“A THUMBNAIL HISTORY OF THE OPPOSITION OF MUSLIMS TO THE CHANTING OF THE VANDE MATHARAM BHAJAN”
Convener, ALL INDIA FORUM OF MUSLIM JOURNALISTS
22/51, Barracks Road Periamet, CHENNAI 600003
The song “BANDE MATHARAM” was composed by a Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhiya in his novel “ANANDA MATH’’ in 1870. “Bande Matharam” means: “MY OBEISANCE TO MOTHER INDIA”. Since the day, the novel came out, fanatic Hindus commenced making a rigid demand that the song should be sung by Muslims in Legislative Assemblies and Municipal bodies. And his demand was, equally forcefully and consistently opposed by Muslim law-makers, members of Municipal Councils and the like. The weak demand of Hindu communalists has become a phehelwaan with the rise of their political power.
The opposition of Muslims to be compelled to sing that song is based on the Islamic direction NOT to bow before any deity except Allah. The direction includes even the chanting of any song or verses from a song in which the singer has to declare that he or she bows before anything or anybody. In B.C.Chattopadhiya’s song the wordings are: “I BOW BEFORE YOU O, MOTHER EARTH.’ What right have Hindu fanatics to compel Muslims to violate the injunctions of the God Almighty whom they worship and the directions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [peace be on him] of whom they are followers.
The writer of this write-up narrates an incident which occurred in the Madras Legislative Assembly before Independence. Just before the Assembly Sessions commenced, the members of the Congress Party commenced singing of the VANDE MATHARAM and started calling upon the Muslim members to join them. One Muslim member named CHOTAYJAN, who represented GUNTUR constituency, flatly refused saying: ‘EVEN IF YOU CUT OFF MY TONGUE, I WILL NOT UTTER THOSE WORDS”. It is these very same words which one of the OWAISIS of the All India Majlis-e-Ithehadhul Muslimeen repeated when asked if he had any objection to the singing of that controversial song.
The Muslim minority community is not demanding any special concessions but is calling upon the Government and the members of the Majority community to render unto Caeser what belongth to Caeser ; nothing more; nothing less. That this demand is just and reasonable, all Justice-loving compatriots will surely endorse. The writer hopes better counsel prevail and the members of the misguided majority community will cease compelling their Non-Hindu co-citizens to sing VANDE MATHARAM.