Sept 7 (2006) marks 100 year anniversary for our National Song Vande Mataram.
Instead of just celebrating this event we have got ourselves mired in a controversy. BJP wants compulsory singing of this song on this day while Arjun Singh said it would be nice to sing it but it’s not mandatory. When asked 'what about some people protesting against singing it', he responded – “They can stay home”. But for some reason BJP and its affiliates are not happy with this response. May be they were expecting a different response from Arjun Singh, something like – Yes, I decree that everyone in
There are many things that have changed in my life. As a young boy, I used to adore certain film Actress and I put her pictures (hundreds of them) on the walls of my room. Now, I don’t find that adoration for her any more. The same is true for many of my obsessions and love objects- it could be a friend, movie, song or a food item. The ones that I liked, loved or obsessed a lot when I was young, I don’t necessarily carry the same strong feelings any more. I guess we all change, we mature. However we do have longing for certain things of the past. One thing that never changed for me since my childhood was my liking for our National Song and National Anthem. Each time I hear them, in any form, hair on my skin stand up straight, and for a while I am enraptured – I love the feeling.
I have often wondered what it is about these songs and my feelings for them. Am I patriotic? Am I a nationalist? Am I a die-hard fanatic? Or am I a fool?
I don’t think I am a patriot in the traditional sense- I don’t support many of my country’s actions - in fact I oppose many of them. I am not a nationalist either- while I am a proud Indian I don’t necessarily believe my country is the greatest. I don’t think I am a fanatic either because I am not ready to die or kill to defend my beliefs. And I am no fool either – because I keep questioning myself a lot.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.- Bertrand Russell
I grew up singing our National Song and National Anthem everyday for the first few years of my school. Then I joined a
What is it about me that my memory selectively chooses one song while it completely ignores the other one?
Why do I feel so good when I listen to our National Song/Anthem? Is it the same feeling the religious people get when they listen to prayers to their God? Is it important for us Indians to know our National Song/Anthem? Do all religious people know their prayers? Suppose, a religious person does not know his prayers or refuses to sing them; will he be considered a heretic?
Should Muslims in India sing this song if they want to show us rest (the majority) that they are indeed patriotic? Especially during the testing times such as now – should Muslims do something more to prove that they indeed love
Why do we need symbols- Like national flag, national anthem/song, etc? Yes, every religion has symbols; every organization and every cult has symbols. Should nations need them as well? Why do we identify ourselves with symbols in order to belong to a group? Should the respect and love for these symbols be enforced? Or is the love for and practice of such symbols voluntary?
I like it that I am able to feel the joy when I listen to these songs. Should I expect that everyone else feels the same about it? Is being Indian following and respecting these symbols? Let’s say there is a law abiding citizen who does not do any harm to that nation but has grudge against certain symbols the nation imposes onto him. And say there is another citizen who sings the National songs loud and clear, paints Indian flag on his face, but takes law unto his own hands, breaks it whenever necessary to his convenience. Who is a better citizen? And who is going to judge who is better? Who is going to decide the symbols and who is going to enforce them?
Yes, I love Vande Mataram and I would like to sing it on
Some of the blogs that I have read accused Muslims that they take their religion so seriously that they keep their religious identity above nation. Some urge Muslims to sing Vande Mataram - because it is a national symbol and hence should come above their religious identity.
I have my answer to them:
If someone defines a practice of eating meating as one of the rituals of expressing one's patriotism and makes it a national symbol, will the higher caste chaste hindus who practise strict vegetarianism be willing to eat meat just to prove that they are patriotic?
And if those hindus refuse to eat meat, arguing that patriotism has nothing to do with eating certain food item or the other, will others accuse them of mixing nationalism and religious-caste identity?