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Vande Mataram chant: It's your wish

Most states say singing of the national song in schools and colleges would not be made compulsory.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2006 04:46 IST

A day ahead of celebrations to mark the centenary of Vande Mataram, most states said the singing of the national song in schools and colleges would not be compulsory even as BJP-ruled states made arrangements for its mandatory recitation in educational institutions and at community events.

There was opposition from Sikh and Muslim groups to making the singing of the song mandatory.

The Students Islamic Organisation of India asked people not to join the celebrations scheduled for 11 am on Thursday. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC) said students in the 16 schools run by Sikh religious associations will not sing the song. "We respect all religions. We are not against Vande Mataram but we also don't want anything to be imposed on us," HS Sarna, DSGPC president said.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, has, however, retracted its earlier whip against the song. In a turnaround, chief of the committee Avtar Singh Makkar said he could not prevent Sikhs from singing Vande Mataram in schools run by the shrine management body.

The governments of Punjab and Haryana have decided in favour of singing Vande Mataram in schools but will not take disciplinary action against those who chose not to implement the order. An order issued by the Human Resource Development Ministry asking all states to organise the singing of Vande mataram on September 7 has sparked a controversy, with some Muslim leaders saying the song went against Islamic teachings about not worshipping any person or object.

The BJP-ruled states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have made the singing of Vande mataram mandatory. In Madhya Pradesh, it will also be sung in government offices.

In Gujarat, the government has organised a programme for singing the national song at the state secretariat. The state government had already issued directions to government offices, municipal corporations, panchayats, state-run boards and corporations, educational institutions, and government-aided institutions to hold "appropriate celebrations”.

In Rajasthan, he state Muslim Forum announced it would defy the official circular. It issued an appeal to the community to prevent children from singing Vande Mataram in educational institutions as well as the 5,000-odd madrasas.

In Orissa and Karnataka, where the BJP is part of the government, the singing has been made mandatory.

It is not compulsory in Bihar, where the BJP is part of the JD(U)-led ruling alliance, but the party has asked its ministers and MLAs to organise the public singing of Vande Mataram.

In Assam, Maharashtra and West Bengal, directives were issued to all schools to ask their students to sing Vande Mataram to mark the centenary of the national song but recital was not made mandatory. The Tamil Nadu government has instructed authorities of all schools and colleges to arrange for community singing of Vande Mataram but only willing students need to participate.