Thiruvananthapuram: The reason why Vande Mataram became unacceptable to sections of Muslims was they felt the song’s origin was part of Anandamath, a novel they perceived to have an anti-Muslim message.
Vande Mataram played a critical role, being sung at rallies in Bengal, rising into a patriotic crescendo-Hail to the Motherland. Seeing the incendiary potential of the slogan, the British banned the utterance of the motto in public forums, and jailed many for defying their diktat.
Tagore sang it in 1896 at the Calcutta Congress Session. Later, it became the clarion call for throwing out the British. The Congress was perturbed by the opposition to the national song and did not want the invocation to the Mother to foment divisive agenda.
“The first two stanzas began with an unexceptionable evocation of the beauty of the motherland, in later stanzas there are references where the motherland is likened to the Hindu goddess, Durga. Therefore, Congress decided to adopt only the first two stanzas as the national song”.
In his letter to Subhas Chandra Bose (1937), Tagore wrote: “The core of Vande Mataram is a hymn to goddess Durga: this is so plain that there can be no debate about it. Of course Bankim Chandra does show Durga to be inseparably united with Bengal in the end, but no Mussulman can be expected patriotically to worship the ten-handed deity as Swades.
“This year many of the special [Durga] Puja numbers of our magazines have quoted verses from Vande Mataram—proof that the editors take the song to be a hymn to Durga. The novel Anandamath is a work of literature, and so the song is appropriate in it. But Parliament is a place of union for all religious groups, and there the song cannot be appropriate. When Bengali Mussulmans show signs of stubborn fanaticism, we regard these as intolerable. When we too copy them and make unreasonable demands, it will be self-defeating”.