Our national song is in the news once again, albeit for all the wrong reasons. It is sad and ironic that the song, penned by Bankim Chandra Chaterjee more a century back, which once unified the entire nation is now proving so divisive.

Vande mataram is an ode to our motherland. Surely singing such a song cannot be akin to insulting God! Apparently it is, according to the All India Sunni Ulema board; singing the national song is not a touchstone of patriotism. Besides, making it obligatory to sing in schools might hurt the sentiments of many people. However I would urge my Muslim brothers and sisters to think independently for themselves. I am sure the views of the Sunni Ulema board do not represent the views of the entire Muslim population of India.

In a country where temples and mosques get more political mileage than the suicides of farmers, it is no wonder that the centenary celebration of our national song has taken a backseat. While singing or not singing the song is purely an individual’s choice, I do hope that this beautiful song, which reminds us of our freedom struggle does not become a pawn in this game of political upmanship, like so many things in our country already have.