BMC wants to make singing Vande Mataram compulsory in Mumbai schools
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BMC wants to make singing Vande Mataram compulsory in Mumbai schools

Opposition corporators allege the proposal moved by BJP’s Sandeep Patel was passed in the general body meeting without any discussion.

mumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2017 01:15 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Vande Mataram,National song,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation proposes to make singing ‘Vande Mataram ‘ compulsory in all civic body-run schools(HT Photo for representational purpose only. )

The BMC on Thursday passed a proposal to make singing ‘Vande Mataram’ compulsory in civic-run schools, sparking protests from some corporators.

The notice of motion moved by BJP corporator Sandeep Patel was passed in the general body meeting of elected representatives without any discussion, alleged corporators. There are approximately 1,025 civic school in the city and 448 aided schools.

The proposal was passed exactly a year after the BMC passed another controversial proposal to make yoga and surya namaskar mandatory in civic schools. That move has since fizzled out.

Patel, a corporator from Goregaon, moved the notice of motion following the Madras high court’s July order to make singing Vande Mataram mandatory in all government schools, colleges and universities in Tamil Nadu at least once a week. Patel said the song should be sung in civic-run schools and schools aided by the BMC at least twice a week.

It should also be sung in all civic committee meetings. Vande Mataram is already played before and after the general body meeting, for which all 227 corporators assemble, at the BMC headquarters.

Corporators alleged the motion was passed without a discussion or polling.

Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator, said, “We demanded the mayor take a vote to decide the outcome of the proposal. We walked out after the proposal was passed without a debate.”

Shaikh said the word Vandan refers to puja (worship). “Muslims cannot worship anyone but Allah,” Shaikh said in his press statement.

Several Muslim organisations have also opposed compulsory singing in Tamil Nadu saying it goes against the tenets of their religion.

Officials from the BMC said the proposal will now be sent to the civic chief. In case of a motion moved by the corporation, the civic administration looks at its feasibility and sends a reply to the corporation.

In his proposal, Patel said the song is as important as the national anthem and evokes a strong sense of patriotism. Speaking to HT, the corporator from Goregaon said, “Singing the song will ensure civic students feel patriotic about their country. It will evoke a strong sense of nationalism among them. It was a song composed during India’s struggle for Independence. Why should there be any opposition to make it mandatory?”

Congress corporator and opposition leader Ravi Raja said that a similar proposal was introduced in the corporation in 2004 but rejected by the then civic chief.

Raja said, “We think that such decisions should not be made mandatory in a democracy. If the minorities are not comfortable, then why make it binding on them?” Another corporator Asif Zakaria from Congress said that BJP is only trying to politicise the issue. “Why not make singing the national anthem compulsory? What is the rationale behind this proposal?”

In August 2016, the corporation passed a similar motion to make yoga and surya namaskar compulsory in civic schools. A senior civic official from the education department said that the administration was not in favour of backing the proposal. “Only the administration can understand the feasibility and implement a motion passed by the corporation,” the official said.

First Published: Aug 10, 2017 22:11 IST