Bharat Mata Ki Jai, the chant invoking patriotism, is ironically being dragged as a tool to divide the nation, it seems.
This divisive ploy to split the nation and damage its ethos is being spearheaded by the BJP, the political outfit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which claims to be more nationalist than all others.
Those who are not willing to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai have no right to live in the country, according to none other than Devendra Fadnavis, who is the chief minister of Maharashtra, a state ruled by the BJP.
Perhaps, the trigger for such a statement came from a statement by Darul Uloom Deoband, the largest Muslim seminary in the country.
It issued a fatwa on Friday stating that chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai is not in consonance with Islamic tenets and hence Muslims should not say it.
What more does a party like BJP, with its avowed Hindutva moorings, need to rake up an issue?
It is only simple logic that BJP leaders, especially those who have been avowedly mentored by RSS like Fadnavis, would jump into the issue, in an apparent show of their 'nationalistic pride'.
An insinuation in this scenario is that some communities in general are less patriotic. Or so it seems.
But what went unnoticed in the din is the latter part of the Darul Uloom Deoband fatwa.
“But we love our country immensely and we can raise slogans like 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Madre Vatan (motherland)," it said.
Clearly, there is no case to suggest that the Darul Uloom Deoband fatwa is against the nation.
But the issue with such statements and counter statements by political leaders who dabble with religion is that it can clearly divide the nation on communal lines.
No one notices the finer nuances of any fatwa in a surcharged atmosphere triggered by a sensitive issue. While some political parties can hope to reap rich dividends from such an emotive issue, Fadnavis and senior BJP leaders should clearly understand that adopting such hardline postures in such issues cannot unite the nation. Rather, it would only serve to divide the country and polarise its inhabitants on caste and communal lines.
Moreover, the BJP cannot claim to be the sole custodian of nationalism. Such rants as well as fatwas can only serve to deeply polarise the nation. And the last thing we need is such a scenario.
Chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai is not the touchstone of nationalism.
And the country's rulers, who hope to steer the nation as a superpower in the near future, have too many other concerns to attend to rather than feeding jingoistic elements.
Perhaps Fadnavis should listen to what RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat himself said in Lucknow a few days back on the issue.
The RSS chief said the chanting of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" cannot be forced down anyone's throat, and efforts should rather be made to contribute towards making India a great country and a world leader. Read more
Now, will not Fadnavis pay heed to what his ideological mentor has to say on the issue. If not his motives are suspect in raking up such an issue again.
May saner voices prevail.