A Central directive asking state governments to advise all the schools to recite the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram at 11 a.m. on September 7 is likely to snowball into a major controversy. September 7 marks the completion of the centenary celebrations to commemorate adoption of the national song.
There is already a strong reaction in the Muslim community with its clerics opposing the move calling it “against the tenets of Islam”. Many of them have urged the community members to ensure that their children do not follow the directive.
Talking to Hindustan Times, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Khalid Rasheed said the recitation of Vande Mataram was a gunah in accordance with the Shariat. Any such directive from a secular government at the Centre was not acceptable, he said.
Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh sent a letter to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav requesting him to issue necessary directives for recitation of the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram in all the primary, secondary schools and technical institutes.
Singh referred to the Centre’s decision to constitute a committee headed by the Prime Minister to commemorate 100 years of adoption of Vande Mataram as the national song. The commemoration began a year ago.
Singh has also touched the history of the national song in his letter saying Bankim Chandra Chatterjee composed Vande Mataram in 1876. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore first recited the national song during the Congress session in Bombay in 1896.
It was during the Banga Bhanga Andolan (Bengal partition stir) in 1905 that Vande Mataram became the battle song in the fight against imperialism. It was adopted as national song in the Varanasi session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on September 7, 1905.
An official press release, however, said the state government had issued necessary directives to the secretaries of the concerned education departments.
Meanwhile, the HRD minister said on Saturday that it would be incorrect to presume that Muslims were against the move. “I do not think Muslims are opposed to the recital of Vande Mataram,” he said.