inspectors of repute and renown, and the consequent politics. Aesthetically, the song, the book and the corpus are truly admirable.

    With regard to the religious feeling favouring a resurgent Hinduism (not yet converted into the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS at that time, please note) and the corresponding anti-religious feeling hostile to Muslims (not to Islam) that have been detected, it is moot. It is built on two factors, which are widely separated. One is the inherent prejudice of the author, determined on direct evidence – his works – and on indirect evidence, his social and anthropological background.

    I put it to you that direct evidence yields nothing, absolutely nothing that can substantially and reasonably indicate universal anti-Muslim venom on the author’s part. It must be borne in mind that even today, there is a distinction in the minds of many between immigrant Muslims and converts from the sub-continent’s own population. If you read either of the books that I have cited, or any of his others, there is evident a very clear and distinct dichotomy between his treatment of a gallant Afghan prince and his nightmare vision of a foaming-mouthed rabble out to kill, maim and rape. And exactly similarly for class distinctions within Hindus, interestingly.

    He may be accused of class feeling, but it is special pleading to accuse him of religious hatred. Religious fervour for his resurgent religion, perhaps, religious hatred against another – well, not really, not without twisting things grossly out of shape.

    Comes the question of the adoption of the slogan by Hindu bigots.

    Contrary to what some think is true, originally it was a widely-adopted slogan. It was clearly originated within the Bengali middle-classes, but it was not particularly restricted to them in that period of the very early twentieth century when it found acceptance among the members of those early movements.

    Over time, it was spread widely over India through the medium of the Congress. It is important to recollect that until Gandhi’s introduction of religion into politics, and the sensitisation of all to the implications, there was a degree of consensus and considerable unity among those moving for Indian independence. Prominent among the leaders at this time, during this part of our history, was an eminent Bombay lawyer of Kutchi extraction, known for his excellent sartorial taste and complete assimilation with western society. His name has occurred within these columns from time to time.

    It was only with the growing rift between the Congress and the Muslim League in the 30s, and then the 40s that brought the symbolism of this slogan before people. It was only then that the religious nuances were apparent – to some, who felt them to be antithetical to some basic tenets of Islam, to others, who did not wish to be part of the increasingly differentiated Congress campaigns. The religious aspect of Vande Mataram came into prominence only after the political implications became suspect, and not the other way around.

    The last aspect is the political aspect, and this is emphatically not what has been referred to immediately above. Instead, this fresh consideration is of the situation today, not the situation of 60 + years ago. It is today impossible to ‘retro-fit’, whitewash in retrospect, in effect, the slogan, or the national song adopted around the popularity of the slogan (precious few could or can sing it, then or now: it was a rather rich Sanskrit phrasing) given the suspicion among the loyal Muslim community about its facile adoption by the Parivar. It is no longer League vs. the Congress; it is everybody against the Sangh Parivar.

    I hope that this will help clear up some of the smoke and grime that has collected around this topic.

  204. Gorki

    Dear Varja and Amit:

    Thanks for taking the time for patient replies. I have no reason to doubt your contention that both the book AM, and its author have been needlessly and tragically vilified and that a better understanding of these facts would go a long way to clear up the controversy regarding VM. Also knowing your reading tastes, I can’t doubt that both the book and the song are very uplifting and matchless works of prose. I myself read AM in Hindi many years ago as a teenager. Once you pointed it, I even saw some similarities between this book and other adventure stories set in the times of historical conflicts (eg. The Talisman by Walter Scott).
    Furthermore I personally never read any subliminal communal message in it then (or was too young to understand it.)
    When you praised VM and specifically AM for the beauty of its language and imagery, I was moved just reading your words and promised myself that I would try to re-read it the next time I took a vacation.
    However let us look at what we are debating. The fourth point noted above was as follows:

    4. There is insufficient knowledge about ancient India within the ranks of Muslim or Pakistani historians.

    This is a general statement. On one plane I even agree with it. However that is irrelevant to the fact that JUH issued a Fatwa against the singing of VM and it in turn raised the ire of hyper nationalist who want to send the resisters to Pakistan.
    Once we link this issue to the statement above it implies a case of mistaken identity; thus if only the JUH or its adherents understood ancient India, they would have no problem with it.

    My contention is that in my reading of the letter and the spirit of the constitution of India, every citizen has the right to not know the history of ancient India or medieval India; to hold contrarian views for no particular reasons, to refuse to follow the crowd if it interferes with his belief system or for any other reason (right or wrong.)
    More importantly it is this right, and the constitution that guarantees it, that makes a lump go up in my throat when I watch the parade on January 26th each year. This right for me is a billion times more important sign of the resurgence my nationhood than all the ancient glories of my land.
    Don’t take me wrong, I love VM and the national anthem and all that makes up the Indian civilization as much as the next man but take away the constitutional rights and the fundamental principles that bind my loyalty to my country and then for me a Punjabi, who has never travelled farther in India than river Jamuna in my entire life; all the beauties of Bengali countryside might as well be the other side of Atlantis.
    Last but not least, my contention is not with you learned gentlemen. My contention is with those who ignore the spirit of my nation yet insist on its symbolism. (I am talking about people like Raj Thakarey here)
    Regards.

  205. Milind Kher

    @PMA

    Ghalib and Faiz were poets, but Iqbal was a scholar and a philosopher.

    Given the situation and demographics of that time, partition was inevitable. Anybody saying that the 2 nation theory was invalid would have to be living in denial.

    That being said, religion may not NECESSARILY be a uniting factor. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan also bears witness to this.

  206. Amit

    PMA,
    All those books that you mentioned are available in Hindi too.🙂
    Iqbal is also widely read in India, contrary to what you may think.

    Civilian,
    My comment about “infinitesimal..” was with regards to just one aspect of his philosophical works. Please do not take that comment to encompass Iqbal’s whole range of works. I am not at all qualified to make that kind of judgment about his other works.

    Milind,
    Ghalib and Faiz can be considered as philosophers too, but yes, Iqbal was much more ambitious in his range of thoughts.

  207. Amit

    Vajra,
    Thanks for your very well written and comprehensive post.

  208. Bloody Civilian

    @MK

    how does ‘TNT being valid’ lead to ‘partition being inevitable’?

    i would say the denial was what made partition inevitable.. if it was ever inevitable.

  209. PMA

    Amit: “All those books that you mentioned are available in Hindi too. Iqbal is also widely read in India, contrary to what you may think.”

    I would have no way of knowing it. But now that you have told us I am only pleased to know it, on both counts. Happy reading.

  210. Milind Kher

    @BC,

    Polarization had happened to too great an extent for partition not to have happened.

    It is better for us to accept that and get on with our lives, than think about how it could have been prevented. Time is linear after all🙂

    @Amit,

    Yes, they may have been philosophers too, but their accent was far more on their poetry.

  211. Vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    This forum will continue to be vulnerable to superficial intellects, who simplify everything to the consistency of Farex. Not much point in fretting about it. That there might have been nuances in the situation, that deepening gulfs at one level might not have meant irreconcilable differences at all levels, that a degree of separation couched in constitutional and legal terms might have served the purpose of creating a sense of protection in minorities, all these factors that YLH, you and Adnann Syed have elaborated with such care really get reduced to children’s mnemonic formulae.

    It’s a lost cause. ‘Ek dhundo to sau nikl aate hain.’

  212. Gorki

    For some inexplicable reason I am getting an irresitible urge to break onto a chorus of ‘Four legs good two legs bad….” just about now 😉

    Regards.

  213. Bloody Civilian

    Vajra

    your post of November 12, 2009 at 9:39 am nicely closes this post, as far as i am concerned. it was the kind of clarity i was hoping a discussion stimulated by the post would achieve, but never actually expected it to be achieved.

    It is no longer League vs. the Congress; it is everybody against the Sangh Parivar.

    I hope that this will help clear up some of the smoke and grime that has collected around this topic.

    i think it does so better than any i’ve seen. thank you!

    MK

    an attemot at understanding/analysing history is not at all the same as obsessing about time machines.

    Amit

    it was great to have you here. hope to see more of you on these pages.

  214. Bloody Civilian

    attemot???? = attempt, of course.

  215. Milind Kher

    @BC,

    The problem is that the analysis is rarely objective, normally there is a lot of emotion attached to it.

    Witness the high handed act of the BJP in sacking Jaswant Singh when his analysis of history differed from theirs

  216. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    He just proposed the discussion be closed.

    Finished, finis, finito, over, shesh, bas, poru, khatm shudh. Onek hoyechhe, ebar bari jao.

  217. Milind Kher

    Onek hoyachhe sheta aami jaani. Discussion bondo hoi gayachhe. Chhilo Ekebaare durdaanto!

  218. Vajra

    🙂

    Touche! Your point, I believe. And it was a damn’ good discussion, I have to agree with you.

    Now shut up and go home.

  219. kabir

    Sometimes a song is just a song. If I sing “Vande Mataram” (which is by the way a beautiful song) and pay respect to (some might say worship) my motherland… it doesn’t make me any less of a Muslim, despite the fundamentalist interpretation.

    If I enjoy singing bhajans–which I do– it doesn’t make me a Hindu. I personally think Meera bai wrote some of the most beautiful spiritual poetry which is part of the heritage of all South Asians, just as the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah or Baba Farid is. “Aree Main to Prem Divani” and “Shyam Piya Moray Rang de Chunariya” are beautiful songs, full of love for bhagwan (or Allah or whatever we want to call him or her).
    Interestingly, Indian Muslims used to sing “Shyam Piya Moray Rang de Chunariya” at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer, simply by changing the word “Shayam” to “Khawaja”.

    The degree of polarization that has occured, is just completely unnecessary in my (humble) opinion.

  220. Milind Kher

    @Kabir,

    The degree of polarization that has happened is indeed unfortunate.

    However, it is for the educated and enlightened people to bridge the gap. Today, the saffron brigade draws its strength from some highly literate people who have derived only technical excellence from their academic pursuits, and whose thinking is bereft of any philosophical base.

    On the other side of the coin, there are many Muslims who divide the world into “us” and “them”. That also needs to stop.

    Each one of us can contribute in their own way to making this happen.

  221. kabir

    @Milind Kher,

    I absolutely agree with you. That’s why it’s really important for more desis to study social sciences, regardless of whatever profession they end up adopting to earn their daily bread. Also, we need to understand that we have a rich composite culture– we cannot take the last 60+ years to represent the whole history of “hindu-muslim” interaction.

    Pakistanis also need to realize that, as a nation we are only 62 years old– a baby as far as nation-states are concerned. “Islam” and “Pakistani-ness” cannot wipe out our 5000 year old association with Bharat Mata, right from the time of the Vedas and Upanishads. It would be foolish to think otherwise and we would be doing ourselves a disservice as people, focusing only on one dimension of our heritage. Radha and Krishan belong to “Pakistanis” just as much as Heer and Ranjha belong to “Hindustanis”.

  222. Suv

    After reading through the thread I find a lot of discussion about Bankim Chandra’s novel. But I think main issue is this: should Vande Matram as adopted by Indian Constitution be sung or is Anti-Muslim in some way or does it hurt Muslim sentiments?

    The stanzas adopted by Indian constitution have been stripped of references to Durga. To my knowledge it has no Anti Muslim words.

    Only source of controversy is whether Vande Matram signifies worshiping motherland or having a deep respecting it. To those Muslims who interpret it as worshiping motherland and feel it is incompatible with their religious views , there should be no forcing them to sing it. There are others like AR Rahman who think that it means respect for motherland, they don’t have any problems with it. Thus a blanket by Deoband was unwarranted and they should have refrained from passing fatwa against it.

    Also saying that no Muslim in India will sing Vande Matram is a wrong notion. Those who interpret it as AR Rahman sees it will have no problem.

    To conclude I would like the discussion to be focussed on stanzas adopted by Indian Constitution. Attacking those stanzas because it is written by Bankim Chandra will be just as stupid as saying that we will not sing “Saare Jahan se Accha” (Tarana-e-Hind) because Iqbal changed his mind and from Indian Nationalist he became a pan-Islamist [from Hindi hai hum watan hai, Hindustan Hamara to Muslim hai hum watan hai,
    Sara Jahan Hamara]

    We should focus on the song and the feelings expressed in it. By adopting the stanzas of the song, Indian Constitution did not endorse anti-Muslim views expressed in Anand Math but selective chose those lines which reflected Indian Nationalism and love for motherland. I don’t see much wrong in that.

  223. Milind Kher

    The Vande Mataram controversy has been stirred up by Jamiat Ulema Hind, who are complete lightweights, and found this to be a good platform to gain some importance.

    The approach taken by Maulana Kalbe Sadiq is a good one. He has asked for a categorical interpretation of the word Vande. If it means “worship”, then it is not right for Muslims. If it means “respect” then it is OK. A sensible way of looking at it.

    There is nothing that cannot be resolved if the political will to do it is there.

  224. Vajra

    @Suv
    @Milind Kher

    Two points: the Deoband fatwa has been repudiated, or rather, modified; it has been stated that the song may be sung by good Muslims. At the same time, the fatwa has not been withdrawn.

    Vandana is to raise your voice in praise; it can be used in both a religious context and a secular one. The religious context was the one in usage earlier (naturally). It is now used, sometimes ironically, being a very strong word for day-to-day speech, in secular settings.

    I’m afraid the weight is in favour of it being a strongly ritual word. But let us see what is decided, finally.

    Suv, without wishing to stifle you, all the points raised by you have been discussed by someone or the other, somewhere or the other, on this thread. You must not be annoyed if some half-crazed old loon like me charges out at you , intent on homicide, because you haven’t done your homework before expressing your views! I suppose it is a case of angels rushing in…..

  225. Suv

    I agree with you Milind. But at the same time I feel it is best left to individual Muslims to decide rather than decision being taken on their behalf by any religious or political leader

  226. Suv

    @Vajra
    I am not one of those who cannot take criticism.Feel free to charge at me with facts and arguments, but without emotive appeals and polemics🙂

  227. Vajra

    @Suv

    No chance of any charging, my rheumatism is giving me hell. Just read the old bits. If you don’t, and you get into trouble, that’s nobody’s problem but your own.

    And what do you mean no emotive appeals and no polemics? You show up and state something incorrect, and you’ll get everything thrown at you including the kitchen sink.😀

    And don’t be fooled by the smiley.

  228. Milind Kher

    @SUV,

    The Muslim psyche and ethos are both different from that of the Hindu.

    If the Hindu misses his prayers, his fasts, or does not go to the temple, it does not detract from his value in the eyes of his community. Likewise, religious issues of halal and haraam are not of that much consequence to him.

    For the Muslim, observing rituals and adhering to the pillars of his faith are very important. He therefore seeks the opinion of the Ulema.

    As long as issues are approached in a mature manner and with good intent, things will generally be resolved amicably.

  229. Suv

    I have read the previous posts before expressing my opinion. I would be open to debate to understand where I am wrong. As far as I understand people who are serious debaters don’t use polemics or emotional appeals, they go by cold reasoning, logic and facts. If someone has to resort to it, then probably there is some weakness in arguments

  230. Milind Kher

    @SUV,

    I have pretty much followed what you have written in this thread. I am in substantial agreement with you.

    Do debate any POV of mine that you differ with.

  231. Vajra

    @Suv

    Are you under the impression that I am a serious debater? I find it hard to string two sentences together! I wouldn’t recognise cold reasoning, logic and facts if those three gentlemen came and tickled me under the chin. You will get much worthier opponents, especially Milind Kher and people like that. Masters of discussion and debate. You must pick people worthy of your mettle. ;-)>

  232. Hayyer

    Vajra:
    You shouldn’t be living in Bengaluru, not with your rheumatism.
    In collaboration with humanism friends you should attempt a secular translation of the song. The first line Vande Mataram would probably translate as ‘Hamd e Maadar’ etc etc. Worth trying if it can be sung in a secular idiom in Urdu, or Persian.

  233. Hayyer

    Though ‘Hamd ul Maadar’ is probably more accurate.

  234. vajra

    @Hayyer

    Why d’you think I’m living in Kolkata?

    The translation sounds like a good idea. Let me have a bash at it.

  235. Suv

    @Milind Kher
    I like pretty much what you say. Only thing that I want to bring attention to is Indian govt and many of us have been somewhat patronizing in dealing with Indian Muslims. We tend to attach more importance to Shahi Imam’s views than educated class views. We probably would need to do more to reach out and strengthen latter than former.

  236. Suv

    @Hayyer
    I support your endeavor to translate it. You can call it Hamd-e-Madaar or like AR Rehman viewed it : Maa tujhe Salam

  237. But its more than that. I didnt hear your car. The entire San Sebastian swindle. She looked at him blankly. Well, metallurgy is not exactly—what shall we say? I wouldnt have allowed it! I dont blame our metallurgical department! I have seen so much, since.

  238. Eager, driven, she pushed up to her knees and swung her leg over his hips. Most of Jaraks men were stationed closely around the womens tower and the central court. Not body and soul. Lanthans flexing ass drew her attention back. The stone beneath her clutching fingers started to crumble. Be proud of what you just accomplished. She had neither seen nor asked after Tykir, Lanthan, nor Brevin. Her sound roused the couple lying before her. She had given them a gift, and they were proud of—worried for—her. I…didnt realize until recently thats what Id done, but its true. What do you think, Tyk? He waited until her brain caught up, and she blinked dumbly up at him. It would be strange if she did. But Brevins weight kept her where she was. He brushed his lips over hers, then Lanthans before settling back again to watch. Sighing, content, she hugged him close as he rolled over. You didnt have to knock. But the look on your face tells me theres more. She knew if she did, that would be it. A lifetime isnt enough to tell you how I feel about you.

  239. no-communal

    Hayyer
    “Jana Gana Mana was first sung in Parsi Bagan Calcutta in 1911. It was written for the visit of the King Emperor and in his praise. Quite irrelevant to a nation seeking freedom from the self same Emperor one would think, but probably no one remembered its context when they chose it. There is a connection between the two songs. Bande Mataram was set to music by Rabindranath Tagore’s father. ”

    Hayyer Sb,

    Not to flog a dead horse, but there are two historical errors in your comment above.

    First, the minor one: Bande Mataram was set to music by Tagore himself and the first public performance was also by him in 1906. Tagore’s father wasn’t much of a musician, although he loved and encouraged Brahmo music.

    Second, the slightly more serious one: Jana Gana Mana was a Brahmo song written by Tagore in 1911 in praise of the eternal vidhata (god) of India, as in,”Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind”. This concept of
    god, slightly unfamiliar to the regular Hindu folks at that time, was quite common in Tagore’s circle at Calcutta (Brahmo Samaj).

    In the 28th session of Congress (Dec. 1911), the song was sung as the opening song of benediction for the second day, nothing to do with the visiting king. After that, the (still loyal) Congress passed a resolution expressing loyalty to the visiting king. Only then a song in praise of the king was performed. Many confuse this second song, “Badshah Humara” by Rambhuj Chaudhary with Jana Gana Mana.

    The report of the annual session of the Indian National Congress of December 1911 says the following:

    “On the first day of 28th annual session of the Congress, proceedings started after singing Vande Mataram. On the second day the work began after singing a patriotic song by Babu Ravindranath Tagore. Messages from well wishers were then read and a resolution was passed expressing loyalty to King George V. Afterwards the song composed for welcoming King George V and Queen Mary was sung.”

    This is what the contemporary Indian press says:

    “The proceedings of the Congress party session started with a prayer in Bengali to praise God (song of benediction). This was followed by a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V. Then another song was sung welcoming King George V.” (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Dec.28,1911)

    “The annual session of Congress began by singing a song composed by the great Bengali poet Babu Ravindranath Tagore. Then a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V was passed. A song paying a heartfelt homage to King George V was then sung by a group of boys and girls.” (The Bengalee, Dec. 28, 1911).

    Some of the English press, familiar only with Tagore as an Indian poet of stature and unfamiliar with the meaning of the songs, couldn’t make out who wrote what. Thus, they created the confusion
    that still lingers.

    Finally, if you are willing to take Tagore on his own word, this is what he wrote later addressing this confusion:

    “I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind.” (Purvasa, Phalgun, 1354, p738.)

  240. no-communal

    @ Hayyer
    “Jana Gana Mana was first sung in Parsi Bagan Calcutta in 1911. It was written for the visit of the King Emperor and in his praise. Quite irrelevant to a nation seeking freedom from the self same Emperor one would think, but probably no one remembered its context when they chose it. There is a connection between the two songs. Bande Mataram was set to music by Rabindranath Tagore’s father. ”

    Hayyer Sb,

    Not to flog a dead horse, but there are two historical errors in your comment above.

    First, the minor one: Bande Mataram was set to music by Tagore himself and the first public performance was also by him in 1906. Tagore’s father wasn’t much of a musician, although he loved and encouraged Brahmo music.

    Second, the slightly more serious one: Jana Gana Mana was a Brahmo song written by Tagore in 1911 in praise of the eternal vidhata (god) of India, as in,”Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind”. This concept of
    god, slightly unfamiliar to the regular Hindu folks at that time, was quite common in Tagore’s circle at Calcutta (Brahmo Samaj).

    In the 28th session of Congress (Dec. 1911), the song was sung as the opening song of benediction for the second day, nothing to do with the visiting king. After that, the (still loyal) Congress passed a resolution expressing loyalty to the visiting king. Only then a song in praise of the king was performed. Many confuse this second song, “Badshah Humara” by Rambhuj Chaudhary with Jana Gana Mana.

    The report of the annual session of the Indian National Congress of December 1911 says the following:

    “On the first day of 28th annual session of the Congress, proceedings started after singing Vande Mataram. On the second day the work began after singing a patriotic song by Babu Ravindranath Tagore. Messages from well wishers were then read and a resolution was passed expressing loyalty to King George V. Afterwards the song composed for welcoming King George V and Queen Mary was sung.”

    This is what the contemporary Indian press says:

    “The proceedings of the Congress party session started with a prayer in Bengali to praise God (song of benediction). This was followed by a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V. Then another song was sung welcoming King George V.” (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Dec.28,1911)

    “The annual session of Congress began by singing a song composed by the great Bengali poet Babu Ravindranath Tagore. Then a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V was passed. A song paying a heartfelt homage to King George V was then sung by a group of boys and girls.” (The Bengalee, Dec. 28, 1911).

    Some of the English press, familiar only with Tagore as an Indian poet of stature and unfamiliar with the meaning of the songs, couldn’t make out who wrote what. Thus, they created the confusion
    that still lingers.

    Finally, if you are willing to take Tagore on his own word, this is what he wrote later addressing this confusion:

    “I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind.” (Purvasa, Phalgun, 1354, p738.)

  241. Dastagir

    2 quick points :

    It is time for Indian Muslims to realise that English is the “Latin” of the day. It is the language of science and mathematics., therefore., Indian Muslims must adopt ENGLISH as their mother tongue (or atleast a link language) to address the huge academic (secular/scientific) deficit that they presently have.

    I have nothing against Urdu-Persian-Arabic trio. They are great languages. 25% of the world’s finest poetry is in Urdu ! Its a huge heritage, and when i write this it is not with a merry heart. It is after great thought and contemplation.

    About Vande Mataram :

    Vande Mataram –
    Sujalaam – Suphalaam – Malayaja Sheetalaam ! Sasya Shyama`laa – Mataram !
    Vande Mataram….

    Pulla Kusumita – Drumidal Shobhi`neem
    Suhasin`eim – Suma`dhur Bhaash`neem
    Varadaam – Sukhdaam – Mataram !
    Vande Mataram –

    These are the 2 passages accepted “Officially” as the National Song. [The original song is quite long… and there are objectionable elements in Stanza IV and V]. Anyways…

    Pandit Bhimsen Joshi sings it most beautifully.

    Hindu-Muslim problem in SE Asia (lets restrict it to India now) can be summed up in 2 words : “Zid`dam-Zid`daa”. Why me ? Why not him ? This is running around in circles.

    EVERY HINDU IS NOT RSS
    but EVERY RSS IS A HINDU.

    RSS (with its 53 branches., thousands of organisations and a standing-army membership of 8 Lakhs, institutionalised riots systems [terrorist sleeper cells right upto the Gram Panchayat / Block level thru-out India], is an organisation that is not even Registered as a “Society” under the Registration of Societies Act. It does not pay a single penny as “Tax”. It does not recognise the Indian Flag., nor the Official Indian National Anthem (Jana-Gana-Mana… tuned by Tagore in Raga Bilawal) ! So, what is RSS.

    An unregistered Mafia that doesnt pay tax., and that poses a direct challenge to the eddifice of the Union of India., and the Constitution of India. This illegal operation/mafia is thriving ! It is now mainstrem ! (Thru its various masks). It has penetrated every single branch of governance. The whole Indian police is Vanzara-ised (except for a few rarities like Hemant Karkare); the Indian Army (to a major extent) is completely Purohit-ised., thats why we see bullets hitting “above” the chest ! So perfect is the aim of the Indian Army ! Killing Young Muslim Boys and Raping Muslim Girls has become the National Sport., and the favourite past-time of the Indian Army and the Indian Police.

    How can there be peace.. inclusion.. cohesion.. under such horrible circumstances. Muslim kids are not allowed admission into good schools (Stop them at the entry level.. KG itself.. Ek gandi machli saare talaab ko kharaab kar degi.. so stop these gandi machlies.. at KG level itself ! That is the un-written LAW). Outlook India (2002) did a survey on the Top Schools of India. Its a collector’s item… The top high schools of India are ranked.

    I am sorry to note that muslim presence (student / faculty) in 90% of India’s Top High Schools is almost next to NIL. I am talking about figures and percentages here. No loose talk.. Figures.. Percentages. (Dont throw the RSS logic of : “Azim Premji, Shahrukh Khan, Sania Mirza”.. Indian Muslims are an appeased lot.. living 5* lives). The horrible condition of the Indian Muslims is visible to the naked eye. It doesnt need an expert.

    But Hindus are poor too ! Yes.. there is Hindu poverty.. but the difference between a Hindu poor v/s a Muslim poor is this. The Hindu Poor has a HOPE., that his situation would improve. The Muslim Poor has NO HOPE + the system is skewed against him. Systemic Boycott is the reality for the muslims (at the local Tahsildar level., local police station level., electricity office – to get a connection., water board office – to get a connection., municipal corporation to get approval / licences, admission to Schools., colleges., Govt. Hospitals when ill.. distribution of water by tanker.. collection of garbage and sanitary municipal services… muslim areas are not touched by the municipality.. they are allowed to rot and sink.. so that muslim suffer “dengue” and go to Jannat and meet their Allah soonest !). These are the normal things that affect everyone. At these levels, the SYSTEM is skewed totally against muslims.

    To-date., not one single Indian Spy was a Muslim. They were all Hindu !

    Phir bhee ham se yeh gilaa hai ke wafa-daar nahin
    Ham wafadaar nahin – Too bhee to dildaar nahin !

    The eternal comlaint : “They (Ms) do not join the mainstream”. How will they join when the Gate is Closed ! And Babu Bajrangi stands on guard at the gate (aided and abetted by Vanzara, Purohit and Togadia). Its a shame.

    The Hindu-Muslim thing is holding India’s potential. A lot of energy is going in “waste”. If fair-play is allowed to become operational., poverty and disease can be eliminated from Indian soil… but… Hindu-muslim hate is a billion-dollar business… and vested interests (like RSS) thrive on hatred.

    It is easier to say but very difficult for a poor community (the poorest… infact.. even worst than SCs and STs) to go for institution-building. Mr. Kapil Sibal, for all his creative ideas and energies., did not go for basic infrastructural work. Reason : There is no money. Muslims need Quality Schools (K-12). There are 700 Kendriya Vidyalayas.. (Run by the Central Govt thru an Organisation). Muslims too., need 700 – 1000 Kendriya Vidyalayas (Name them “Maulana Azad Vidyalayas”)., and teach the CBSE Sylabbus… English… Hindi… French/ Sanskrit / Mandarin/ Urdu as 3rd lanaguage. There is no Hindu-Urdu JHAGDA at all.

    Indian muslims must outgrow the Hindu-Urdu Jhagda., and adopt French or Chinese (Mandarin) as their 3rd language. As for 1st language : it should be French… and 2nd language should be Hindi. Hindi is a great language and so is Sanskrit. I am sure if Muslims read and write in that language., they can enrich Hindi literature too. (inspite of all the support of the Govt. Hindi is not showing any signs of “creative health”. it is on an artificial respiratory system. Languages need not necessarily thrive., with Govt. support. But certainly when Govt. adopts step-motherly treatment against a language.. classic example.. Urdu in India… closure of Urdu Medium High Schools., non-hiring of teachers. [empty vacancies for the past 40-50 yrs]., denial of aid., allowing existing schools to fall apart on their own… gradually these become ruins… and die a natural death].

    In today’s world.. Indian Muslims need secular education. As regards other objections.. issues.. Hindi-Urdu., or Vande Mataram etc. etc. these can be discussed later after 100 yrs.. In the interim., lets take to Science and Math… with a vengeance.

  242. hayyer

    no-communal:

    Your version of the first performance of Jana Gana Mana seems to be the authentic one. I now have a reliable account.
    On the music of BM I seem to remember an essay by RN Tagore himself (I cannot recall where I read it) saying that his father composed the music for that piece.

  243. Prasad

    Dastagir Sept 20,2010 12.20pm

    Although I disagree on your opinion about the ’causes’ for reduction in muslims in educational institutions and your enormously skewed views on making mountain out of molehill from RSS ( you dont do that for Indian Mujahideen who are far more dangerous and are doing concentration camp style training to their cadres across hinterlands), I agree fully that the education representation of muslims lack enormously and that each muslim parent should put their ward to mainstream schools and also have theology as part time classes ( like how brahmins are doing these days) INSTEAD of the other way round

    I also agree with you that English needs to be encouraged big time across subcontinent since the nations are historically impoverished of capital and the only way we would survive is by growing services industry big time. Indians have experienced it and with 3% of global outsourcing pie we do 60 bn USD annually. We need to take atleast 20% of the share in the next 2 decades. That WILL certainly wipe out multiple anomalies in the society. Wishfully Good education -good job-good life leads to good riddance of MNS-Shivsena-Darululoom-Indian mujahideen nexus