This article was written in 2006. Since then, many times the song has led to controversy. A large number of Muslims have no objection to it but some non-Muslims who are aware of history also oppose it. Reasons for opposition are here:
Once every couple of years the controversy over singing Vande Matram erupts and I remember how I had supported the song in my school days and how my views changed later. [It's not about turning a fundamentalist with age].
I was a good student of Sanskrit, learnt scores of shlokas and was quite interested in its grammar. Hence, I felt that the song does not exactly mean worship and could be sung.
I had a heated debate with many elderly family members then and I always felt that there was no problem in singing it.
The translation of the song makes wonderful reading. The Urdu translation which can be understood by many more Indians than the original words is even more nice to ears.
And after reading the sick novel of Bankim Chandra Chatterji, I still don't have objection to anybody singing it but forcing it, NO. In fact, it was a non-Muslim Bengali friend who had told me about the nature of this novel.
I am no less patriotic than any Indian irrespective of their faith and my ancestors have also done their bit towards strengthening the composite culture and unity of this country. My great grandfather has praised Lord Krishna and Prophet Muhammad in the same breath and patriotism has been part of my Imaan.
I need not give any clarification on that. But if any body has delusions of having a patriotism-meter with which he can test my love towards my motherland, then I don't give this right to anybody, sorry, you would be frustrated.
Bankim Chandra wrote a treacherous novel and anybody who has ever read it will never defend it or the song. The novel is disgusting and its shameful that an Indian wrote it. We have had great Hindu nationalists from the revivalist Vivekananda and a strong Arya Samaji like Pt Ram Prasad Bismil, who held Ashfaq as his younger brother.
Their letters and account of those years can bring tears to our eyes. They all saw Hindus and Muslims as One People, One Race. From 1857 to 1870, more than ONE LAKH Hindus and Muslims were executed by British.
Each day hundreds were sent to gallows in Delhi alone. And Chatterjee makes a mockery of all that. The characters..Jivananad, Bhavanand, Mahendra and Satyananda are all fake...'Jahaan woh musalmaan ka gaaon dekhte use aag ke havaale kar dete' [wherever they found a Muslim village they would set it afire, kill all].
Read the translation in Hindi if you don't know Bangla and the novel is full of words like Mlechhca, Haramkhor, Suar about ordinary Muslims. The killing of Muslims is the aim and arrival of British is their hour of glory. What kind of a revolution is this?
An intense hate of Muslims coupled with an admiration for the WHITE RACE or what? That was why leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose opposed the song. This novel and the song is a betrayal to all that our martyrs and freedom fighters stood for.
Even the two stanzas that are not controversial mean something else in context of the novel. And even if we ignore historical aspect of the song and this novel that kills the dream of millions of freedom fighters and the idea of India itself, I see another design in forcing the song to be sung.
I am proud national of a proud nation. I will surely protest, If I turn evasive things are forced one after other on me. Already the names of all Muslim freedom fighters have been forgotten. The poor Maulana Azad also lost his place this August 15.
The RSS and its sister organisations have already succeeded in many of their plans. They have maligned the Muslims as fundamentalists and terrorists, demonised the madarsas and got us from 30% in jobs to 1% but still we are being APPEASED.
If Vande Mataram is not opposed, then compulsory Saraswati Vandana is the next to come. Just a few years back the NDA government had tried to do that. And then Puja is also not far away. What's the problem?
It may be just a circular in Delhi but when it goes to small government schools in rural areas it becomes more of a norm. I remember my teachers in school just not accepting any argument without even reading a line of the novel or understanding Sanskrit.
Things are happening fast. The agenda is at work. Babri Masjid was demolished. The RSS leaders who had gone to Spain to see how Muslims were eliminated there got it replicated in Gujarat. Muslims have been a target of their campaign as Fifth Columnists.
And the secular parties, intellectuals are silent. Do the journalists who debate on such a issue and keep sermonising us that it was the song of independence movement have the credibility to speak on the subject without reading the book and knowing that it served to defeat our unity.
I was surprised to see the reaction of Sabyasachi Mukerjee, who has written a whole book on Vande Mataram, feign ignorance about its religious context and the anti-national message of Anand Math besides giving a sort of clean-chit to song and wondering why the fuss over it. In BJP-ruled states the madarsas have been directed to publicly render the song.
When 800 farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha alone without a whimper owing to debt and it doesn't become an issue but the Vande Mataram becomes an issue, I must marvel at the way the Sangh is functioning like a monstrous hydra across the political, social, journalistic and other spectra.
But this country can't be allowed to be hijacked by people who have a parochial agenda, who want to turn India like states of Middle East or our failed neighbours where no debate is possible.
Innumerable Hindu brothers will always come forward to defend our right not be forced to sing Vande Matram, I know. They are seeing the trap laid for all of us. I am hopeful the voices would emerge from all nook and corner. This is the beauty of this country.
I don't want confrontation but sometimes if you don't speak and pour your heart out, you are pushed to wall. Read more on here to find why even the two stanzas that are termed as 'should not be objectionable' mean something else.
It is not correct to say that Muslims are anti-Vande Mataram. A section feels that it should not be made compulsory and shouldn't be used as a test of patriotism. That's all. We know its our national song. It has a place along side the national anthem.
In fact, majority of Muslim students voluntarily and happily sing it. Some do oppose it and in a mature democracy there should be a scope for disagreement also. Shouldn't there be?
For how long Muslims in India will be put to humiliation through such tests on their LOYALTY and Patriotism. I request you to read the novel before making any comment. I assure you you will be disgusted.
Also, more posts on http://indianmuslims.in/and A Faizur Rahman's article at Hindustan Times.com on this issue.