Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Vande Mataram...let's write new songs for an India where nights without darkness prevail

By John Cheeran
Should an Indian sing Vande Mataram?
If you know the lyrics, please go ahead.
Like many, I know only the first two stanzas of India's national song.
Do I know Jana Gana Mana, the national anthem, better?
I doubt.
I appreciate the poetry of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's in those early lines of Vande Mataram. As for my religious beliefs clashing with poetry, I know better.
Much of the Indian poetry in vernacular languages is a paean to Hindu gods and goddesses. You fall in love with a language, its beauty and cadences. And as for its meaning, you read between the lines.
And what about the meaning? What about it?
Do you care for your own mother? Or father? Or blood brothers?
Let's not worry about who wants to sing our songs, songs of yesteryears.
Allama Iqbal who wrote in 1904 to say that Saare Jahan Se Acha
maz'hab nahīn sikhātā āpas men bayr rakhnā
hindvi hai ham, vatan hai hindostān hamārā

changed his stanza and stand six years later in 1910 to write
chīn-o-arab hamārā, hindostān hamārā
muslim hain ham, vatan hai sārā jahān hamārā.

May be, it is time for us to write new songs for an India where nights without darkness prevail.

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