Amit Shah accuses Congress of 'communalising' Vande Mataram, says party's appeasement policy also caused Partition

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah on Wednesday criticised those who tried to communalise the National Song Vande Mataram, and said the Congress' decision to accept only the first two stanzas and drop the rest of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's song in 1937 was done to suit the party's appeasement policy.

He further claimed that this decision of the Congress led to India's partition. "Had Congress not done this mistake, the country would not have been divided (in 1947)," the BJP chief said.

He was delivering the first Bankim Chandra Chattapadhyay Memorial Lecture in Kolkata organised by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation on the occasion of the Bengali writer's birth anniversary.

Shah said it was wrong to communalise the song. "The song Vande Mataram symbolises the geo-cultural nationalism of our country... It is wrong to communalise the song... it should not be treated as a song related to any religion or against someone, but a song which symbolises nationalism. The Congress had made the same mistake by labeling it with a religious colour," he added.

BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata on Wednesday. PTI

BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata on Wednesday. PTI

He added that when the Congress had formed provisional governments in the pre-Independence era, it had taken up Vande Mataram as National Song, but only the first two stanzas were sung to appease a community.

"Historians sometimes blame the Khilafat movement, sometimes the divide-and-rule policy of the British, and at times, the two-nation theory of the Muslim League. But I will say that the Congress' decision to take up only two stanzas of Vande Mataram by surrendering before its appeasement policies had led to the division of India," PTI quoted him as saying.

Eminent intellectuals from Bengal, including fiction writer Buddhadeb Guha, Bankim Chandra's biographer Amitrasudan Bhattacharya, professor Purabi Roy and state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh, were also present at the event.

Shah hailed Chattapadhyay, the author of Vande Mataram, as someone who ushered in the renaissance of India's cultural ethos and described the song as a manifestation of the country's century-old tradition of nationalism.

"Vande Mataram ... doesn't criticise or ridicule any community. It attempts to connect the nation with its people and manifests the tradition and culture of the region where it was produced. So bringing religion into Vande Mataram was a big mistake," he pointed out.

However, the BJP president claimed that with the saffron outfit's ascendency to power, the situation in the country has changed, reported IANS.

Referring to Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who served as the minister for industry and supply under the Jawaharlal Nehru government before quitting the Congress, Shah said Mookerjee decided to form the Jana Sangh as he found the policies of Independent India to be heavily influenced by western culture.

He knew that leaving the Congress would eradicate his chance to win another election for a long time, as the Congress was heavily banking on its contribution to India's freedom movement at the time, and no other political party had any chance of coming to power.

"No matter how much we may grow, we can't abandon our roots. If any society loses its connection with the root, it would certainly fail," he added.

Shah, who arrived in Kolkata on a two-day visit on Wednesday, held two closed-door meetings with the party workers on organisational issues earlier. He also held a meeting with the party's social media cell.

On Wednesday, the BJP chief discussed with state leadership a strategy to win "maximum number" of Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal in 2019 and exhorted the leaders to reach out to the masses to prepare for an all out battle against the alleged misrule of the TMC, a party leader said.

The BJP chief is scheduled to visit Purulia and Birbhum districts on Thursday.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 11:07 AM

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