Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Vande Mataram and the media...

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Vande Mataram being adopted as the country national song. While it is a song that is in favour of India, various non-hindu citizens refuse to sing it as they think it is a song dedicated to the goddess Durga...and this was the reason why it was made voluntary, and not mandatory.

What irked me was the BBC's reporting of this issue...the report starts with a photograph of school girls singing the song with the following caption...
Muslim girls singing Vande Mataram
I found this particular caption to be a cheap attempt at pandering to the masses...I mean, the image would have been sufficient to show girls singing the song, while anyone who pays more attention might notice their hijab and come to the conclusion that they are muslims. Why should they put up such a caption, if not to show off the fact that they have found a "minority" who also participates in the song ? And they promptly go ahead and point it out...of course, this is just to bring to attention all the controversy that surrounds the song anyways.

The title of the article is, "Indians celebrate national song". In spite of this title, the first image is the one that launches us into the controversy, and the first few paragraphs also indicate this,

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party started its national conclave with the song.

But several Muslim educational institutions boycotted the song, which has been at the centre of a row.

The controversy began last month after the central government said the song must be sung at all schools on its centenary.

In fact, most of the article is about the problems faced by Vande Mataram, and less about the song and its history! I have always admired the BBC for its non-partisan reporting of news and facts, but I have had to revise my assessment in the recent past, due to such ridiculous attempts at tabloid journalism!

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