When it comes to the idea of India — everyone has an opinion and opinions come in binaries. National/Anti national. Patriotic/Seditious. Beef eating pariah/Pious bhakt. As the row over the phrase — Bharat Mata ki Jai — escalates, Baba Ramdev, the bearded yogi, who teaches the country how to breathe, has contributed a line of sanskari noodles (not the chow mein that makes men rape women), has something to say too.
On Sunday, Ramdev said that if there wasn't a law that forbid decapitation, then he would have beheaded lakhs.
Ramdev, who was speaking at a Sadbhavna (compassion) rally, ironically said, "Koi aadmi topi pehan kar ke khada ho jaata hai, bolta Bharat Mata ki Jai nahi bolunga, chahe meri gardan kaat do. Arey is desh mein kanoon hai, nahi toh teri ek ki kya, hum toh lakhon ki gardan kaat sakte hain. (If someone wears a cap (referring to the skull cap worn by Muslims, especially Asaduddin Owaisi) stands up and says that he won't chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai even if someone kills him. There is a law in this country, so I won't kill, but I can behead lakhs of people.)"
According to The Indian Express, Ramdev said that a religion that doesn't respect "maatrubhoomi (motherland)" is not in the interest of the nation at all.
Earlier, in March, Ramdev had said the law should be amended to make it mandatory for everyone to chant the slogan, his reasoning? — "Even though it is not written in the Constitution that one should say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', there should be no problem in chanting it... Therefore, an amendment should be made in the law so that everyone says it."
Ramdev's comments are the latest rhetoric in a growing pool of loud opinion. The issue took centre-stage when AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said that he would never chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Since then, a good number of politicians and public figures have aired their opinion about the phrase.
WATCH: Asaduddin Owaisi to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat- Won't say "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" in Latur (Maharashtra) (March 13)https://t.co/nRNtaBfi6z
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 14, 2016
Here's a look. Venkaiah Naidu The senior BJP leader said that there was nothing wrong with worshipping the mother on 28 March. "During the freedom movement, 'Vande Mataram' united all Indians. It means 'Mata' (mother), salutation to you. What 'Mata'? not Christian 'Mata', Hindu 'Mata', 'Muslim 'Mata', forward 'Mata', backward 'Mata'. 'Mata' is 'Mata'. What is the objection in that. Why, (it is said that) there is worship in that. Which religion said not to worship mother. Let me know. I am trying to know. I am ready for a debate," he said. Omar Abdullah "I look forward to seeing all the members of the PDP-BJP alliance say this (Bharat Mata ki Jai) as soon as they take their oath tomorrow," said the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.
Darul Uloom Deoband
The Islamic seminary issued an edict asking Muslims to refrain from raising the slogan as it is equivivalent of "idol worship".
"We received thousands of queries on the issue so Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a 'fatwa' saying 'Bharat mata ki Jai' is not in consonance with Islam and we will not say it. But we love our country immensely and we can raise slogans like 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Madre Vatan'," said Ashram Usmani, public relations officer of the seminary.
Maharashtra Chief Minister on 3 April said, "There is still a dispute over saying 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and those opposing to say it, should not have any right to stay here. Those living here should say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'."
UP Governor Ram Naik said, "If there is no Bharat Mata ki Jai in India, how will the world acknowledge it?"
"It gives us pride when we sing national anthem, to see our flag, to say 'Vande Matram'... Some people don't want to do it, it's their choice," Khurshid said after addressing a conference on Freedom of Speech and Expression in Universities.
General Secretary, BJP, Vijayvargiya said that those who don't wish to chant the slogan "have no right to stay in India. They should go to some other country."
Akhtar in his retirement speech from Rajya Sabha took a dig at Owaisi and said, "The Constitution even does not ask him to wear sherwani (dress) and topi (cap)... I don't care to know whether saying 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' is my duty or not but it is my right."