Jamait-Ulema-E-Hind Not Sole Muslim Representative – ‘Vande Mataram’ Directives

Jamait-Ulema-E-Hind is Not The Sole Representative Body of Muslims – Muslims Should Ignore The Jamait Directives on ‘Vande Mataram’

Muslims of India are basically secular in character. The Jamait-Ulema-e-Hind, supposedly the top body of Ulemas, usually confines irself to religious discourse without poking it’s nose into political issues or sensitive issues that would affect the normal life of citizens. The needless controversy created by a Jamait directive to Muslims not to recite ‘Vande Mataram’ as it runs against the religious diktats of Islam, is unnecessary and uncalled for and is nothing but sheer stupidity that could endanger unity. Besides, common Muslims are asking where was the necessity and urgency for this issue to be raised at this juncture? By issuing such directives to Muslims, the Jamait has given a long handle to the communal forces in the country to disturb the placid waters of communal harmony.

It is true, Islam does not allow Muslims to bow their heads to anyone except Allah. The national song, ‘Vande Mataram” beautifully composed and sung by none other than a Muslim composer of world renown, the Mozart of India, AR Rehman, became a run away success. Why did the Ulemas not object to it then? Where were these Ulemas and why they did not issue a fatwa against AR Rehman for singing and composing the national song? Why did they chose this occasion to do so, more particularly when the country’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram, was present there? This is nothing but foolhardiness on the part of these religious bigots. They have now pushed the Muslim commuinity on the defensive, who all along have been so secular and living in perfect harmony with the people of other religious groups. Jamait’s resolution on ‘Vande Mataram’ is therefore highly reprehensible besides condemnable. I urge them to withdraw the so called ‘fatwa’ or ‘directives’ immediately in the larger interest of the country’s unity.

Equally reprehensible is the reaction to the Ulema’s directives by Shiv Sena Uday Thackery’s statement, asking Muslims to go to either Pakistan or Bangladesh, if they refuse to sing the national song. It calls for greater restraint rather than such sharp reactions from political or communal parties. There is also no need to make political capital out of it and disturb communal peace.

All Muslim leaders including Shabuddin condemned the resolution passed by the top Muslim body terming it an unnecessary and untimely exercise after sixty years of independence. It may be rememberred that the then Muslim League and their supporters caused much discomfort to the community during the independence struggle on the issue of ‘Vande Mataram’ causing communal tension. The issue since then died down as people of hues had realised the folly of falling into the hands of religious fanatics and communal forces. Today, Muslims have no objection to the singing of the national song. They have assimilated themselves with the culture of India. Day in and day out everywhere in any institution whether it is government or private, poojas are taking place, where Muslim employees are participating without any fuss except the religious fanatics.

Then why is there such a controversy over the issue now?

Perhaps, the Muslim body, a self-styled one instead of guiding Muslims on various issues concerning Islam, has taken upon themselves the burden of representing all Muslim interest in the country. Where were these Ulemas when Gujarat was burning and Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya? These Ulemas are supposed to be apolitical and confine themselves to the religious teachings desisting from poking their nose into such sensitive issues.

Today India has achieved a rare unity particularly in the wake of the attack on the commercial capital, Mumbai, last year. This was the time, when India came close to a war with Pakistan and it was to the great credit of the people of India in general and Mumbai in particular that they maintained the rarest communal harmony during the trying hours. The terrorists caused mayhem, killing more than 300 innocent people, including Muslims.

We then realised that these terrorists have no religion of their own. They were anti-social elements, religious fanatics and hired mercenaries sent from across the border to disturb the political and communal life of the country. But India dealt with the situation with great ease, efficiency and courage killing all but one of the ten terrorists.

The Muslims of Mumbai were not far behind, in dealing with the situation. They displayed a rare solidarity with the country by refusing to bury the dead bodies of the slain terrorists terming not Muslims but criminals and anti-social elemnets that deserve no place in their graveyards. This was particularly hailed by one and all in the country. Finally, the Muslims of India came of age. But the Ulema directive to Muslims not to recite the national song, was a blow to the secular credentials of Muslims. I strongly condemn the resolution which was rejected by all right thinking Muslims in India.

I hope good sense prevails over this body of Muslim Ulemas and in future they desist from poking their nose into such sensitive issues. Jai Hind.