Vande Mataram row ends on musical note

Vande Mataram row ends on musical note

Chief Minister Kamal Nath has ended the political controversy over the suspension of singing Vande Mataram by government employees on a musical note.

Now, the song will be played on police band along with the national anthem and common men will be encouraged to join the government employees in the monthly celebration. The band will march in a procession playing the song.

For the last 14 years, the national song had been sung by government employees on the first working day of every month in front of the state secretariat.

The then chief minister Babulal Gaur had introduced this practice with the stated purpose to infuse a sense of patriotism among government employees. It is a different matter though, that hardly one 10th of the total 3,000–odd workforce at the secretariat would turn up for the song’s recitation.

The BJP was livid as the Congress government suspended singing of the national song on January 1. Terming the decision as an affront to patriotism and appeasement of Muslims, the main Opposition party threatened to launch an agitation against the new government.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s explanation that his government has not banned the song but only planned to modify its presentation, failed to pacify an angry BJP.

Nath even said that singing the Vande Mataram is not a test of patriotism as the BJP is mischievously attempting to make it.

But the poll-battered and demoralised BJP saw in the suspension of the Vande Mataram an opportunity to corner the government.  

Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called upon all 107 BJP MLAs to gather at the state Assembly on the first day of the commencement of its session on January 7, and sing the national song in protest.

Hundreds of party workers gathered at the state secretariat on January 2 and sang the Vande Mataram. Interestingly, most of those who gathered for protest could not sing beyond the first line of the song when prodded to sing by TV news channel correspondents.

BJP national president Amit Shah even sought to drag his Congress counterpart in the controversy by asking whether the decision to stop Vande Mataram was taken at Rahul Gandhi’s behest.

On the government’s order to play the Vande Mataram and “Jana Gana Mana” on police band with ceremonial spirit on the first working day of every month, Shivraj Singh Chouhan reacted that the decision was taken under people’s pressure.