NEW DELHI: Senior RSS functionary Bhaiyyaji Joshi’s comments putting Vande Mataram over the national anthem, and the saffron flag over the tricolor stoked a fresh controversy on Friday, forcing the Sangh to clarify on Saturday that it was mandatory for every citizen to respect the national flag.
Speaking at a Mumbai function on Friday, Joshi said Vande Mataram was the real national anthem as opposed to the ‘Constitutionally-mandated’ one.
“...The sentiments expressed in Jana Gana Mana have been expressed keeping the state in view... However, the sentiments expressed in Vande Mataram denote the nation’s character and style... Both deserve respect,” the RSS general secretary said.
As these comments led the Congress and other parties to question the RSS’ motives, the organisation clarified that Joshi had been deliberating on the difference between Rajya (state power) and Rashtra (nation).
In a statement from spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya, the Sangh said, “The saffron flag has been revered by people of Bharat since time immemorial as a symbol of our ancient culture. We revere both the tiranga which is our state flag and saffron flag, which is the symbol of ancient culture.”
“While Jana Gana Mana described the idea of Rajya, Vande Mataram denoted our cultural identity and devotion to it. All of us should equally respect and adore both,” he said.