I go to play Tennis early morning but because of the rains could not do so today. Since I had woken up early , I thought might as well do some blogging. I read a couple of new blogs on Vande Mataram. After that , I read the newspaper, where I saw the Hindustan Times editor, Mr Vir Sanghvi himself writing a full feature in the Sunday edition(3/9/06). Then I realized that it was a big controversy.
About 3-4 years ago, when the BJP was in power, they issued some order by which you heard the word “Vande Mataram” everytime you picked up a phone to dial somebody. Does a coining of a slogan make anybody patriotic? Similarly the founding fathers of the constitution coined the word “Satyameva Jayate”. Today, even a child knows that the single most discredited people in this context are the politicians. I even recall reading somewhere that Mrs Sonia Gandhi had expressed surprise and concern that the mere mention of the word politician implied corruption.
Anybody can coin a slogan and shout over the rooftops but does that change anything.? Endless verbal gymnastics over anon-issue is nothing but a lot of intellectual masturbation. If the Mahatma had the advantage of today’s information revolution and mass communication, he would have become popular at least four times faster. Former Lintas chairman Mr Alyque Padamsee in his book, “A double life says” Gandhiji also had this incredible knack of speaking in homilies and one=liners. Like “An eye for an eye making the whole world blind” is a marvelous summation of non-violence. In my opinion, one of the greatest slogans coined in our country is “Quit India”. In just two words, it gave all Indians a nationalistic rally point. A good slogan emotionalizes the message. It acts as a guiding star.”
The difference is that the Mahatma blended style and substance very well and nearly always walked the talk by saying things like “Be the change that you would like to see in the world.” Even if you compare the Mahatma ;s integrity as a lawyer to some of today’s lawyers, it really makes you wonder what is the point in endless verbal interactions.. If anybody has read Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography, it is clear that he was a very sincere man where public service was concerned:-
It would not be out of place to mention here that former PM Indira Gandhi had coined the slogan “Garibi hatao” but actually it was former PM Narsimha Rao and his finance minister and current Prime minister Manmohan singh who set the ball rolling by introducing liberalization in 1992 and that too after being forced by circumstances.
Last week, in We, the people on NDTV, Vande Matram happened to be the topic of discussion. In the end, one gentleman summed it up well when he said, “ I have never sung Vande Mataram in my life. Does that mean that I am less patriotic than you?”. It is a foregone conclusion that nobody should either force somebody to sing the song or not sing the song if the person so desires. Using force is stupid and what is the point in superficial singing anyway. I like “Saarre jahan se accha” over the rest and it is my prerogative to sing whichever I want to.
Some politicians say something absurd(baat) to get votes and arouse emotions over a non-issue and some elements in the media go overboard in verbal chain reactions( baat) to get more eyeballs rather then using it power to make things more transparent and make public servants more accountable.
The Mahatma did walking before the talking . God knows when another will emerge and walks the talk. We are clearly missing the wood for the trees. It is talk, talk, talk and nothing but talk- it is not Vande Mataram but Bande Baatram. Sab bande(people) bolte hi rahte hain. I hope the trend reverses someday or else , because of non-performance, it may become a case of Dande laatram( Sticks and kicks till the public servant ticks). This may not be a reflection on all public servants but the general perception in the eyes of the public leaves a lot to be desired.
This blog has the English version of the song along with the videocast and podcast-
(I saw the movie “lage raho Munnabhai” on 5/9/2006. It reminded me of this post because of the continous references to Gandhiji and Vande maatram in the movie but that’s just a coincidence. It is a very good movie and it is good that movies such as this and Rang De Basanti are at least trying to inculcate a kind of national consciousness and aprising the younger gerneration of the past in a langauage they can relate to.)