Reacting to the objections raised by some quarters on singing ‘Vande Mataram’, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has asked, “If not your mother, who would you salute, Afzal Guru”.
“”Vande Mataram ke baare mein vivaad Hota hai, ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’. Maa ko salaam Nahi karenge toh kisko karenge? Afzal Guru ko karenge kya? (Vande Mataram’ is an ode to the motherland, what is the problem with it? if you don’t salute your mother, who would you salute, Afzal Guru),” he asked.
The vice president made the remarks after some politicians called for singing the national anthem instead of “Vande Mataram” at schools and other institutions, sparking a controversy.
Guru was given the capital punishment for his role in the attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001.
“‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, is not about some goddess in a photo. It is about all 125 crore people living in this country irrespective of their caste, color, creed, and religion. They all are Indians,” he said at an event to release a book on late VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who had led the movement for Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya.
Naidu has described the VHP leader as one of the “finest proponents of Hinduism” who “sacrificed” his life for the benefit of future generations.
Citing the Supreme Court, Naidu said that Hinduism has a broader meaning, a cultural connotation of India and not a narrow concept.
“Hinduism is our culture our tradition which has been passed on from various generations. There could be different ways of worship, but there is only one way of life that in Hinduism,” he reportedly said.
In 1995, the Supreme Court had said Hindutva is not a religion, but a way of life and a state of mind.
Also present at the book launch was RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi. He said Singhal worked hard to realize the dream of building Ram Temple in Ayodhya. “Now he might have gone but we should not forget his goal,” he said.
Speaking about Singhal, Naidu said he was one of the finest proponents of Hinduism and sacrificed 75 years of his life for the benefit of future generations. Despite being a student of science and engineering, he chose to spend time on banks of Ganga and reflected on religion, society, and culture, he said.