Government employees in Maharashtra will now have to start their phone conversations with “Vande Mataram”, not “hello”.
The decision was made minutes after the BJP’s Sudhir Mungantiwar was announced as the new cultural affairs minister.
Mungantiwar said the aim was to drop the “foreign” greeting and adopt a Swadeshi one.
“The country is celebrating the 75th year of independence. It is decided that government employees will no more use hello but start their telephonic conversations with ‘Vande Mataram’,” he said.
“Vande Mataram is our national anthem. It is not just a word but a symbol of the sentiments of Indians towards Mother India. Written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1875, this song served to energise the freedom fighters of that time. Bankim Chandra evoked a spark of patriotism in the hearts of many.”
Mungantiwar said “every word of this composition” awakens a feeling of patriotism in Indians. “Ever since the telephone came into existence in the 1800s, we have been starting conversations with the word ‘hello’, but government employees in all offices will now begin with ‘Vande Mataram’.”