A Public Internet Litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking direction to declare that “the song ‘Vande Mataram’, which had played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with ‘Jana-Gana-Mana’ and shall have equal status with it in spirit of the Statement made by the Constituent Assembly Chairman Dr Rajendra Prasad with regard to the National Anthem, on January 24, 1950”. It also sought direction to the Centre and State Governments to ensure that ‘Jana-Gana-Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day and also to frame guidelines in the spirit of the Constituent Assembly resolution dated January 24, 1950 read with the Judgment passed by the Madras High Court and Supreme Court of India.
The petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, practising lawyer and BJP leader stated that India is a Union of States and not an association or confederation of States. There is only one nationality i.e. Indian and it is the duty of every Indian to respect ‘Vande Mataram’. “In order to keep the country united, it is the duty of the Government to frame a National Policy to promote-propagate Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram. There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment as the both are decided by Constitution makers.” “The sentiments expressed in Jana Gana Mana have been expressed while keeping the State in view. However, sentiments expressed in Vande Mataram denote the nation’s character and style and deserve similar respect. Sometimes, Vande Mataram is sung in such circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law. It is the duty of every Indian to show respect when Vandemataram is played/sung,” said the plea.
Vande Mataram was the whole nation’s thought and motto when India gained independence from British rule during the independence movement. Large rallies, fermenting initially in major cities, worked themselves up into a patriotic fervour by shouting the slogan Vande Mataram’. The British, fearful of the potential danger of incited populace, at one point in time, banned the utterance of Vande Mataram in public places and imprisoned many independence activists for disobeying the proscription, the plea said. Rabindranath Tagore sang ‘Vande Mataram in 1896 at the Calcutta Congress Session. Dakhina Charan Sen sang Vande Mataram five years later in 1901 in another Congress Session at Calcutta. Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang Vande Mataram in Benares Congress Session in 1905. Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore, the plea stated.