The Madras High Court on Tuesday ruled that Vande Mataram should be sung in all schools and colleges across the state “at least once a week”, and in government and private offices “at least once a month”. Issuing the order, Justice M V Muralidharan said: “Considering the larger public interest and to instil a sense of patriotism in each and every citizen of the state, the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ shall be played and sung in all schools/ colleges/ universities and other educational institutions at least once a week (preferably on Monday or Friday).”
He added that Vande Mataram “shall be played and sung in all government offices and institutions/ private companies/ factories and industries at least once a month.” “If people feel it is difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil,” said the court, as it directed the public information department to upload the translated version of Vande Mataram in Tamil and English, thereby making it available on government websites and social media.
“In the event, any person/ organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the national song, he or she shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so,” it said.
“The youth of this country are the future of tomorrow, and 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 this great nation,” said the court.
“Patriotism is an essential requirement for every citizen of this country… Several people have sacrificed their lives and families to the independence struggle… In those tough times, it was songs like our national song Vande Mataram which created a sense of belief and confidence in people,” it said.
“Perhaps in today’s modern era, where we have marched ahead with technology, our lives have changed a lot. We have become busy with our own lives that sometimes we forget our nation,” it added.
The court was hearing a petition filed by K Veeramani, a candidate who failed the Teachers Recruitment Board’s written test for the post of ‘BT Assistant’. Veeramani claimed that he had missed recruitment to the post by one mark due to “wrong” evaluation for a question on Vande Mataram. The question was, “in which language was Vande Mataram written first?”. Veeramani had written Bengali, but his answer was marked wrong. He was awarded 89 marks against the minimum 90 to be eligible for appointment.
During the arguments, the government pleader said the song was originally written in Sanskrit, and later translated in Bengali. Later, as per the direction of the High Court, the Advocate General clarified that while the song was of Sanskrit-origin, it was written in Bengali.
The court on Tuesday ordered the government to include Veeramani in the list of candidates selected.
Meanwhile, a petition is also pending in the Supreme Court demanding that singing Vande Mataram be made mandatory in schools, Parliament, state assemblies, public offices and courts. On April 17, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to the Centre on the petition filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwani Upadhyay. The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing on August 23.