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Shia cleric approves ‘Vande Mataram’
Published on 9 Nov. 2009 10:59 PM IST
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A leading Shia cleric has taken on India’s largest Islamic seminary and said that there was “nothing wrong” if a Muslim sings the national anthem ‘Vande Mataram’. “I see nothing wrong for a Muslim to recite Vande Mataram as long as it means salutation to the nation and does not amount to offering prayers,” Shia scholar and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Hameedul Hasan told IANS. The declaration came close on the heels of a similar announcement by another renowned Shia cleric and AIMPLB’s senior vice president, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq. “That is why I feel there was a need to explain the meaning of every word in the national song. I am sure that once it is clarified that there was no element of offering prayers in the song, all this controversy over it would come to rest,” Hasan pointed out. This follows the Maulana’s “heart-to-heart” talk with former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief K.C. Sudarshan, who in an unprecedented move drove down to the former’s residence here Sunday. “The aim of the meeting was to find ways to bridge the Hindu-Muslim divide that arose primarily on account of prevailing confusions about each other’s religious beliefs,” Hasan said. “We have succeeded in breaking the ice and I am sure we will be able to resolve various issues that give rise to avoidable tensions between the two communities.” On Nov 3, the Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s largest Islamic seminary, passed a resolution urging Muslims not to sing the ‘Vande Mataram’, saying the song went against Islamic principles. The resolution sparked a furore, both within and outside the Muslim community in India. The Sunday meeting here was organised at the initiative of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, a RSS brainchild. It was rare occasion when a Maulana talked about misunderstandings among Hindus about the Koran and a RSS bigwig eulogised the life and achievements of Prophet Mohammad. “I told Janab Sudarshan sahib that the need of the hour was to remove all misunderstandings that many Hindus have about the Holy Koran, Islam as also about Indian Muslims who are unfortunately often labelled pro-Pakistanis,” said Hasan. “These misgivings can only be brought to rest through an open dialogue between the two communities. I am sure the RSS can play a truly meaningful role towards achieving the goal.” Seeking to dispel the common impression that Muslims were responsible for the creation of Pakistan, the Maulana said: “No Muslim has any soft corner for Pakistan. The bulk of Indian Muslims opposed the country’s partition.” Interestingly, RSS stalwart Sudarshan also seemed to second the Maulana’s view by adding: “It were the British who brought about the partition in collusion with Jawaharlal Nehru.” He termed the Hindu-Muslim divide a result of “vested political interests” while hailing Prophet Mohammad as “preacher, social reformer, commander and statesman”.

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