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Congress divided Vande Mataram in 1937, and it led to Partition: Amit Shah

Vande Mataram became controversial as a large section of the Muslims were opposed to the worship of Goddess Durga mentioned in the song. Congress later came to the decision that only the first two stanzas, of the originally five-stanza song, would be sung.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2018 23:41 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Amit Shah,Vande Mataram,Partition of India
BJP president Amit Shah addressing the first memorial lecture on Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay at G D Birla auditorium in Kolkata on June 27.(Samir Jana/HT PHOTO)

Partition of India could have been avoided if the Congress adopted Vande Mataram in its entirety as the national song, BJP national president Amit Shah said in Kolkata on Wednesday.

“Congress’s politics of appeasement was expressed through its incomplete acceptance of Vande Mataram in 1937, and it led to the path to Partition. They divided the song and divided the nation,” Shah said while delivering the first Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay Memorial Oration in Kolkata.

The event was organised by a BJP forum, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, to highlight that “Hindutva was an integral part of nationalism and Bengal was the place of origin”.

“Vande Mataram does not belong to any particular religion or language. It unified India. Congress made a blunder by linking the song with religion. I am forced to draw its reference because we must take lessons from the mistakes of the past,” Shah said.

Vande Mataram was originally published as a five-stanza song, in Chattopadhyay’s novel Ananda Math in 1875.

The two words ‘Vande Mataram’ turned into a nationalist war cry. Rabindranath Tagore sang the full song at an All India Congress Committee (AICC) session for the first time in 1896.

However, it became controversial as a large section of the Muslims were opposed to the worship of Goddess Durga mentioned in the song. Tagore wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose (who sought his advice) that any person believing in ‘monotheism’ could find the last three stanzas objectionable. Tagore’s opinion helped AICC to come to the decision that only the first two stanzas would be sung.

“The song was an expression of India’s national revivalism. Our nationalism is cultural nationalism and Bankim Chandra is the fountainhead,” said Shah in his 30-minute speech on Wednesday.

In Bengal for a two-day trip, Shah also met his party’s state election management team and members of its social media cell to discuss strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He asked them to focus on 21 seats that they are most likely to win. The state has 42 Lok Sabha seats and Shah wants BJP to win at least half.

“He (Shah) assured that the national leadership had no hidden understanding with the TMC,” said a state committee member who attended the meeting on election management.

Shah is slated to meet workers in Birbhum district and address a gathering in Purulia Thursday.

“It’s sheer stupidity to target half of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. They would lose even the two they have,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 23:41 IST