23 August, 2006

Vande Mataram

A few "Letters to the Editor" published in today's The Hindu:

The controversy triggered by the Union Human Resource Development Minister's observation that the recitation of Vande Mataram in educational institutions is not mandatory and the statement of the Jama Masjid Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, that its rendition is against the tenets of Islam is unfortunate. The national song only salutes the motherland. -Ahmad M. Abdi, Mumbai

Vande Mataram is nothing but a greeting to the motherland and an appreciation of its enchanting natural beauty. It is just a patriotic national song. Let us not offer a narrow, religious interpretation to it. -Mumtaz Ali Khan, Bangalore

'Vande Mataram' was one among the many slogans that united India. According to an HRD directive to the States, the national song must be recited in all educational institutions on September 7 to mark its centenary. Mr. Singh has now indicated that the recitation is not mandatory. Is it necessary to pander to the sentiments of a few in such matters? -D. Venkateswar Rao, Paloncha, A.P.

Is it in order for the Centre to direct the educational institutions to recite the song to honour the patriots and then give in to objections from some quarters? -M.S. Rajasekaran, Chennai

That the recitation of the national song has been made voluntary so as not to hurt the sentiments of a few who feel asking them to sing it would amount to their suppression is condemnable. At a time when the youth are unaware of the origin and importance of our national anthem and song, Mr. Singh's move will go a long way in ensuring that they remain thus. -Mahesh Kolary, Palakkad, Kerala

Defending poet Subramania Bharati's patriotic songs that were banned by the British, Congress leader Satyamurthi pointed to the universality of his songs. The U.S. currency carries the words `In God We Trust,' though many atheists have objected to them. Everyone who is proud to be an Indian should respect the national song. Minority or majority sentiment should not be attached to it. -V.E. Venkataramani, Chennai

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