The debate on nationalism refuses to die down. Close on the heels of  Assauddin Owaisi, head of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) refusing to chant the phrase- “Bharat mata ki jai”,  Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president from Amritsar, Simranjit Singh Mann has given the issue a gender twist,  by refusing to say it on the pretext of the phrase being gendered towards women and the fact that his religion does not worship any woman. [Feature image credit: DNA India]

“Sikhs don’t worship women in any form. Hence, they can’t chant this slogan,”  Mann’s words in a report.

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Propogating the Sikh philosophy of, “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh’, he said that Sikhs should chant this phrase instead to prove their nationalism. He also declined to recite ‘Vande Mataram’. Another strong statement by him : “religious scriptures like the Geeta should not be imposed on people from other religions as has been done in BJP-ruled Haryana.” This, an obvious dig at the majority party in parliament.

So even as the nationalists cry themselves hoarse in the bid to prove their loyalty to India, “bharat mata ki jai” seems to have become the new source for controversy. While the RSS backed BJP insists that refusal to chant the slogan is akin to being anti-national, religious leaders are now are now sparking off a fresh war of words by entering the debate.  This began with Muslims, when Owaisi agreed to get under the knife, rather than saying the phrase. Next, BJP government in Haryana introduced a proposal to introduce the  Bhagwad Geeta In school curriculum . Countering this, the SAD head, Mann spoke against the phrase, his main contention being the fact that preachings should not be forced on people from other religions.

Over to the next round. Watch this space.