It was more than a decade back when widespread resentment of Vande Mataram by Islamic clerics and their followers started making news.
Furthermore in 2006, UPA’s Human resources development minister, Arjun Singh, ordered that students of all schools in the country would have to sing Vande Mataram on September 7 to mark its centenary celebrations. Huge uproar and immediate protests followed this announcement and the debate on ‘Vande Mataram’ being ‘Haram’ for Muslims became main-stream.
Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and the then Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, led from front to make more and more Muslims join his campaign of boycotting Vande Mataram.
That was in 2006 and we are now in 2016, a decade later should have been a decade smarter yet somehow evolution seems to have gone backwards for some of our fellow citizens. The fire of resentment has moved from India’s National Song to the National Anthem of India, ‘Jan Gan Man’.
A man in West Bengal namely Kazi Masum Akhtar, the headmaster of Talpukur Aara High Madrasa situated in Metiabruz area of South West Kolkata was beaten with iron rods by Hardliner Muslims of the area for encouraging students to sing ‘Jan Gan Man’.
He was brutally injured in the assault with many fractures on his head.
Following this he was also banned from entering the school and reportedly a Fatwa has also been issued against him by a local cleric for doing anti-Islamic activities.
Before jumping to any conclusion it would be important to know the whole story of the Kazi to get a better understanding of all that’s wrong in this development.
Kazi Masum Akhtar was a teacher in a public school for many years when a thought of giving back to his community stuck his mind. He was well aware of the plights of Muslims who remained backward in absence of good education. With that thought in mind he decided to join a Madrasa. His experience got him the post of headmaster of Talpukur Aara High Madrasa and he started reforming the establishments.
According to his own confession he was shocked to see the state of madrasa where any outsider would wander anytime in the premises and students would watch ‘objectionable clips’ on their mobile devices. He firmly stood against all this and started bringing significant changes to make his students more in synchronization with modern education. During all this he initiated a measure to make national anthem a regular part of their prayers together with other Islamic recitations. He was advised against it and so forth he decided to include it only on days of National importance like Republic and Independence Day.
Even this idea didn’t go well with other hardliners of his area and what followed was the brutal thrashing.
This incident leaves us with not one but many questions. Kazi Masum Akhtar represents not only himself but whole lot of individuals who are working on ground levels to bridge up the gap between madrsa teachings and modern education. The fact that he was thrashed for preaching patriotism presents a disturbing reality of a large fraction of population. A reality that we come face to face with on regular basis yet choose to stay quiet for the sake of not being branded as communal.
It is beyond logical comprehension and reasoning to fathom how a song composed in year 1911 and publicly sung for the first time in twenty seventh session of INC in the same year suddenly become averse to a particular religion.
Islam is about 1400 years old, ‘Jan Gan Man’ is 105 years old and both have been in-parallel existence since then, unchanged and unchallenged. So the looming question is what new facts have come to light which are suddenly making clerics denounce National Anthem. So much resentment that a person is beaten for encouraging some other to sing it in the land of its origin!
It is high time for liberal fractions of the Muslim society to take charge. It is time that they decide not to become puppets at the hands of divisive forces within their own factions. If tens of thousands can gather in multiple cities over a cartoon published hundreds of miles away, hundreds and hundreds can turn violent over an individual’s senseless statement, why not now?
Someone has to stand against the ugly recrudescence of a persistent malady that continues to afflict a small section of the Muslim community, namely one that pits nation against religion.
No one wants to question the patriotism of an Indian Muslim but it gets very conflicting when thousands join the funeral procession of a terrorist hanged in Pune on the same day when whole nation is mourning the death of its late President APJ Abdul Kalam. It is for the Muslim society to denounce and question the people waving ISIS flags on the top of mosques in the valley. Ignorance and appeasement would take this society nowhere.
It is for them to decide the fakeness of sudden uproars and to make sure that their hidden agenda is foiled and failed.
Who are these clerics making these discoveries and what is their basis?
Singing a song might or might not prove patriotism but how does boycotting the national anthem of one’s own country make an individual more religious is something that a believer should certainly ponder.