A top functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has said that ‘Vande Mataram’ is the real national anthem as opposed to the ‘constitutionally-mandated’ Jana Gana Mana.
“Jana Gana Mana is today our national anthem. It has to be respected. There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment,” said Bhaiyyaji Joshi, general secretary of the organisaton.
“But it is the national anthem as decided by the Constitution. If one considers the true meaning, then Vande Mataram is the national anthem,” he said on Friday at the Deendayal Upadhyay Research Institute in Mumbai.
“We consider things created due to the Constitution to be national,” Joshi said.
“When was Jana Gana Mana written? It was written some time back. But the sentiments expressed in Jana Gana Mana have been expressed keeping the state in view,” he said.
“However, the sentiments expressed in Vande Mataram denote the nation’s character and style. This is the difference between the two songs. Both deserve respect,” Joshi said.
Joshi’s comment came days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the organisation wants to make the country exploitation-free and full of self-respect and whole world to salute India.
“We want the whole world to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. We want to make Bharat (India) rich, free from exploitation and full of self-respect. For that we will have to live that Bharat in our lives,” Bhagwat had said on March 27.
However, a day later Bhagwat asked the organisation’s cadre to refrain from forcing people to chant the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan.
‘Vande Mataram’, literally, “I praise thee, Mother”, is a poem by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. A hymn to the ‘Mother Land’, it played a vital role in the Indian independence movement. In 1950, the song’s first two verses were given the official status of the “national song”, distinct from the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.