‘Vande Mataram’ occupies a “unique and special place” in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated on a par with national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the Centre told the Delhi high court on Wednesday.
The Centre’s response was to public interest litigation seeking equal status for the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ written by poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Seeking dismissal of the plea, the home affairs ministry told a bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that this cannot be accepted.
“While being the authoritative symbols of Indian states, the national flag and the anthem, equally loved and respected, need codification... ‘Vande Mataram’ occupies a unique and special place in the emotions and psyche of the people of India, that requires no formal support or codification,” the ministry said in its recent affidavit.
It said the legal protection is not the only way to ensure that creative work is respected.
“Protection under the law is not only the way to show respect to creative work. Billions of Indians have the deepest respect and unabiding faith in Ramcharitmanas and the Mahabharat...
“A nation has only one flag and one anthem, that does not mean that any less respect is meant to other song or prayers, or that the citizens are prevented from loving, respecting, singing and being emotionally attached to other songs, books or symbols,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit was filed in response to the PIL of Gautam R Morarka, who had sought directions to the Centre to ensure proper dignity and respect for ‘Vande Mataram’ as well.