Bharat Mata ki Jai – The issue shows Indian politics has become sick

If the country's top leaders engage in making issues out of non-issues and turn it into war of words based on religious sentiments then it can be safely said that the political system has become sick

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After some anti-India slogans were heard during an event at Delhi JN University, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief the Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh had said that the youth in India should be taught to chant slogans in support of the country: “Now the time has come when we have to tell the new generation to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, meaning “all glories to mother India” or “all glories to India, our motherland”. This sounded like a natural response from a person who is known for his national pride. I still cannot see how such a statement in India, originally called Bharat, can be defined as anything else but spontaneous response to counteract anti-India slogans.

But one of India’s parliamentarians, claiming to be a leader of the minority, made a controversy by saying he will not chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai “even if you put a knife to my throat.” Now, this was a completely unnecessary statement, to say the least, especially for a parliament member of the country. Later on he tried to justify it using religious sentiments but that, as some perceived, was all about creating some religious debates or damage control at the best.

That’s it – Indian politicians started arguing for and against his statement and the Bharat Mata ki Jai became an issue. That’s sick, isn’t it? Whose fault is it?

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One opinion is, political leaders should have ignored that unnecessary statement without giving any importance to that parliamentarian. On the other hand, there are strong arguments as to how can an Indian national, especially who happens to be a a member of Indian parliament, refuse to say something in praise of the country?

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said: “We absolutely have no problem if somebody says Jai Hind or Jai Bharat or Jai Hindustan, but all we object about is when someone says, ‘I won’t say Bharat Mata Ki Jai’,” He added, “There is a limit to appeasement too”. His argued: “It is not merely about the slogan but it is about those lakhs and lakhs of freedom fighters who sacrificed their life chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” He opined that the slogan has nothing to do with religion and those opposing it are divisive forces with mala fide interests who wish to create a “rift in the country”.  His remarks came a day after India’s largest Islamic seminary ‘Darul Uloom Deoband’ issued a ‘fatwa’ saying Muslims should not say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Earlier, India’s largest Islamic seminary ‘Darul Uloom Deoband’ issued a ‘fatwa’ on the issue: “We received thousands of queries on the issue so Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is not in consonance with Islam and we will not say it. But we love our country immensely and we can raise slogans like ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and ‘Madre Vatan (motherland)”. (Quotes Source http://www.ndtv.com)

As a side point, interestingly, the name Hindustan was given to Bharat by its Arab neighbours who knew India by referring to Sindhu river as India was on the other side of Sindhu (pronounced Hindu by them) river:

“This is creation by our neighbor, Indian neighbor, the Middle-east Muhammadans. They gave the name, Indian people, as “Hindu.” “Hindu” means… There is one river, Sindhu. The Muhammadans, they pronounce sa as ha. So those who were on the other side of the Sindhu River, Hindu River, they were called Hindus.”

It is understood that the same Sindhu river, pronounced as Hindu by the Muhammadans, was called Indus by the Western invaders, and that is how the words “India” and “Indians” came into existence. In other words, Bharata-varsha, or Bharat, became known as Hindustan due to Muhammadan influence and later on, as India by English speakers. Subsequently, the language used by the Hindus became known as Hindi. (Read Is Hinduism not a religion?)

The controversy of Bharat Mata ki Jai is an example of where Indian politics stands now and is heading to. If the country’s top leaders engage in making issues out of non-issues and turn it into war of words based on religious sentiments then it can be safely said that the political system has become sick and needs to be treated urgently before the infection spreads in the minds of other countrymen who are the very fabrics of India’s unity based on religious harmony. Let sanity prevail.