Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Vande Mataram – Uncalled For Discordant Notes

It is astonishing and deplorable to see, how a National Song that should hold most prized place in every citizen’s heart renders itself to furore and passionate polarized views by diverse political parties and communities.

The issue gained prominence in the wake of the statement by Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari that singing of Vande Mataram is anti-islamic and amounts to suppression of the Muslim community. Very recently, there have been reports of Muslim leaders in Hyderabad issuing ‘fatwas’ against singing of the song by Muslims. Soon after Bukhari’s comments, the ruling Congress party was quick to address the ‘concerns’ of aggrieved community with HRD Minister Arjun Singh and Information & Broadcasting Minister Mr. Priyaranjan Das Munshi stating that singing of the song can not be imposed against the will of the community and need not be made compulsory for recitation.

The comments by the respectable Ministers have raised a furore and the ongoing Parliament session witnessed justified protests lead notably by BJP and its allies. The stand of the ruling Government on the issue, smacks of political opportunity and indulgence in appeasement of Muslim community. It is unfortunate and deplorable to see the song of the motherland being dragged in to mud slinging and tossed irreverently for want of true national pride and spirit. The blame for the unrest and undignified stand taken by the community rests squarely with religious leaders like Bukari and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. It clearly indicates to a sinister evil design on the part of these ‘Leaders’ of the community to harp on issues that would be divisive rather than on the mountains of development problems the community is perennially engraved in. The song which should have had an overwhelming national consensus as a symbol of India’s nationalistic pride is being taken as cause to establish a distinct Muslim identity superseding the national identity guaranteed and established in the Constitution of the country for all its citizens.

The Vande Mataram song authored by Bankim Chandra Chatterji, does not allude to any religious sentiments and was purely a reflection of the pride esteem with which the Nation should be held by its citizens. The song held sway during the freedom movement and was the fulcrum around which the selfless citizens and leaders fought against the British. It inspired millions and brought under its spell devout nationalist leaders to sacrifice their lives and work for the liberation of India. In the aftermath of freedom and partition of the country, the Congress party wary of political implications, declared Vande Mataram as a National Song and Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana as a National Anthem.

The fabric of India’s diversity and co-existence of several communities is further strained and eroded with National pride becoming suppressed by dogmatic religious faith. Plagued as it is by issues of underdevelopment and lack of opportunities, the country stands a mute witness to the deplorable stand of Muslim leaders and all their arguments of Vande Mataram being anti-Islamic and opposition to its singing, sound hollow and bereft of true considerations. Alienated and disintegrated from the national mainstream the community already is, the hardened opposition seems to be well-conceived plot to seek further new grounds to expand its religious identity and remain impervious to visions of a developed India. It should dawn on these leaders that though Islam abhors worshipping anyone other than Prophet, it is binding and a constitutional duty of the citizens to respect the Nation and its national treasures of identity and nationhood.

Many Muslims argue about why every time the community’s patriotic leanings are put to question and test. Surely, there are not any instances other than pride and respect shown to the Nation’s song, anthem and symbols to show one’s allegiance besides, the reverence and respect one holds in conscience. If the community does feel truly about the National anthem, then why a song which euphemizes highest respect and obeisance to Motherland should be labeled anti-Islamic when it makes no references of any kind to any religion or beliefs. If worshipping reverently the Motherland is considered blasphemous and same as worshipping the supreme God (Of whatever identity) then, it is no different from treating the worshipping of one’s parents as equivalent to the Supreme force that pervades. The two view points are poles apart and are fundamentally distinct.

In these times of rapid emergence of separatist religious identities and fundamentalism, the vociferous opposition would further delineate the Muslim community from the national mainstream and would lead to suspicions on the community being ever vigilant, to establish its faith of supremacy over national interests and progress.

The Congress ever eager to chance up on an opportunity to please the Muslim leaders has taken a expected stand by singing in tune with Shahi Imam Bukhari. It has demonstrated again how far removed it remains and how unwilling it is in realizing “One India, One Nation, One People” dream of our freedom fighters.

There ever can be no divergent views based as they might be on any considerations with regard to the allegiance citizens owe to the country and its constitution. If every symbol of nationalism is equated to religious priorities and dogmatic perceptions, what would emerge more forcefully is the spectre of damaging threats to national integration and not the compassionate bindings of mutual respect and love for nation and its every citizen in a vast and diverse country like India.

It should dawn our political leaders and Muslim community alike that the more this kind of retrograde moves and stands are trumpeted, the stronger would be the blow to the already embittered notion of national integration. The communities would be driven further in to the mindless morass of insignificant issues and made to pay severely by the acts of unpatriotic and selfish politicians.

If our political leaders have scant disregard to prized possessions and symbols of INDIA, let its citizenry not remain blindfolded through religious dogmas. It is high time, all communities realize and rise in unison to sing honor and respect to the Motherland unequivocally. Shall this remain a pipedream...,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When Arun Shourie Speaks... - Part 2

In the last article, I had left out some important points in the latter half of Shourie’s talk. One of my friends- Ramana, suggested me to include those points. Hence I made an effort to add some more points, thanking Ramana. I also thank Indraneel for his feedback on my typos and grammar.

In his talk Shourie stressed an important point. The political class, as closely seen by him for 30 years now, recommending reservation has nothing to do with compassion towards the backwards classes. It is purely vote bank politics. To know the true color of these politicians their social practice must be closely watched. For example, which doctors do they go to when they are ill? In one of the cases, a politician wanted a German made dialysis machine, nothing less, and in spite of the machine being an easily operated one, he wanted two Germans to come down all the way to operate the machine. All these at the cost of taxpayers’ money!

And how did the Mandal commission come about? Devilal, the vice president then, had to quit his post in a forged document case. He challenged to gather a mammoth 10 lakh people, supporting him. V P Singh panicked and to nullify the effect of this he brought about Mandal commission. Compassion, heart crying for the poor etc. are sheer concoctions.

To put an end to this stupid caste based reservations, we must come up with alternatives. So what are those alternatives?

  1. Reservations must not be given based on caste, religion, birth etc. It must be completely based on secular aspects.
  2. None of the jobs, seats in the educational institutions, promotions etc. must be given as an entitlement. Everyone must strive to get it. Else it will hamper the growth.
  3. We must provide positive help for enabling everyone to compete and aspire for reaching higher status. Provide better food, space, books, computer facilities, scholarships etc.
  4. All the support must be given to the individuals but not a group.
  5. In identifying the individual to whom the benefits must be given, secular criteria such as his income, assets must be seen.

Caste based politics can only lead to disaster. Just like there was a backlash because of the reversal of Shah Bano case verdict which ended in the bringing down of the Babri Masjid, this reservation will also result in a backlash. And its effects will be much more than what you and I could imagine. Its time for us to put a halt to this caste based rhetorics which otherwise would spell disaster for all of us.

When Arun Shourie Speaks ...

Last Thursday Dr. Arun Shourie was giving a talk on “Equal Opportunities: Alternatives & their Efficacies” (no prizes for guessing that the talk was against the reservations) at IISc through our students’ forum called Prasthutha. It was an absolute delight to listen to him. I put some key points of his talk here.

Indian Constitution has given high prominence for equality. But has also said that the ways and means in which it should be brought about should not affect the efficiency and hence the growth of the nation. Else it would lead to other adverse repercussions. But what is happening today? We have become experts in identifying inequality. Courtesy: Leftist rhetorics. Our eyes are strained to look at injustice, problems, inequality etc. So we start writing about it. Then the people suffering from so called inequality read it and come to us, and then we write more about it, and if that is exhausted we go around and discover inequality. Finally, if we can’t discover inequality we invent it!!!

There is no historical evidence to prove that Manusmriti was practiced in actuality. No one has ever given evidence regarding its practice. Marxist historians keep referring to the same few verses in it and say more than a millennium was full of upper cast extortions. Even just for the sake of it if you consider it were to be true, the makers of the Constitution were no fools to recommend reservation for just 10 years to compensate for the mistakes of one full millennium. So, the Constitution does not recommend reservation to compensate for the historical mistakes. It was inevitable at the time of Puna pact, 1932- when Gandhiji had to agree to it to avoid separate electorate based on caste.

Now we take a look at one of the progressive judges making some statements in his judgment. What do you mean by equality of opportunity if it does not produce equal outcome? If the outcome is not equal then the equal opportunity was a sham!! That is the (il)logical level to which our progressive judges can go!! He quotes to a write up called “Merit My Foot” (written in Rise and Awakening of Depressed Classes in India by a backward cast propagandist) in his judgment and states “nowhere merit is given such high importance as in India. It’s a pure invention to maintain the monopoly of the upper caste. Upper cast people keep the vast original inhabitants untouchables, tribals, backward castes, religious minorities…” The judge in his emotional judgment has forgotten that the religious minorities are not original inhabitants!! There is another twist to this statement, which is mentioned in Shourie’s latest book “Falling Over Backwards”. The twist is the author of the book "Rise and Awakening .." sources the statement to “THE HINDU” newspaper of 1931!! And which year was the judgment made? 1992!! So the judge took the situation of India in 1931 as reported by a newspaper and made this judgment. No verification of the ground reality was made.

Finally few lines about Madal commission. What was the basis for deciding caste based reservation in 1992? The 1931 census report! Because, after 1931, there was no caste based enumeration in census. But if you read the census report of 1931, you will see that province after province the chief commissioners of census have reported that the caste system was fluidic and it was undergoing a rapid change. They had a great difficulty in caste based enumeration. To illustrate the problem just one line is sufficient: The total population of India was estimated to be 352.8 million and the total no: people covered by caste based table was 220.7 million. Finally they had to abandon that. But Mandal commission took it from there 61 years later, distorted the figures arbitarily and made its notorious recommendations!

These are few glimpses of what was there in the talk. To listen to the complete talk visit The entire talk can be downloaded. If you want the video file of the talk, I will be more than happy to provide you. Mail me at Also read Shourie’s book ‘Falling Over Backwards” to know more about these issues. Once again the statement turns out be true: “When Shourie speaks Marxists vanish”

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