Why Do Muslims Not Sing Vande Mataram?
[This is my feeble attempt to understand 'other kind' of people. I could be wrong in some of my assumptions about certain religions. If that is case, please let me know]. I already wrote another blog titled 'On singing Vande Mataram'.
Indian Hindus ask:
"Why do Muslims object to singing our National Song- which is the symbol of our Freedom Movement? Why don't they realize that it is a song more about our nation and less about Goddess Durga? Are they Muslim first and Indian next? Is their allegiance towards their religion and not towards India? Why don't they keep nation above religion like us?"
There is a tendency in India (as elsewhere) to assume that the 'way the majority behaves' is the right way and that others should just conform to it. For Hindus, may be, religion is secondary compared to nationality. For Muslims, religion is their biggest identity- which is supposedly constant, unchanging and permanent for many millennia. For them, nations, states, kingdoms and other allegiances change with time while religion remains the same. They attach more importance to religion and its interpretation compared to a nation and its interpretation. The failure to understand this aspect of Islam will result in confusion.
Being tolerant is the ability to understand why certain cultures, religions and people behave the way they behave and accept it. Just because Muslims consider religion to be supreme it does NOT mean they are NOT patriotic. Allegiance to religion and then to a nation/state is quite practical and NOT mutually exclusive. For many Hindus this may sound alien, but Muslims have been practicing this for ages. In the same way, for many monotheistic religious people it may seem alien to see Hindus praying to so many gods, demi-gods and human-gods.
There is a need to understand that expressions, practices and rituals are different for different kinds of people. Imposing one's idea of what is right onto others will cause friction. There is NO necessity to conform to majority's expression and practice to show one's patriotism or loyalty. What if someone refuses to sing Vande Mataram because he hates Bengali? Does that make him unpatriotic? Don't Sikh soldiers wear turban (unlike majority soldiers) and still be patriotic? Muslims do not seem to have a problem singing National Anthem, another symbol to prove one's patriotism; so isn't that proof enough?
Now, let's look at it in another way- What if certain majority define the practice of 'eating beef' as one of the rituals to express one's patriotism and make it a national symbol- will the higher caste chaste Hindus who practice strict vegetarianism be willing to eat beef just to prove they are patriotic? And if those Hindus refuse to eat beef arguing that patriotism has nothing to do with 'eating beef', will others accuse them of mixing nationalism and religious-caste identity?
Muslims have always opposed (not only in India but also in other Islamic countries) deification of a nation. According to them it is idolatry. Calling rain as rain-god, monkey as monkey-god, or a nation as Goddess Durga (Bharat Mata) might come easy and sound completely innocuous to Hindus, but it is considered un-Islamic by most Muslims. The very foundation of Islam was made on breaking away from such pagan worships- wherein all forms of anthropomorphism are discarded.
To ask or request Muslims to sing a song or practice a ritual that deifies nation (as human) is tantamount to worshipping idols which goes against basic tenets of Islam. Muslims have no problem respecting the Nature and the Nation, but they will not pray to it. Is that so hard to accept? While Hindus can pray to almost anything- including a rock, animal, natural event, or human, Muslims do not. While Muslims can eat beef, some high caste and chaste Hindus do not. The failure to understand such belief systems and practices will result in false expectations and hence disappointment. It is nothing to do with patriotism.
Why Do Muslims Not Sing Vande Mataram?
- » Published on September 13, 2006
- » Type: Opinion
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