In an effort to instil patriotism, the Madras High Court has made the singing of India‚Äôs National Song - Vande Mataram at least once a week compulsory in all schools, colleges, universities and educational institutions.
Justice MV Muralidharan also directed the National Song to be played and sung in all government offices and institutions, private companies and industries at least once a month.
The High Court order reads:
"The Director of Public Information is directed to upload and circulate the translated version of ‚ÄúVande Matharam‚ÄĚ in Tamil and English thereby making it available in the Government websites and also in social media;
Let a copy of this order be marked to the Chief Secretary of the Government of Tamil Nadu, who shall issue appropriate instructions to the concerned authorities;
In the event, any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the National Song, he or she shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so."
Elaborating on why instilling patriotism is essential today, Justice Muralidharan that as we have become busy with our own lives, we have sometimes forgotten the nation.
‚ÄúPatriotism is an essential requirement for every citizen of this country. The fact that this country is our Motherland should always be remembered by every citizen of this country. Several people have sacrificed their lives and families to the independent struggle that prolonged for several decades. In these tough times, it was songs like our national song ‚ÄúVande Matharam‚ÄĚ which created a sense of belief and confidence in the people.‚ÄĚ
Referring to the Supreme Court's order last year making it mandatory for the playing of the National Anthem at cinema halls, Justice Muralidharan observes that it would be "desirable" that the National Song Vande Mataram is sung by citizens from all walks of life, as frequently as possible.
The High Court order was pronounced while hearing a petition filed by K Veeramani, who had approached the court over the question ‚Äď In what language was Vande Mataram first written. Veeramani had moved the court after his answer ‚ÄėBengali‚Äô in a Teachers Recruitment Board examination had cost him a position as a teacher in a Tamil Nadu government school. The petitioner, who had scored 89 marks as against the cut off of 90, had lost out on the position.
The court ordered the awarding of one mark for the petitioner after the Tamil Nadu government accepted that Vande Mataram was originally written in Bengali.
‚ÄúFrom the perusal of the materials produced before this Court, that the song ‚ÄúVande Matharam‚ÄĚ was originally penned down as ‚ÄúBondey Matorom‚ÄĚ by Bongkim Chondro Chottoapadhyay in Bengali. It was later translated to Sanskrit as ‚ÄúVande Matharam‚ÄĚ. Though Sanskrit has been used in the song a cursory perusal of all relevant records produced would reveal that the native language in which the song was written in Bengali,‚ÄĚ said the court order.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court is also hearing a petition asking the Centre to make the singing of Vande Mataram mandatory in schools. While the apex court had in April given the Centre four weeks to reply, the next hearing is scheduled for August 25.
Vande Mataram, originally a Bengali poem composed by Bankim Chatterjee in the 1870s, was adopted as India‚Äôs national song after independence in 1947.