The Maharashtra government on Sunday launched a campaign appealing to people to say 'Vande Mataram' while receiving phone calls instead of the customary 'Hello.'
A day earlier it had issued a Government Resolution (GR) appealing to the state employees and officers to greet people with 'Vande Mataram' instead of 'Hello' during official or personal phone calls, stating the word "hello" depicts the western culture and does not arouse any emotion.
“The 'Vande Mataram' greeting is not mandatory, but the heads of departments should encourage their staff to do so,” the GR said. Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday said the party will greet people with 'Jai Baliraja' and 'Ram Ram' to express its gratitude to farmers.
State Congress president Nana Patole, however, added that the party was not opposed to the 'Vande Mataram' greeting.
"Vande Mataram means we are bowing before our mother. Hence, it is our appeal to the people to say Vande Mataram instead of Hello,” state Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said at a rally held in Wardha district on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
He said people can also say 'Jai Bhim' or 'Jai Shri Ram', or even mention their parents' names while answering a phone call. "All forms (of greetings) are okay with us. Our appeal is to avoid saying Hello while receiving a call," the minister added.
As per the GR, 'Hello' depicts the western culture and the word did not have any specific meaning. "The word is just a formality which does not arouse any emotion".
“Greeting people by saying 'Vande Mataram' will create a feeling of affection,” it said, adding that an awareness campaign should be conducted to promote it.
Mungantiwar said during the Independence movement, a slogan like 'Inquilab Zindabad' (long live the revolution) was banned by the British rulers.
"But, it inspired many people to join the (freedom) movement and eventually we won freedom. Even Mahatma Gandhi had supported (chanting of) 'Vande Mataram' and he had written so in a (newspaper) column published at that time,” he said.
Patole said the Congress will greet people by saying 'Jai Baliraja' (hail the farmer) and 'Ram Ram' as a way to express its gratitude to farmers.
“Our country is an agrarian economy where the agriculture sector plays a major role. It is our stand that we will say 'Jai Baliraja' and 'Ram Ram' while greeting people to express gratitude for farmers," he told reporters when asked about the 'Vande Mataram'