Make knowledge of VandeMataram compulsory for MPs, MLAs ,babus

Singing national song may not be an indicator of patriotism, but it definitely shows whether you are a proud, knowledgeable citizen

Rati Hegde

One of the videos doing the rounds is that of a BJP Spokesperson Navin Kumar Singh being unable to sing the VandeMataram properly. Earlier there was Baldev Singh Aulakh, UP Minister, also refused to sing the song on a news channel, presumably he did not know the verses. The reactions to both these range from people expressing shame, anger and disgust to the I-told-you-so sarcasm, I-knew- it self-congratulatory pat, laughter to self-righteous hate for all BJP politicians and so-called bhakts. One person who has got it right was Aamir Raza Hussain, a theatre personality, who stated very clearly that he remembered it since he used to recite it in his school going years. My point is, why blame them alone?

It is time actually for one to sit and ponder at least now as to what is lacking in the system today that people born 15-20 years after Independence onwards, actually can’t sing the National song because they do not know the words of the National Song. Today there is a raging controversy on singing even the National Anthem, with arguments like “Don’t force us” and “Standing up for National Anthem is not an indicator of Patriotism” and more such arguments. If this continues, 20 years from now, if anyone is called on a TV show and asked to recite the National Anthem, probably they will not be able to recite that too.

I am reminded of a scene in an old English film, Sound of Music, when the hero of the film sings ‘Edelweiss’ based on the flower of Austria, patriotic feelings are evoked in the people in the audience, who forced into submission by Hitler’s Army. It is a shame that we, who are children of an Independent Bharat, find it necessary to debate on whether we should sing the National Song, or stand up for the National Anthem. It makes me wonder whether we really appreciate our Freedom and the struggles that our ancestors went through during those difficult times when foreign invaders ravaged our land and people.

No country can say it is truly free unless its people value its heritage and culture, along with all the national symbols. If the citizens do not even know the heritage of their Motherland, and do not learn about and respect her symbols – the flag, the anthem, the song, the animal, bird, flower, the motto of the Motherland, etc., can they pride themselves truly on being her citizen? Sadly, we today are a country where some people poach the tiger, burn the flag, refuse to sing the song, trample on the flower, think standing up when the anthem is being played, is a restriction of their Fundamental Right and still want to live, earn and die on this soil. Is this Patriotism or this is an indicator of being a blatant Opportunist? For those who say that singing ‘VandeMataram’ is against their religious beliefs, I want to say just one thing – Agreed that whatever is given to us is given by god and that we should bow to God, but the fact is that god too uses a medium to send his blessings to us. Hindus believe that the Vedas were the word of god, but it was the rishis who communicated it to us humans. Christians believe that Jesus revealed His wisdom. In Islam too, Allah used the Prophet to pass on to us His teachings. That is why we venerate the mediums, who revealed His presence to us. Similarly, our Motherland is the medium through which our god protects and nourishes us. So should we not venerate our Motherland? How can that be wrong or against His teachings?

As it is those of us who have not studied in a Hindu run school, ie. have done their schooling in a convent/ missionary school or a madrassa, have almost never sung the national song in the school. Such a shame! It is time that all students are taught to know and respect ALL our National Symbols. To those who look for various silly reasons to argue – it may not be an indicator of patriotism, but it definitely is an indicator of whether you are a proud, knowledgeable citizen of this country. And yes, all those aspiring to become a Member of our Lok Sabha and/or Rajya Sabha and any of the various Government Institutions should compulsorily know this. Do not aim to rule us if you cannot even recite or have knowledge about even one of our national symbol.Respect our Motherland, respect the sacrifices of our freedom fighters, respect the valour and services of our armed forces.