In what has become a peculiar fashion of propaganda to break the customary western culture, the BJP ruling Maharashtra has launched a campaign to end saying 'Hello' on phone and instead, the government has instructed to address the people by saying 'Vande Mataram'.
The instruction, which drew national attention, was passed on to the state government employees and officers. The campaign was launched on Sunday by the government headed by dissented Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde with the backing of the BJP, where the party's senior leader Devendra Fadnavis is serving as the Deputy Chief Minister.
According to reports, the state government on Saturday issued a resolution appealing to the state employees and officers to greet people with 'Vande Mataram' instead of 'Hello' during official or personal phone calls. The government has said that the word 'Hello' depicts western culture and does not arouse any emotion.
The resolution claimed, "Greeting people by saying 'Vande Mataram' will create a feeling of affection", and stated that an awareness campaign should be conducted to promote it.
By citing that the Vante Mataram greeting is not mandatory, the government has asked the heads of departments to encourage their staff to use this greeting instead of saying Hello. Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, "Vande Mataram means we bow before our mother. Hence, it is our appeal to the people to say Vande Mataram instead of Hello."
The minister made his comments while he was at a rally held in the Wardha district on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He further 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.
Mungantiwar noted that during the Independence movement, a slogan like 'Inquilab Zindabad' (long live the revolution) was banned by the British rulers. He said, "But, it (the ban) 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."
The minister further said that the state government will come up with an audiobook on 850 key personalities from Maharashtra who played a major role in the formation of the state. "Like the audiobook, we will also come up with MaharashtraTel, where stories and information about key personalities and their contribution will be available in audio format. People can listen to it while travelling as well", he added.
On the other hand, the Congress party on Sunday said the party would greet people with 'Jai Baliraja' and 'Ram Ram' to express its gratitude to farmers. Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole maintained that the party is not opposed to the Vande Mataram greeting.