Days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' remarks, a top functionary of the organisation has said that 'Vande Mataram' is the real national anthem as opposed to the 'Constitutionally-mandated' Jana Gana Mana.
"Jana Gana Mana is today our national anthem. It has to be respected. There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment," RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said.
"But it is the national anthem as decided by the Constitution. If one considers the true meaning, then Vande Mataram is the national anthem," he said on Friday at the Deendayal Upadhyay Research Institute in Mumbai.
"We consider things created due to the Constitution to be national," Joshi said.
"When was Jana Gana Mana written? It was written some time back. But the sentiments expressed in Jana Gana Mana have been expressed keeping the state in view," he said.
"However, the sentiments expressed in Vande Mataram denote the nation's character and style. This is the difference between the two songs. Both deserve respect," Joshi said.
'Vande Mataram', literally, "I praise thee, Mother", is a poem by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
A hymn to the 'Mother Land', it played a vital role in the Indian independence movement. In 1950, the song's first two verses were given the official status of the "national song", distinct from the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.