The song Vande Mataram had some controversial stanzas. So what? They have been taken off. And that should have appeased a party as nationalist as the BJP. Instead, it chose to flog a dead horse and fan the fire of controversy. Is this the oft-repeated nationalism the party talks (read brags) about?
As a conscious citizen of this country, I feel such a stand is not only preposterous but also unnecessary. If some people don't want to sing the song, let them not sing it. But why waste our energy debating on it? We live in a democracy and should, therefore, allow people to exercise their democratic rights.
As lyricist and musician, I borrowed from Vande Mataram on three occasions -- for films Saza E Kala Pani (1996) and Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustani (2000) and while writing a song Price of Bullets on the Kargil war. I won't hesitate to say that each time I was thoroughly inspired by the song.
A party with a strong political base should rather concentrate on other vexing problems. For instance, they should lose sleep over 105 farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha last month or children dying of malnutrition and not over a national song's supposed separatist tone.
Instead of analysing Vande Mataram and going into hair-splitting details, BJP members should take note of pregnancy-related deaths in rural areas, do something to eradicate poverty and the unemployment that dog the country.
The politicians must not take people's attention away from core issues -- they should not influence them to move away from the less privileged population of the country. I beg the people of this country not to fall prey to the crafty designs of the politicians.
We have thousands of serious issues at hand. Let us stop being hypocrites and stop raising a hue and cry over things that do not matter.