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Private bill introduced to make "bharat mata ki jai" part of lawmaker's oath

  • Taking the whole "Bharat mata ki jai" debate to a whole new level, North Mumbai MP Gopal Chinayya Shetty on Friday submitted a private members' bill in Lok Sabha seeking to make saying "Bharat Mata ki Jai" mandatory for elected representatives taking oath. The proposal, bizarre to say the least was criticized heavily by many but at the same time got support from his BJP comrades.

    The bill seeks an amendment to the third schedule of the Constitution and has been listed in Lok Sabha for discussion and consideration. "Making Bharat Mata ki Jai compulsory for elected representatives will be an apt reply to all who have opposed it," Shetty said. His proposal will be at the mercy of lady luck though, since the private bills introduced in the assembly are decided on the basis of drawing of lots. It is not the first time BJP has been caught in the nationalism whirlpool, with top party officials and even Mohan Bhagwat of the RSS promoting the chanting of the slogan to prove the nationalism of an individual.

    Though Bhagwat later retracted the statement, saying "Indian nationalism is above everything. It does not need to be forced down people's throat." Amit Shah, in the past few days, has come down heavily on those who refuse to chant the slogan. According to him, the slogan is "above debate" and it has been made a rallying point on the topic of nationalism in the country.

    When asked whether he had discussed with senior party members before introducing the private bill, Shetty replied that he had no talks with any fellow colleagues and he had acted on his own initiative. "Our party is democratic and we have liberty to take such initiatives," he said. The introduction of the private bill went rather unnoticed but it is sure to lead to some very heated argument in the assembly. Although the ruling party is pretty fixed with it's stance on the debatable topic, there have been certain cracks in their stance too. On one hand party president Amit Shah and his ideological partner - Mohan Bhagwat of RSS - preach the importance of chanting the slogan and how the slogan brings out the true spirit of patriotism, on the other hand, former BJP leader L.K Advani dismissed the debate on "bharat mata ki jai" as meaningless. Later on various personalities spoke up on the topic, with yoga guru Baba Ramdev being the latest one to voice his opinions.

     

    OUR TAKE

    The issue has been dragged on by the political leaders and has been fuelled by their hot-headedness. When the constitution provides a person with the right to practise his or her religion to the fullest, then where is the harm if a Muslim brother refuses to chant the the slogan? You cannot point a gun and beg for patriotism in a country where India-Pak matches mean public holidays and where we boast of our exploits (albeit small) in sports, innovation, television and what not. We have no moral obligation to prove our nationalism by shouting a slogan out in public. We feel patriotic and we let it out by various mediums. The constitution does not provide these moral polices provisions to term more than half the country as "non-patriots". Thus, they have no right to tell people what to say and what not to. But at the same time, making statements like " I will not chant the slogan even if they chop my head off." (by Owaisi) does not speak well about him. It goes a bit too far and is not required. Adlai Stevenson made this beautiful observation once and it really reflects the crux of the topic - "Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."


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