I think in my last post on Vande Matram I wasnt able to bring across my thoughts clearly to Mohib.. so let me explain the main argument. There were essentially two main arguments from Mohib against Vande Matram – Individual liberty (which I agree includes religious freedom) and second the context of Vande Matram (Anand Math was anti-Muslim).
What I have argued against is the second argument. I think the first argument suffices for Muslims not singing the National Song. If one does not want to sing.. he/she may not!
However, when it comes to bringing up the issue of the context of the novel – where the protagonists are alleged to have fought the Muslims and so it makes Muslims uncomfortable – my argument goes that through-out history and even today, in time of war (and Anand Math did have the context of battle) such images are brought up. More importantly, in those time (Mughal time and Muslim rule before it), there are enough atrocities by these rulers for the Hindu kings and common man to stand up and fight. The Muslims of that era were barbarians…. no less. And that is clear in the treatment of Hindus and more strikingly the Sikh Gurus. Religious imagery was therefore one of the ways that even Guru Gobind Singh used to fight the Mughals of his day!
Now, the Muslims of those times and today – are different people – at least as a generation. So, sins of one generation should not define another generation. Hence, when the Muslims of today start "feeling bad" because someone in that era used religious imagery to counter the barbaric ways of the Muslims then, it tantamounts – in my mind – to condoning all that Mughals and the Muslim rulers stood for – barbaric acts and high degree of intolerance (Jizya etc). So, in my view using that argument is what I call "a slippery slope"!
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