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Congress to stage protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against ‘rising intolerance’

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New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will lead her party’s protest march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday against “rising intolerance” under the BJP-led regime, but the government dismissed the talk of intolerance as a “perception being manufactured by certain sections” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress leaders said the march on Tuesday would include party vice president Rahul Gandhi, members of the Congress Working committee, party office-bearers and party MPs. The party also slammed Modi for his barbs at the Congress over the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

The march will start from Parliament House and party leaders are expected to give a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee to convey their concern on “rising intolerance”.

Sonia Gandhi met the president on Monday evening, but party sources termed it as “personal” meeting. The meeting came on a day Modi targeted her, saying Congress leaders had no right to talk about tolerance when they were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“Madam Soniaji, do you remember 1984? What happened in Delhi? Sikhs were killed. Serious charges were made against the Congress. Ironically, now the Congress talks of tolerance,” Modi said at an election rally in Purnea in Bihar.

He said after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated then prime minister Indira Gandhi, innocent Sikhs “were killed in broad daylight… And the Congress is giving lectures on tolerance”.

Congress leader Anand Sharma reacted sharply to Modi’s remarks, saying his comments were “politically motivated” and “a mischievous attempt to reopen the wounds of 31 years”.

He said riots followed the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi were “tragic” and “a sad chapter”, adding that successive governments have explored every possibility to provide a healing touch.

Sharma charged Modi with making the latest remarks to “divert attention from the rising concerns and fears in the country over orchestrated campaigns to create atmosphere of fear and intimidation”.

“Prime minister has chosen even now not to respond to the concerns expressed by eminent Indians who have made rich and notable contributions – scientists, authors, film producers, poets and others,” he said.

“He should not even think and act as a BJP leader or as an RSS pracharak (preacher) but fulfil and honor his constitutional duties and his moral duty as India’s prime minister,” he said.

Noting then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had immediately gone out on the streets of Delhi to diffuse communal sentiments and calm people after reaching the capital of West Bengal in the wake of the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi, he alleged Modi did not “utter a single word for three days” after the Gujarat riots of 2002 and “did not take effective measures to control the situation”.

Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu hit back at the Congress.

“They are meeting the president to talk about rising intolerance. The Congress talking about intolerance is the joke of the century. It is like the devil quoting the scriptures,” Naidu told reporters here, claiming the Congress was “intolerant to the people’s mandate” that chose Modi as the prime minister.

Asked about concerns business leaders expressed last week over the vitiated atmosphere, Naidu said: “That’s not the words and phraseology they used. Some of them are misleading; others are misread.” He, however, conceded that some voices were “well-meaning” and were “naturally concerned”. “Our objection is to all these incidents being linked to PM Modi.”

He also cited “atrocities” committed in Congress ruled-states and in states ruled by “Congress-friendly parties”, noting the Dadri incident happened in Uttar Pradesh where the Samajwadi Party is in power, M.M. Kalburgi’s killing happened in Karnataka that is Congress-ruled, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Maharashtra in August 2013 when the Congress was in power in the state.

Hitting out at writers, artistes, and other intellectuals protesting the sudden rise in communal attacks in the country, Naidu asked where these “conscience-keepers” were after the 1984 riots and also referred to “their silence” during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley.

(IANS)

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15 Amazing facts about Indian National Song: Vande Mataram

The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom.

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Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881
  • Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom
  • Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905

‘Vande Mataram’, is no less than an epic for our country and holds a special place in the heart of every Indian. The first two words of the title itself are sufficient to induce a great feeling of patriotism.

It would be a surprise for many to know that September 7, 2006, was not the centenary of Vande Mataram. On the contrary, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram well before he penned Anandamath, his novel, which described unified Bengal’s sanyasi uprising against tyrannical Muslim rule in the 1770s.

For better clarification, Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881.

The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons
Vande Mataram was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons

Thus, 2006 was not the 100th year of Vande Mataram, but the 129th anniversary of the `National Song”, which was first recited at the Indian National Congress session of 1896.

Also Read: 10 Must Knowing Facts about Indian Flag

Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom.

On January 24, 1950, it was brought at par with the National Anthem officially by the Constituent Assembly.

The protest against Vande Mataram because of its ‘idolatrous’ content began in the 1890s. The Congress party surrendered before Islamic opposition at its Kakinada session in 1923 not only on the Vande Mataram issue but also to all symbols and values held national.

The recent HRD ministerial diktat to compulsorily sing the song throughout the country occupied much media space and ignited a debate on India’s national song’s journey over the last 130 years.

Also Read: 15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

The song served as a source of immense strength and inspiration for freedom fighters before India gained freedom.

The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at some of the glorious facts related to our National song, ‘Vande Mataram’.

  1. The National song, ‘Vande Mataram’ was written by the great Bengali poet and writer, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
  2. On January 24, 1950, it was adopted as the National Song of India.
  3. The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom. The National song of India is versed in the Sanskrit and Bengali languages, in the novel ‘Anandmath’ by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.
  4. The former President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration in the Constituent Assembly that the song Vande Mataram, which had played a significant part in the historic freedom struggle held in India, should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it.
  5. The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math (1882) which is set in the events of Sannyasi rebellion.
  6. The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Anand Math, into English was done by Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta, in 1906.
  7. In the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress, it was the first political event when the National song was sung. On the same occasion, the national song of India was first sung by the Rabindranath Tagore.
  8. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905.
  9. The Iron Man of India, Lala Lajpat Rai, published a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
  10. Vande Mataram was recited in the first political film made by Hiralal Sen in 1905.
  11. The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002.
  12. Two stanzas of the original song have been officially declared as the National Song of India in 1950 after the independence of India.
  13. The song was originally written in two languages, Sanskrit and Bengali, in the novel ‘Anandmath’.
  14. It was also sung by the Dakhina Charan Sen in 1901 after five years during another Congress meeting at Calcutta.
  15. India’s first political film Hiralal Senmade, made in 1905 ends with the chant Vande Mataram.