Over 100 artistes and academicians belonging to Muslim community launched a scathing attack on Wednesday, on Jamiat-Ulema-e Hind resolution on 'Vande Mataram' saying the move would only "unnecessarily provoke" a controversy and strengthen Hindutva forces.
"We don't believe Vande Mataram is a test case of some one's patriotism. We strongly condemn the Jamiat move to unnecessarily provoke a controversy over it. "This move has only strengthened the Hindutva forces, which have been in disarray since the last Parliamentary elections. We also condemn the Hindu right wing forces' attempt to impose its recitation on citizens to prove one's patriotism," they said in a statement.
The 115 signatories of the statement include historian Irfan Habib, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, lyricist Javed Akhtar and filmmaker Sayed Mirza. They also criticised the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind's move to establish non-residential schools for girls with a "specially carved out" syllabus, saying it was a "retrogressive move not only isolate girls from the mainstream but also to keep them confined to the secluded sectarian atmosphere." Speaking at a press conference where the statement was released, filmmaker Sohail Hashmi said "the voice of Mullahs does not represent the voice of the entire Muslim community in the country."
Hashmi said, "a clergy cannot solve the problems. We need to look out for secular solutions. There is a voice among
Muslims which is left unheard. The voice of the particular section or the clergy is not the voice of all the Muslims." Speaking on the same lines senior journalist, Zafar Agha said, "We need India to understand that the voice of Mullahs isn't the voice of all of us. There is a large number of liberal, educated Muslims who are totally against the resolution and the fatwa."
Scientist and poet Gauhar Raza said, "Whatever they are proposing is anti-scientific and anti-democratic. We, Muslims have a voice, which just needs to be amplified." Regarding the Jamiat's move in girl's education, Hashmi said the rate of educated Muslims is already less and this system would decline it further.
Supporting the Centre's move to standardise modern education syllabus through establishing a madrasa board, the group said, "This will open a window for madrasa students to modern education and surveys show that an overwhelmingly large
number of Muslims are in favour of modern education."