Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Odd opposition to the ode

Odd opposition to the ode

Author: S Gurumurthy
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: August 24, 2006

How is it that Islamic leaders don't feel as threatened by terrorism as by the National Song?

Last week, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board vowed not to allow Muslim children to sing the National Song Vande Mataram as required by none other than the 'secular' UPA Government's most 'secular' Minister, Mr Arjun Singh. But the AIMPLB made a generous concession in favour of Jana Gana Mana saying Muslims had "no problem" in singing the National Anthem.

Soon other Islamists joined to oppose Vande Mataram. The reason: The song, which hails Bharat Mata, is against Islamic principles, they said. Vande Mataram, which so offends them, is no ordinary song but the very soul of our freedom movement. Post-freedom, 'secular' politics had hidden the role of Vande Mataram from most young Indians. So some recall of the history of this song is necessary.

When the Constituent Assembly discussed whether Vande Mataram or Jana Gana Mana should be the National Anthem, Nehru described the argument as unfortunate. He said that Vande Mataram was "obviously and indisputably the premier national song of India" with "a great historical tradition, and intimately connected with our struggle for freedom." "That position," he said, "it was bound to retain and no other song can displace it." He declared Vande Mataram will continue to be "the national song par excellence". Muslim representatives in the Constituent Assembly agreed on this.

The history of this great song dates back to 19th century. Rabindranath Tagore first sang this song in the Calcutta Congress session of 1896. Later, in 1920s, Muslim separatists began opposing the song. Still, the Congress Working Committee, which met at Calcutta on October 26, 1937, under Nehru's leadership, recalled that "the song and the words thus became symbols of national resistance to British imperialism" and asserted that they "ever remind us of our struggle for national freedom". The present opposition to Vande Mataram is a tragic replay of the Islamic separatist ideology that emerged in the 1920s, graduated as anti-national movement in 1930s and led to partition in 1940s, with the nationalists compromising with separatists at every stage.

But see the frightening contrast now. The Islamist clergy sees danger to Islam in a song that was central to our freedom movement. But, horrifyingly, it sees no danger in the emergence of Islamic terror, particularly the home grown one. The clergy - even those claiming to be liberal among Islamists - do not view the rise of Islamist terror as a danger to Islam. They do not see, for instance, a terror outfit like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) as a danger to Islam. Heard of a single recognised Muslim voice speaking a word against SIMI or SIMI like jihadi outfits mushrooming in the country?

If fatwa could be issued against Muslim children singing a patriotic song, why is it not issued against anti-national Islamist terrorists who hurl bombs and kill innocents? If they could ban a nationalist song, why not bombs and bomb-throwing SIMIs? Why are they deafeningly silent? The benevolent reason in their favour could only be that they are as much afraid of terror. And that they are also frightened to say that they are so afraid!

It is surprising, therefore, that the Islamic leadership in India is worried about the suffix 'terror' that has got added to Islam in public discourse. So, worried, a few of them rushed to Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Manmohan Singh the other day, pleading that the entire Islamic community should not be linked to terror. Little do they realise that it is not the Indian Government that links Islam to terror, which is characterised as Islamic in global discourse.

It does not require a seer to find why the world sees a link between terror and Islam and why Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Manmohan Singh cannot delink the two.

First, the Islamist leadership sidesteps and escapes what should worry them more than it worries others. That is, it is not just that all terrorists are, by accident, Muslims, but that terror originates in some interpretation of the Islamic faith that inspires the terrorists to turn jihadis and mass-kill others.

Not a single Islamic school has challenged the terror outfits for a debate on Islam, which the leaders claim as a religion of peace and which the terrorists claim as sanctioning terror, to establish that the terrorists are anti-Islamic!

On the other hand, the Islamist leadership escapes this stark reality - of the terrorists claiming inspiration from the Islamic faith - by pleading that it is the Islamic tag to terror that harms Islam and Muslims, not the Islamic face of terror itself. Next, the worlds sees - and so do most Indians - the Islamist leaders condemning terror but not condemn the terror outfits that perpetrate terror.

The question is: When Islamic leaders call terror un-Islamic, why can't they name SIMI or LeT or sundry jihadi outfits anti-Islamic? Or understand why the terror tag is attached to Islam? The sooner the Islamist leaders realise that danger to Islam comes from not such innocuous things as Vande Mataram, but from the deafening silence of the community when SIMIs and jihadis do death dance in the name of Islam, the better for them and the country.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements