June 15, 2006

Sing it at the passport office

Are you upset that some "clerics" have issued a "fatwa" against Muslim kids singing Vande Mataram in school? So am I. Because to me, telling people not to sing a song is about as infantile as insisting, as some others do, that people must sing it.

But if those kids don't sing the song, even Vande Mataram, are they automatically suspect Indians?

Why?

Turn the question around. Take HKL Bhagat, the Congress politician named in various reports as having directed massacres of Indians in Delhi in 1984. He's dead now, of course. But suppose every time someone confronted him with his crimes, he broke into a heartfelt rendition of Vande Mataram. Would you hail him as a patriotic Indian, instead of whatever he was?

Why not?

Now there are reasons Muslims have had problems with Vande Mataram, including the content of the book it first appeared in. But those reasons don't interest me much, nor are they particularly relevant here. What is relevant is the reduction of as complex a thing as citizenship, or loyalty to a country, to the singing of a song, even Vande Mataram.

After all, why do you fill out a long and detailed form when you want a passport? Why do you supply photographs? Why do you offer some proof of your residence, and submit to a police check?

Why can't you get a passport by simply singing Vande Mataram at the nearest passport office?

There's more to being a citizen of this country than simply singing a song, even Vande Mataram. Think about it.

14 comments:

tejal said...

Patriotism in itself is highly over-rated in my opinion. Issuing fatwas is nonsensical, but i do have other problems with the song. Its these emotions of pride that are used to justify genocide, spending millions on testing nuclear weapons, and war.
Like Emma Goldman says
"Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.
Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our times, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment for the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the average workingman".

Anonymous said...

tejal, this Tallstoy chap sounds like your 'lal-salam' naxal fellow.

Prerona said...

u have raised a very good angle and something that should have been basic enough to be obvisou - totally agree ...

also, curious about why 'muslims' wouldnt like vande mataram or ananda ashram? u did say that another diff issue - just curious!

ps - i used the apostrophe for
'muslims' bcz i felt that u might have been making a generalisation here ... and i personally - just my personal opinion - dont feel very comfortable with generalisations when it comes to humans

V. said...

another issue, broadly similar, happened in Kerala, when they tried to make the singing of Saraswati Vandanam compulsory.
liek you so rightly point out, both the rule and the objection are, put together, such a waste of time.

Boskoe said...

Hey Dilip,

Very curious about your remark that the contents of the book "Anand Math" was objectionable to some Muslims. Can you elaborate on that?

I completely agree with you on the issue. I am surprised where this will all end - "preventing people from singing vande matarams", "preventing children from singing nursery rhymes in the name of nationalism". Have all the other issues affecting Indians been solved? Are these the issues that the politicians / religious leaders are focussing on? all I can say is "Vande Mataram"...

Anonymous said...

>>he broke into a heartfelt rendition of Vande Mataram

Curious, when/where did HKL break into Vande Mataram?

sv said...

Umm, there's some sentimentalism associated with symbols and songs of patriotism - and though i agree with all you say, i feel like continuing to have Vande Mantram as something meaningful. I don't even know why.

chandni said...

Deelip,

What r u talking abt?? Is the protest a result of someone being forced to sing the song? I dont think so?? havent the mullas decided pretty early that the song offends them??
And then, is it anyways about individual rights? I dont see any one person having a problem...its more of a mob hellbent upon being fanatic!!!


You said, There's more to being a citizen of this country than simply singing a song, even Vande Mataram.


well, there should be more to being a "good muslim" apart from rejecting a song that says nothing bad abt ur religion, actually doesnt tsay anthing abt ur religion....and praises ur motherland.

Would love to meet a God who's be pleased woth this effort in his name.

Big deal!!

Anonymous said...

Who insisted that people must sing that song ? Its just that some schools sing the song in their morning assemblies. In fact, the school I studied at used to sing "Our father in heaven" - a Christian hymn, and yes, no one was exempt from the morning assembly or singing the hymn.

Singing the song does not absolve one of guilt or make one a patriot, yet a stubborn refusal to sing the song on the grounds that Islam is higher than the motherland is the result of Islamist idealogy.

What it means is, that if someone was to convince the mullahs who issued this fatwa and the people who follow it, that there was a war afoot between Islam and the Indian state, the people who followed the fatwa and the mullahs themselves would not hesitate in siding with the forces of Islam, against the state of India.

People are right to be leary about such nonsense.

Sudeep

Marxuddin Briganzulla said...

Let us ask some really uncomfortable questions for a change.

1. Why does the "Muslimness" test demand rejection of Vande Mataram?

2. If Hindus could accept Iqbal's sare-jahaan-se-achcha, reasoning that it is irrational to hate a song because of its author who was a communal bigot, why do Muslims have a problem with Vande Mataram which at any rate was totally divested of the context of its origins by the time it became popular with Gandhi & co, even if assuming, as our glib "secularists" claim, that he was "communal"?

3. On the contrary, if the song is 'objectionable' on the grounds that Muslims cannot bow to anybody but Allah as mad mullahs claim: why not? Why does this irrational belief need to be respected? Is there out there not a single Muslim liberal who thinks it ridiculous that Allah would have hang-ups about a song!??

4. If Allah indeed can't stand Muslims bowing to their motherland, what does it say about Islam? A religion of love and peace? Or a religion founded in intolerance and bigotry?

5. Why does one have to prove one's "secularism" by NOT asking uncomfortable questions of Muslim communalists and their non-Muslim, Hindu-hating allies? Who has developed a vested interest in NOT subjecting Islam to scrutiny? In equating 'secularism' with kissing the butt of fatwa-issuing mullahs?

barbarindian said...

If the kids do not want to sing that song, they should not be forced to.

Clerics have no business declaring what the kids want to sing, they can not make that choice.

These Muzzy clerics should be rounded up and given a choice: either go to Pakistan or be shot. Any individual who claiims that his religious books are above the constitution should be given the same treatment.

Once again, let me remind you that Zarqawi had a 14 year old wife.

Anonymous said...

>>let me remind you that Zarqawi had a 14 year old wife.


And a ration card from UP too.

What's your point. So with marriage he's lived up to the traditions set by PBHU himself.

Of course Dilip's bloged here about some random statement by a MP CM on child-marriage - hint the CM was a NDA or BJP guy ;)

Anonymous said...

can you get a passport with koran, you might get a passport to terror with it. its not about singing it or not but none has the right to issue orders not to sing it.

foolish mullahs

Anonymous said...

if you do not want ot sing vande mataram because it praises a mother land go to pakistan. why do the pakistanis sing their anthem. time has come that muslims can speak anything and the majorities have to listen.

thses mullahs are dangerous than the terrorists