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Javed Akhtar speaks on the Vande Mataram issue

By: By: Subhash K. Jha, <a href="http://bollywoodhungama.com/" target="_blank">Bollywood Hungama</a>
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''This controversy is old and obsolete. Vande Mataram is part of Bankimchandra Chatterjee's novel Anand Math. All the villains in this novel are Muslims. Ultimately, the Muslims lose and the novelist feels happy that the Britishers have come to save us from these so-called 'barbaric' Muslims. This is the song of the militant sadhus in this novel.

There were two stanzas of strong religiosity in this song. When talks arose of making Vande Mataram a national anthem, it was pointed out by rational elements that the novel was anti-Muslim. The Congress decided to take out the two rabidly religious stanzas and the rest of the song was retained. The controversy ended there.

What is this new resistance? The objection is redundant. You don't want to sing Vande Mataram? Don't! Who is forcing you? I sing it. I don't see it as objectionable. If you do, don't sing it. Why do you insist on bringing such irrelevant matters centre stage? It's a non-issue and unnecessarily provocative. I've written songs with Vande Mataram in them. I used the term Vande Mataram in Priyadarshan's Saza-e-Kala Pani. Then I used the term for a song in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and finally for a song that's used at the military academy at Dehra Doon. Please don't make an issue out of a non-issue. These are non-entities.''

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