A CENTRE directive asking the State Government to advise all the schools to recite the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram at 11 am on September 7 is all set to snowball into a major controversy.
September 7 marks the completion of the yearlong 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 recitation of Vande Mataram 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 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 has sent a letter to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav requesting the latter to issue necessary directives for recitation of the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram in all the primary, secondary schools and technical institutes. Singh has 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 national song. The commemoration that began a year ago on September 7, 2005 will come to a close on September 7.
Singh has also touched the history of the national song in his letter saying Bankim Chandra Chaterjee composed Vande Mataram in 1876. Noted poet Rabindra Nath Tagore first recited the national song during the Congress session in Bombay in 1896. It was during agitation against the “Banga Bhang Andolan” 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.
Meanwhile, senior officers of the education department on Friday refused to say anything on record about the directive from the Centre.
An official press release issued later in the evening, however, said the State Government had issued necessary directives to the secretaries of primary, secondary and higher education along with the technical education department to do the needful.