In the midst of a controversy, the national song
was on Thursday sung across the country to celebrate its centenary but several minority educational institutions abstained from joining.
According to reports from BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, the song written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was sung in educational institutions and in specially organised programmes at 11 am as per an order of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry.
The order of the ministry, which made it clear that the singing of Vande Mataram in schools and colleges would not be mandatory, had sparked a controversy with some Muslim leaders saying the song went against Islamic teachings about not worshipping any person or object.
At a function in Delhi, HRD Minister Arjun Singh joined a large number of students in the singing of the national song while reports of isolated protests by some Muslim bodies came in from Madhya Pradesh.
Students of madrassas in the Muslim-dominated areas of Rajasthan defied the BJP government's order to observe Vande Mataram Day by not singing the song while in other schools celebrations were held.
In Dehradun, where the BJP National Executive is being held, party president Rajnath Singh and senior leader LK Advani led party functionaries in joining the celebrations.
In NDA-ruled Jharkhand, Chief Minister Arjun Munda led scores of BJP leaders and thousands of party workers to sing the national song shortly after 9 am.