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Vande Mataram

Posted on:1/13/2006
Vande Mataram is the national song of India. The song was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in a highly Sanskritized form of the Bengali language. The song first appeared in his book Anandamatha, published in 1882 amid fears of a ban by British Raj, though the song itself was actually written six years prior in 1876. "Vande Mataram" was the national cry for freedom from British oppression during the freedom movement.


Vande Mataram is the national song of India. The song was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in a highly Sanskritized form of the Bengali language. The song first appeared in his book Anandamatha, published in 1882 amid fears of a ban by British Raj, though the song itself was actually written six years prior in 1876. "Vande Mataram" was the national cry for freedom from British oppression during the freedom movement. Large rallies, fermenting initially in West Bengal, in the major metropolis of Calcutta (Kolkata), would work themselves up into a patriotic fever by shouting the slogan "Vande Mataram," or "Hail to the Mother(land)!" The British, fearful of the potential danger of an incited Indian populace, at one point banned the utterance of the motto in public forums and jailed many freedom fighters for disobeying the proscription. To this day, "Vande Mataram" is seen as a national mantra describing the love of patriots for the country of India., Rabindranath Tagore sang 'Vande Mataram' in 1896 at the Calcutta (Kolkata) Congress Session. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang 'Vande Mataram' in the Benares Congress Session in 1905. Lala Lajpatrai started a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

Though a major aspirant for being the national anthem of India, Vande Mataram was eventually overtaken by Jana Gana Mana, which was ultimately chosen. The choice was slightly controversial, since the Vande Mataram was the one song that truly depicted the pre-independence national fervour. The song was rejected on the grounds that Muslims felt offended by its depiction of the nation as "Ma Durga"—a Hindu goddess—thus equating the nation with the Hindu conception of shakti, divine feminine dynamic force; and by its origin as part of Anandamatha, a novel they felt had an anti-Muslim message. (See External links below.) However, in recent times, there has been much more of an acceptance of the historically passionate patriotic cry and, for example, famous Muslim popular music composer A.R. Rahman has released an album with the same title, which had become a resounding success.

Dr Rajendra Prasad, who was presiding the Constituent Assembly on January 24, 1950, made the following statement which was also adopted as the final decision on the issue:

The composition consisting of words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations as the Government may authorise as occasion arises, and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honored equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause) I hope this will satisfy members. (Constituent Assembly of India, Vol.XII, 24-1-1950)


  
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