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Singing of Vande Mataram compulsory in TN schools, offices, says Madras HC

The Madras High Court on Tuesday made the singing of Vande Mataram in schools, government offices, private entities and industries compulsory in Tamil Nadu. Justice M V Muralidharan stated that schools must sing it at least once a week either on Monday or Friday, and offices should sing it at least once a month.

“If people feel it difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil”, he said.

However, he made it clear that if any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song for a valid reason, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it.

Before parting, the judge added that youth of India are the future of tomorrow and that the court hopes and trusts that this order shall be taken in the right spirit and also implemented in letter and spirit by the citizenry of the nation.

The matter pertains to a plea moved by K Veeramani, who failed to clear the written test for an examination, and answered that the song was written in Bengali.

According to the petitioner, he was awarded 89 marks in the test conducted for the post by the Teachers Recruitment Board. But the minimum eligibility mark was fixed as 90 due to which he lost the opportunity of getting recruited.

Subsequently, he found that he lost the one mark required for his selection, as he answered Bengali for the question on the language of ‘Vande Mataram’. But claiming that he had read in many books where it was given that the song was originally written in Bengali, he alleged that TRB had made a mistake in the answer key to the test by mentioning that the right answer as Sanskrit. He further claimed that for the mistake made by the board, he lost his opportunity of being appointed as a BT Assistant.

The Government Pleader contended that the song was originally written in Sanskrit and was translated later in Bengali.
To clear the ambiguity, the judge directed the Advocate General to find out the right answer. It was clarified on 13 July that the original language of ‘Vande Mataram’ was Sanskrit but written in Bengali script.

The judge said the government must include Veeramani in the teacher selection process.

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