10 November, 2009

Vande Mataram issue: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Deoband clerics find middle ground

Above: Sri Sri with clerics at Darul Uloom Deoband

Samay Live, 9th November, 2009

In a bid to tone down the row over its fatwa against the singing of 'Vande Mataram', clerics from the Deoband Islamic seminary have said they won't stop Muslims from singing the national song but the fatwa would stay.

The climbdown comes after some clerics from Darul Uloom Deoband met Hindu spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

"The clerics have changed their stand on 'Vande Mataram' to bring the Hindu-Muslim communities closer," said a press statement from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The clerics, according to the press release, said they "do not have any objection to the national song" and have left it to the "conscience" of Muslims who should decide for themselves whether they want to sing it or not.

The press statement quoted Maulana Khalik Madrasi of the Darul Uloom as saying the fatwa on 'Vande Mataram' cannot be recalled now, but the Darul Uloom will not stop anyone from singing it.

Present at the meeting with Sri Sri were "Maulana Margubur Rehman of the Darul Uloom, Darul Iftah (fatwa section) in-charge Mufti Habibur Rehman, who issued the (decree), Mufti Ehsaan Qasmi and Usman Mansoorpuri of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind", the statement said.

Sri Sri told them that 'Vande Mantaram' is not a prayer but a means of thanksgiving.

"The first lines of 'Vande Mataram' are not objectionable in any way. This issue should not be given more importance. The country is above all and there should be no rift between the Hindu and Muslims," he said.

Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, Sri Sri also said that no one should be pressurised to sing 'Vande Mataram'.

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