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Live & Let Live
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
'Anand Math'

The heroes of the independence struggle of India had accepted 'Vande Mataram', published in a novel 'Anand Math' (1884) written by a famous Bengali poet Late Bankim Chandra Chatopadhyay, as their song of bravery. In 1896, the Congress session in Calcutta was also started by this song. In the last few days, this song has attracted not only the attention of Indian media but drew a good attention of international media also. Obviously, being a watchful citizen & a columnist with having preferences for human aspects I couldn't remain away from this controversy. My articles on this subject were published in hundreds of newspapers & on websites in India & abroad. Like many other articles too, I got reactions from many readers' well wishers & critiques. Here the commendable was that the number of reactions of readers on this subject was far more than on any other article published. The persons who expressed their reactions were not only from India but from Pakistan, Central Asia, Gulf countries, America, Canada, Australia, Germany & many other countries also even from all religions & communities.

As in the last article, I have expressed my ideas in favour of singing Vande Mataram by all Indians, so it is natural that the Hindu community with Indian origination in the all world strongly encouraged me & showed their acceptance of my views. Undoubtedly my so many Muslim readers too agreed to my ideas. As was expected while writing this article Vande Mataram, I had to face some critiques & their traditional arguments. First of all, I can ignore the criticism & suggestions of the Muslim citizens of Pakistan, Central Asia & other countries saying that Indian Muslims should sing or not, Vande Mataram & what can be tenets of Islamic Laws regarding this song must not be interfered by the Muslim citizens of other countries of the world. Indian Muslims have faced very big problems since 1947 & have succeeded in solving them without any foreign interference. A former colonel from a neighbour country of India, while criticizing my article has wanted to know if the Indian Hindus can read hymn for the Muslim Saints.

Undoubtedly this critic doesn't have knowledge of common culture of India. India is a country where often a singer artist, may be of any religion, starts his programme with a hymn. India is a country where the Hindus organize feasts of Roza iftar for the Muslims. Some Hindu leaders can be seen saying the Muslim prayer (Namaz). It is a common feat in this great India where there are Hindu caretakers of thousands of the Muslim shrines & the tombs of the Muslim friars, situated in India. To lead the Moharram Processions, to do Taziadari & to keep fast in those days by many Hindus, is possible only in a country that is India. At present, the Hindu students are getting education in Madarsas & presenting rare examples of communal harmony. The Non-Muslim community of India can be seen praying, without any partiality by raising their both hands & saying 'Aamin' in the Muslim religious functions. Now I want to put a question of a Hindu gentleman that I received from Hyderabad with reference to the article Vande Mataram, before this former colonel in which he wanted to know that as A P J Abdul Kalam is worshipped at many places in South India as a saint. Can the Muslim community worship the great saints like Kalam?

A reader from a Gulf country has accused me of assimilating 'the other' 'God' ( Shirk) & also alleged that I was encouraging such persons by this article. Very politely, I would like to request the persons who define such Islamic language & Islamic religious laws & use the words such as Shirk, Kufr, Jehad, Mushrik, Munafiq, hijaab, Haram, Halal, Jaez, najaez, Sawab, Azab, Aaqbat & Aakhrat just according to their own convenience & inconvenience & in different forms at different times & that due to these persons & their narrow mindedness & traditional ideas, the Islam is being given the other name, 'terrorism.' I have written many times in my previous articles, it may be the Islamic, the Hindutva or the Christianity, No ideology can be thrusted upon the other community. Whereas the question of declaration of the song Vande Mataram as Non-Islamic, is concerned. Undoubtedly this is the song that was sung by the braves of India who were ready to sacrifice their lives for freedom. The Hindus, The Muslims, the Sikhs & the Christians, all the Indians sang it. I am not interested in the Islamic religious laws of the Arab or any other Islamic country but if there is any contribution of Islamic religious beliefs in distributing the unity of my country or it is being defined in a wrong way, then not only me every man of this country may be of any religion or community will raise its fingers, as a watchful guardian, against any such ill-attempt.

Surprisingly, when a Hindu prays to a Muslim saint, the orthodox Muslims are overjoyed. But when a Muslim sings a song, having a status of the national song, Vande Mataram, it is considered against the Islamic religious beliefs. If a Hindu girl marries a Muslim boy then that is taken as a good work for the Islam but if a Muslim girl marries a Non-Muslim boy that is understood as undesirable by these narrow-minded people. The prayer of Non-Muslim in the Muslim shrines is seen as greatness of these saints or helplessness of the Non-Muslims by the narrow-minded people whereas going of the Muslims in the Hindu temples is seen as undesirable. Is it a Justice?

Although some Muslim brothers in their letters, have suggested me to get Islamic knowledge, but I thank those well-wishers with the words to not to get such knowledge that spreads hatred against one another in the society. I am proud of being an Indian at the same time I feel proud of being a true Muslim. I request all the Muslim brothers in India & abroad not to indulge in baseless issues that spread hatred & not to count the beads of controversial matters but to spread those parts & teachings of Islamic heritage that are helpful for peace & welfare of the humanity. The religious tenets that spread ill will must be immediately thrown out of religious books & religious laws of all the communities. Not only in India but the all world needs such light & direction that may be helpful in leading the world on the path of truth, peace, harmony, love, brotherhood & progress. The sermons should not preach polluted communal thoughts that ill attempt to divide the society & spread ill-will.

As a poet says:-

The lamps that smell out the smoke of partiality!

The dousing of those lamps will spread light!!

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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes in a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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