Vande Mataram

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The song Vande Mataram, composed in sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom. It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza :

Vande Mataram!

Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,

Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!

Shubhrajyotsna pulakitayaminim,

Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,

Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,

Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!

The English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo in prose1 is :

I bow to thee, Mother,

richly-watered, richly-fruited,

cool with the winds of the south,

dark with the crops of the harvests,

The Mother!

Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,

her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,

sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,

The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

The legal position

Supreme Court declines to issue judicial directives

See also National Anthem: India

SC declines to hear plea for guidelines to play Vande Mataram | Express News Service | New Delhi |:February 18, 2017

The court referred to the The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and constitutional provisions relating to fundamental rights as it refused to take up up the plea regarding the national song

THE SUPREME Court on 17 Feb 2017 declined to entertain a plea for issuing judicial directives to play ‘Vande Mataram’, observing that laws did not recognise the concept of national song. “There is no concept of a national song,” a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra observed while hearing a PIL, which urged the court to issue guidelines on the lines of its directions on playing of the national anthem.

The court referred to the The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and constitutional provisions relating to fundamental rights as it refused to take up up the plea regarding the national song. “Article 51A only mentions the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Article does not refer to a national song…Therefore, we do not intend to enter into any debate as far as a national song is concerned,” the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Mohan M Shantanagoudar said.

The bench also refused to entertain for now PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay’s request to make rendering of the national anthem compulsory in offices, courts, legislative houses and Parliament. However, it agreed to examine other prayers in the petition, including making the national anthem compulsory in schools. “Barring the singing of the national anthem on schools on every working day, other prayers stand rejected,” said the bench, while issuing a notice to the Centre on this aspect.

Madras HC: Complusory in TN schools, offices

R. Sivaraman, HC judge wants Vande Mataram sung in T.N., July 26, 2017: The Hindu

Schools, colleges, universities, factories to play and sing the song that ‘instilled confidence’ in people

A Madras High Court judge ordered Vande Mataram to be played and sung in a

HC: Vande Mataram does not need law to command respect

Abhinav Garg, HC: Vande Mataram does not need law to command respect, October 31, 2017: The Times of India

The song Vande Matram commands respect and love, and doesn't require any “crutches“, the high court has observed, dismissing a PIL that wanted official recognition to treat it on a par with the national anthem.

“It needs no elaboration that Vande Mataram is inseparably linked with the freedom struggle as is noted by the committee and the respondents as an eternal song... It is acknowledged that this song has become synonymous with valour, dedication and love for one's motherland,“ a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed.

In the process, HC dimissed a petition that contented that the song Vande Mataram has been given an equal status as the national anthem Jana Gana Mana by the Constituent Assembly of India in January 1950.

Petitioner Gautam Morarka argued that even the Constituent Assembly acknowledged that the song Vande Mataram had played a historic part in the struggle for India's freedom movement and has to be honoured equally as the national anthem.

The PIL said it sought HC's intervention, saying no set of rules regarding its rendition as well as the protocols to be followed regarding its singing have been framed, for which directions are needed under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The Act came into effect to prevent disrespect and insults to national symbols.

However, HC noted the findings of a committee set up in this regard which concluded that the song Vande Matram “does not require any crutches to hold its own in the heads and hearts of India's citizenry .“

Administrative orders

Meerut Nagar Nigam

Meerut mayor: Singing Vande Mataram must | Mar 30 2017 : The Times of India (Delhi)

Meerut mayor Harikant Ahluwalia has passed a resolution that all Nagar Nigam board members will have to sing Vande Mataram or she will not be allowed to enter the board meeting room or participate in its proceedings, reports Sandeep Rai. The resolution will need the government's nod.

The announcement led to protests by a few Muslim board members, who quoted an SC order that says singing of Vande Mataram is not mandatory .

2017, Dec: BSP mayor revokes the order

Piyush Rai, December 6, 2017: The Times of India

One of the first decisions BSP's Sunita Verma has taken as Meerut's new mayor is to overturn her BJP predecessor's decision to make the singing of 'Vande Mataram' mandatory at municipal corporation board meetings. The move provoked protest by some opposition members, but Verma was unfazed.

"The municipal board's constitution states the national anthem will be sung, not 'Vande Mataram'. There should be no controversy... only 'Jana Gana Mana' will be sung at the start of every board meeting," she said. BJP's city unit chief Karunesh Nandan Garg said the party would "fight the move inside the board and outside". "If the mayor tries to dictate terms... we will... find ways to make sure our corporators sing the national song on roads in protest," he added.

Sunita Verma’s oath-taking disrupted

Sandeep Rai, Vandalism, Vande chants at Meerut mayor oath event, December 13, 2017: The Times of India

Tearing down of Bahujan Samaj Party banners and chanting of Vande Mataram by BJP councillors set the tone for turbulent times ahead in Meerut municipal corporation during the oath-taking ceremony of BSP’s mayor Sunita Verma. BJP councillors ran amok and stood on their chairs, not allowing the divisional commissioner to administer the oath to the new mayor for some time.

To ensure that Verma toed the line of previous mayor from BJP Harikant Ahluwalia who had made the recital of the song mandatory after BJP came to power in UP this year, 36 elected BJP representatives in the house of 90 started singing Vande Mataram the moment she reached the dais. However, the mayor and non-BJP councillors kept sitting during the song. The BJP councillors also raised slogans of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

Compulsory in BMC schools

Richa Pinto, `Vande' singing to be must in BMC schools, August 11, 2017: The Times of India  

A BJP corporator's proposal making it compulsory for students of all civic schools here to sing `Vande Mataram' was passed at a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) general body meeting.

The proposal, which calls for `Vande Mataram' to be sung in schools at least twice a week, will now be sent to civic chief Ajoy Mehta for administrative approval.

“A song as such will only increase patriotism in the minds of children. Therefore, I strongly felt BMC should consider this proposal,“ said Sandeep Patel, BJP corporator from Goregaon.The proposal received a nod from the Shiv Sena, the ruling party in BMC.

The move was opposed in the BMC by Samajwadi Party -the move, it said, would amount to worship of the motherland, and added that Muslims didn't worship anyone but Allah.

SP's Rais Shaikh and six corporators demanded a poll over the issue but it was not considered.

See also

The National Symbols of India

National Anthem: India

National Anthem, India: Jehovah’s Witnesses

Vande Mataram

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