NEW DELHI: Slamming RSS leader Bhaiyyajji Joshi for his purported remark that 'Vande Mataram', and not 'Jana Gana Mana', is the "real national anthem", Congress asked the Narendra Modi government to take action against him under the law for protecting "national honour".
Terming RSS general sceretary Joshi's remark as an "insult" to 125 crore Indians, AICC communication department chief Randeep Surjewala asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain his position on it. Alleging that Joshi's views show "RSS is still engaged in negating the golden history of the freedom struggle", he asked the BJP-led central government to take action against him under the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
"Joshi has said that the feeling of patriotism that one gets while singing Vande Mataram does not arise from the singing of the national anthem. This is one more conspiracy to distort the history of the freedom struggle," he said.
Joshi had on Friday said in Mumbai that "Jana Gana Mana is today our national anthem. It has to be respected. There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment... but it is the national anthem as decided by the Constitution. If one considers the true meaning, then Vande Mataram is the national anthem."
Surjewala said, "Congress and Vande Mataram became synonymous with each other" after the party "adopted" the slogan after the division of Bengal in 1905, much before the RSS's birth in 1925. Targeting RSS, the Congress spokesperson alleged that two heads of the organisation, KB Hedgewar and MS Golwalkar, were "biased against" the national flag.
Surjewala claimed that while the then Congress President Jawaharlal Nehru had urged countrymen in 1929 to hoist the tricolour from January 26, 1930, Hedgewar, the RSS chief at the time, had written to all RSS members asking them to worship the saffron flag the same day.
"This shows that RSS dishonoured the national flag from the onset," he said. "Since 1925, there is no mention of Vande Mataram in the literature of RSS. Only 'Namaste Sadavatsale' has been sung at RSS branches since 1939.
"Our question is whether RSS will replace its prayer song with the national song (Vande Mataram) and the national anthem (Jana Gana Mana) in all its offices when Congress ensures that both these are recited with dedication in all its offices and programmes," Surjewala said.
He claimed that RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser' in its issue of August 14, 1947, said that "the tricolour may be put into the hands of Indians after independence but it will never be an honour to the Hindus and that the statistics of three (colours of the national flag) in itself is inauspicious."
The Congress leader further alleged that even after independence, Golwalkar wrote in an article that the leaders of the country have decided on a new flag which symbolises our march towards degradation.
Surjewala alleged that BJP and RSS have been "insulting" the national symbols "in a big way" for the last 23 months after the Narendra Modi government came to power.
"Congress seeks a reply from the RSS and BJP on behalf of the 125 crore people of India as to what is the basis on which they are insulting these symbols when they made no contribution in the Indian freedom struggle and played no role in the formation of national symbols," he said.