On Bankim Chandra’s 174th Birthday: Why ‘Vande Mataram’ is Vital for the Nation

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 | by

Today is the 174th birth anniversary of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, the great mind that breathed life in to the national song Vande Mataram. The song that means “I bow to thee, Mother” first figured in Chattopadhyay’s famed novel Anandamath, published in 1882.Written in Bengali and Sanskrit, the song is an invocation to the nation, whom Indians see as Bharat Mata, a form of Goddess Durga.

Here are a few aspects of the song, probably forgotten features revived by Shiva Venkat@MatrixBuddha in the micro-blogging site Twitter.

  • VandeMataram was a patriotic song written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay for his Novella ‘Anand Math’.
  • The beauty of the song is that it was written by Bankim even b4 the novel, which was inspired by the song!!
  • The novel was based on ‘Sanyasi’ Rebellion of 1770’s which was a revolt against East India Company’s (mis)rule!!
  • It was set to tune by Rabindranath Tagore and sung by him at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress!!
  • VandeMataram was made as a National Slogan for Freedom movement against British in India. It was war-cry for freedom-fighters!!
  • The song personifies India as Durga, who will throw away the English-yolk to establish Hindu Rashtra in India!!
  • In the words of Sister Nivedita, “Aurobindo came out with a new interpretation of Bankim Chandra’s song, ‘Bande Mataram’, which now leaped out of its comparative obscurity within the covers of a Bengali novel and in one sweep found itself on the lips of every Indian man, woman or child.”
  • In the striking words of Sri Aurobindo as an accolade to Bankim Chatterjee “And when posterity comes to crown with her praises the Makers of India, she will place her most splendid laurel not on the sweating temples of a place-hunting politician, nor on the narrow forehead of a noisy social reformer but on the serene brow of that gracious Bengali who never clamored for place or power, but did his work in silence for love of his work, even as nature does, and, just because he had no aim but to give out the best that was in him, was able to create a language, a literature and a nation.”
  • It was imprinted on the first version of Indian Flag at Stuggart, Germany in 1907 by Bhikaiji Cama!!
  • Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar had set the tradition of singing Vande Mataram in all Congress Sessions since 1915.
  • Sri Aurobindo Ghosh translated this patriotic song into a beautiful English poem, which was famous in itself!!
  • The nation-poet Subramanya Bharathiyar gave his version in Tamil, which showed the National aspect of the Song!!
  • It was eternal ‘Mantra’ on the lips of thousands of freedom-fighters who died echoing Vande Mataram to eternity!!
  • When Bengal was partitioned in 1905, it was the war-cry of Vande Mataram which united Bengal again!!
  • This song was rejected over Tagore’s ‘Jana Gana’; b’coz it was alleged to have hurt the sentiments of Muslims!!
  • It is the de-facto National Anthem given its historical and cultural importance to India’s freedom movement!!
  • In 1923, at the Kakinada Congress Session, Maulana Mohamed Ali, who was the President, objected to it for first time!!The Muslim leaders wanted the song completely replaced by Iqbal’s song ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’!!
  • Nehru felt the song inspired Nationalism & Patriotism as ‘out of keeping with modern notions of nationalism & progress.’!!
  • Muslims felt that the whole ‘Anandmath’ novel has anti-Muslim sentiments, when the fact is otherwise!! The Sanyasi Rebillion had both Hindu Sanyasis and Muslim Fakirs fighting together against British Rule!!
  • Muslim fanatic organisations like All India Sunni Ulema Board have issued ‘fatwas’ against singing this song!!

And other valuable inputs from others on Twitter:

  • advaitachowdhary@mayaadvaita: 1908 MuslimLeague opposedVandeMataram and at the League’s session Sayyed Imam condemned as sectarian for worshipping motherland as goddess.
  • Vinoy@Sinvin43 : A committee led by Nehru had recommended VandeMataram‬ as our NationalAnthem but on Muslim objection decision was changed.

And on this day, let us all sing, with the same fervour with which Bankim Chnadra composed the song:

वन्दे मातरम्  सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम् शस्यशामलां मातरम् ।
शुभ्रज्योत्स्नापुलकितयामिनीं फुल्लकुसुमितद्रुमदलशोभिनीं  सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीं
सुखदां वरदां मातरम् ।। १

वन्दे मातरम् ।

कोटि-कोटि-कण्ठ-कल-कल-निनाद-कराले कोटि-कोटि-भुजैर्धृत-खरकरवाले, अबला केन मा एत बले ।
बहुबलधारिणीं नमामि तारिणीं रिपुदलवारिणीं मातरम् ।। २

वन्दे मातरम् ।

तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म त्वं हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति, हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति, तोमारई प्रतिमा गडि
मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे मातरम् ।। ३

वन्दे मातरम् ।

त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी कमला कमलदलविहारिणी वाणी विद्यादायिनी, नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलां सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् ।।

वन्दे मातरम् ।

श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषितां धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् ।। ५

वन्दे मातरम् ।।



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1 Response to On Bankim Chandra’s 174th Birthday: Why ‘Vande Mataram’ is Vital for the Nation

  1. Guruprasad Bhat

    Vande Mataram

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