The controversy over Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Vande Mataram that was adopted as India’s national song in 1950 refuses to die down.
On Sunday, a procession of members of various communities — allegedly including some Muslims — sang Vande Mataram first at a temple and later in front of a mosque in Betul, 200 km south of Bhopal.
The event evoked differing reactions from the Hindu groups and Muslim clerics, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is opposing a fatwa (religious edict) by the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind on November 3 in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, banning the song as it was against the tenets of Islam.
In 2006, Darul Uloom, a top Muslim seminary in Deoband, put the ban for the first time. However, Darul Uloom Vice Chancellor Maulana Abdul Khalik Madrasi, however, said on Monday: “Fatwa is not an order, but a guiding principle. People may abide it or ignore it.”
Sunil Dwivedi, coordinator of Balaji Seva Samiti, which organised the programme, claimed the Imam of the mosque, Hafiz Abdul Razique, had invited the procession to sing the song at the mosque.
But Imam Razique later told Hindustan Times: “The group was passing by the Chowk Bazaar and stopped in front of the Jama Masjid. When some of them asked me if they could sing the song there, I said I had no problem.”
The BJP has decided to make singing of Vande Mataram a core issue in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections to be held on November 23.
Although BJP state spokesperson and state home minister Umashankar Gupta said, those opposed the recital of Vande Mataram “should take a lesson from this”, Jamiat Ulema chief general secretary Mufti Zia Ulllah Qasmi stuck to the ban: “The Shariat does not permit singing the song.”