The New Horizon

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Vande Mataram

Posted by Barin Chaki on September 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Vande Mataram
Swapan Dasgupta has written an article titled 'Freedom Song' on 'Vande Mataram' with profound historical information and ideological depth. I appreciate the article. But there are certain points, which I want to refer to.
To begin with, let me quote Swapan Dasgupta, from his article:
The voluble Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid pronounced Vande Mataram to be against "Islamic beliefs". Echoing his opposition, S Q R Ilyas, the spokesman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board — a body that has positioned itself as the arbiter of Musliminterests in India — ruled that "Muslims can't sing the song". His reason: "we love the country but don't worship (it). The song talks about worshipping, as in idol worship, which is against the fundamental ethos of Islam. It is a very sensitive issue for Muslims, so they can't be asked to do this even for a single day."
Vande Mataram does not mean any idol worship, as said by SQR Ilyas. Sri Aurobindo translates it as "Mother, I salute to thee !" To regard the country as a Mother is not to make any idol. The country as such is a Mother. As I do not think that the Muslims do not salute anybody, that too, the mother. Is not Quoornish a salute? And that was in practice among the Muslims for more than a thousand year. Saluting the Mother has nothing to do with an idol worship. So, to say that the utterance of Vande Mataram is an Idol worship is a false allegation and a false interpretation. And therefore that cannot be a reason for the fanatics not to utter the words or sing the song. It is sheer fanaticism.
Secondly, Michel Danino has rightly pointed out about the muslims joining in the 1905 agitations in Bengal against the partition. Muslims at that time demonstrated along with Hindus, "singing Vande Mataram together in the streets." It is later that the fanatics spoiled the entire atmosphere. And Jinnah added his venom in the process of later developments.
What Arjun Singh has done in this regard speaks of the courage and character of the present day politicians in India. The present controversy over Vande Mataram is caused by the down-gradation of our national political character. The present-day political leaders have grown morally and ideally much poorer and spineless and to a great extent unpatriotic, having lost all historical sense.
I feel it necessary to quote below the translation of Vande Mataram by Sri Aurobindo, the Person who gave life and force to this Song, creating an unforgettable chapter in the history of the Indian freedom movement, distinct and different from that of Gandhi and Nehru.


Mother, I salute to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Green fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When swords flash out in seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Thou who saves, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foe drove
Back from plain and sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

translated by Sri Aurobindo



** Swapan Dasgupta could have mentioned that in the 1905 agitations in Bengal against the partition, Muslims did demonstrate along with Hindus, singing Vande Mataram together in the streets. It is later on that fanatics in their community started raising objections.Michel [ifih]


Barindranath Chaki



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