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What does Vande Mataram mean to you?
August 24, 2006
Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh is at the centre of a controversy yet again.
This time it is about his ministry's directive to all the states to recite Vande Mataram in educational institutions on September 7, the centenary of the national song.
But faced with criticism from Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, and political leaders like Mulayam Singh, the minister quickly backtracked and stated that the HRD ministry's advice was not mandatory. Singing of the Vande Mataram was just a suggestion, he stated.
But the controversy shows no sign of dying down so easily. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Trinamool Congress and the Shiv Sena have raised an uproar in Parliament, that not reciting the national song amounted to 'insulting' the country and martyrs.
In the centenary of the song, it is perhaps time to ponder why the song arouses such intense passion both for and against it. What do you think of the controversy -- and of the song itself? How well do you know it, and the background to the controversy? Tell us!