The Indian Express
New Delhi, 8 June 1997
30. Vande Mataram ‘dispute’
at BJP Muslim meeting
Express News Service

NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 - A MISUNDERSTANDING between firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharati and her senior Sikander Bakht over “Vande Mataram” created a flutter at the National Muslim Youth Convention organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha here today.

In a departure from BJP tradition, the convention did not begin with the national song, inviting Bakht’s wrath. Chiding the Muslim community for what he called its well-known objections to Vande Mataram, the BJP leader told the gathering that he was “ashamed” by this.

Vande Mataram means salutation to the Motherland, he said. “Can’t we salute our Motherland? Why should we be ashamed of it?” he asked.

Bharati, however, clarified later that she had scrapped the song as the president of the Morcha because no one had come prepared to sing it. “No one knew all the words or had practised the song,” she said in defence of her decision. “Unfortunately, Bakhtji got the wrong impression.”*

Bakht told ENS that he was not upset with Bharati for her decision. “She did it out of consideration for the Muslim community. I am upset that Muslims feel this way about the song. Why should this feeling be there at all?” he said.


* Uma Bharati has perfected the art of lying with a straight face. Hindus should beware of double-faced firebrands like her. She is quite capable of spitting venom against Hindus and Hinduism in her usual firebrand fashion if her claim as an OBC leader, or as a warrior for woman’s rights, or even as a spokesperson for the dalits is not conceded in due course.

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