It is most unfortunate that some Muslim organizations gave out a directive to madrassas (Islamic schools) to bar children from singing the national anthem on Independence Day. Such action which militates against the national spirit is reprehensible and ill-advised. While some clerics can be blamed for their brazen order, the Yogi Adityanath government in U.P. only worsened matters by singling out madrassas to be videographed to determine whether the students there were singing the national anthem on Independence Day or not.
It has been reported that the Bareilly town qazi (priest) Maulana Asjad Raza Khan who was the first to issue an appeal against singing the national anthem in madrassas held a meeting at Dargah Aala Hazrat with clerics from across the state where it was decided that children in madrassas will sing ‘Sare jahan se achchha Hindustan hamara’ instead of the national anthem and that they would celebrate the event as per Shariat. This is a wilful and brazen defiance of authority for which the madrassa authorities and their inciters need to be duly punished.
The law of the land must be respected and no religion must consider itself immune to following it. There cannot be one set of laws for a minority community and another for others. The national anthem is for all countrymen regardless of what religious faith they conform to. That is standard practice in all countries. There is nothing in India’s national anthem which is violative of or contrary to the spirit of any religion and no community can be allowed to violate its sanctity. There is freedom given in the Constitution for every citizen to follow his or her religion but that freedom does not extend to not following the country’s national anthem.
Rather than escalating the issue, Muslim organizations must show the wisdom and good sense to make the defiant clerics see reason. It is also unfortunate that instead of trying persuasion, the Yogi Adityanath government decided to install video recording devices in madrassas which gave many moderate Muslims a sense of deep resentment that they were, as a community, being held under suspicion. While the government needs to put its foot down that the national anthem must be given the sanctity it deserves, violators of the directive must be duly warned and on persistent refusal brought to book through legal processes.