Hindu Saints waking up to the world challenges
August 23, 2006
Recently, due to extraordinary efforts of Sangh Parivar, more and more spiritual leaders of Hindu Society have woken up to the reality of intolerance and prejudice of non-Hindus towards Hindus. If the following statement is true then I would say, Sangh Parivar has indeed brought about a much needed change in the mindset of Hindu Spiritual leaders.
Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and several other saints have also instructed all Hindu religious places and congregations to start singing the Vande Mataram, according to a press release issued by the Art of Living Foundation.
“Religious intolerance has to stop somewhere. Today, it’s Vande Mataram, tomorrow it could be refusing to say ‘Namaste’ or seeking the removal of the saffron colour from the national flag. This will harm the composite culture and social fabric of India,” the release quoted them as saying.
The song had come in for controversy in recent days with several Muslims, including the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, saying that the song was “against Islamic beliefs”.
I have doubt about the authenticity of this post, because I don’t see any such thing mentioned on the Art of Living website.
The problem with our polity is that we give a lot of importance to ulema who meddle in politics. The other day Ahmed Bukhari (Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid) said that Vande Mataram was un-Islamic but he had no problems singing “Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara”. Now will somebody ask the Imam to explain how the patriotic imagery in Vande Mataram is any different from “Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara?”
If giving your country the status of mother is un-Islamic then calling Hindustan a land better than Mecca too is un-Islamic. Shahi Imam’s exhortations are the outpourings of a vitiated mind. He and his like have always thrived by fishing in troubled waters.
Is my belief in Islamic tenets so weak that singing the National Song or the National Anthem would endanger my faith? In fact, I become a better Mussalman by loving my country, by protecting her prestige and if I meet martyrdom in her defence, Allah would ensure that I get Jannat (heaven).
The likes of Shahi Imam give Hindutva forces the handle to beat Muslims with. Why should we fault Ashok Singhal (Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader) for giving anti-Muslim statements when Shahi Imams say things which give an impression that Muslims are less patriotic than the Hindus?
Media is also responsible for creating such an impression by repeatedly giving publicity to speeches by Imam and other bigots like him. The voices of secular, patriotic and liberal Muslims never get a forum. We live in a liberal society where we are encouraged to know about each other’s religion. Does a Hindu become “ashudh” by going to a Christian missionary school? Don’t the Muslim children going to Christian schools sing psalms from the Bible in the morning assembly? Do they come back home losing their faith? Then how can singing Vande Mataram be un-Islamic?
How come recitation of “Ma Tujhe Salam” composed by AR Rehman is secular and singing Vande Mataram un-Islamic? The whole issue is being politicised by a section of Muslim leaders, who have no janadhar (base) in their constituencies. I am sure a majority of Muslim leaders who are raising objections to Vande Mataram are not even aware of the meaning of the song. Islam asks you to love your nation, your matribhoomi (birth-place) and be a patriot.