After Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, the vice president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, yet another Shia cleric Maulana Hamidul Hasan has made it clear that Muslims have no objection to singing Vande Matram, the national song, not as a form of worship but in praise of the motheraland.
What's more, the assertion came in the presence of K Sudarshan, former RSS Chief at Maulana Hasan's residence in the old city on Sunday.
Flanked by Sudarshan, who visited the Shia leader in a welcome show of solidarity on, the Shia cleric urged all clerics to come together on one platform to settle the controversy.
"To date not many Muslims know what the words contained in the verse Vande Matram ctually mean. I want to make it clear that as far as praising one's motherland is concerned, no one has any objection to it. It is just that we are opposed to worshipping anyone else but the almighty. So the clerics should first come together to understand what the Sanskrit ode to the motherland actually says,' he says.
The former RSS chief welcomed the stand saying that "I fail to understand why some people think of raking up non issues. It's very clear that Muslims are as much a part of India as any other community. It's wrong to call them a minority for 99.9 per cent of Muslims were born in India and are an inseparable part of India."
Sudarshan also said that an Urdu translation of the national song was being done by few people in order to make the meaning of the verses contained in the national song clear to one and all.
The issue came to light after Deoband Islamic seminary in western UP issued a fatwa asking all Muslims not to sing Vande Matram. But now clerics have started questioning the move.
"I think the seminary should first come out clearly about how they interpret the national song otherwise there is no point talking about it," Maulana Hasan said.
Sudarshan also said holding Muslims responsible for country's partition was wrong. The meeting of the two religious leaders was organised by Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an outfit floated in 2002 to bring the two communities and their religious heads together and thrash out all contentious issues through dialogue.
Sudarshan's comments received a positive response from the Shia cleric who said, "For Muslims Pakistan is a non entity and no Muslim worth his salt agrees with the creation of Pakistan. This applies equally to Muslims in Pakistan. If they had any soft corner for Pakistan, then Bangladesh would not have been possible. The creation of Bangladesh is a testimony that Muslims do not identify with Pakistan and hence it was wrong to dub them anti-national."
Mohd Afzal, national convenor of Muslim Rashtriya Manch said the programme of bringing the RSS and Muslims religious leaders together was to remove all misgivings and to help both the communities adopt a progressive agenda.
"After minor issues like the Vande Matram etc are sorted out, we would gradually move towards finding a solution to complex problems like the Ayodhya tangle," he said.