Vande Mataram: A song in search of a nation – Economic Times

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 5:50 am

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The song Vande Mataram or Bande Mataram, as the original in Bengali would be pronounced, predates Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyays novel Anandamath, by quite a few years. The verses that contain a mix of Bengali and Sanskrit words were probably written around 1876 and later incorporated in the novel that was serialized in a Kolkata publication in 1881-1882. Its most famous rendition was in 1896 by Rabindranath Tagore at a meeting of the Indian National Congress in Kolkata. During the following decade the two words Bande Mataram or Vande Mataram also caught on as a political slogan for freedom fighters. It has remained widely popular and at the same time generated its own share of controversy. Here is a sample of all that has happened over Indias national song over its 140-years plus history:

Translation by Sri Aurobindo in 1909

I bow to thee, Mother, richly-watered, richly-fruited, cool with the winds of the south, dark with the crops of the harvests, The Mother!

Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight, her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom, sweet of laughter, sweet of speech, The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss!

Vande Mataram Pop: * There have been various versions of Vande Mataram sung in Bollywood songs. The most well known being one sung by Lata Mangeshkar in 1952 movie Anand Math, where the song was set to a new tune by Hemant Kumar.

* Lata Mangeshkar did her own version of Vande Mataram, using the same tune but adding new stanzas in Hindi in 1998.

* A year before AR Rehman did his own version, Maa Tujhe Salaam, in 1997.

* Over the years, there have been many versions, including one by Manna Dey in 1951 and in 2012 Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan and Sunidhi Chauhan lent their voice to version created by percussionist Bickram Ghosh.

Many versions of Bande Mataram: * Since Bankim himself was no musician, the poem has been scored countless times, using different ragas of Indian classical music by other musicians with one report suggesting the first effort was even before Anandamath was published.

* Tagores rendition in 1896 was a much slower-paced one than what we are used to hear now. This version in Tagores own voice was released on gramophone record in 1904 and is now available on various online platforms.

* A composition of Vande Mataram by Pandit VD Paluskar on raag Kafi was favoured by Gandhiji and was often sung by Paluskar himself at Congress meetings. In 1933, at the Kakinada convention, Maulana Ahmed Ali objected to Paluskar singing the song.

* In 1937, the Congress decided to use only the first two stanzas of the song leaving out the references to Hindu goddesses in the later half of the poem. Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, whose version in raag Kafi was popular, sung it on All India Radio on August 15, 1947.

* At the time of choosing the National Anthem of the country, composer Krishnarao Phulambrikar from Pune worked on the poem, creating variations on raag Jhinjhoti that can be sung easily by large assemblies and one that can be used as a marching song, to overcome various objections that were raised.

* The most heard version that is used by All India Radio at the beginning of its daily programme has been composed in raag Des. While some credit Pandit Ravi Shankar for the tune, there is no definite confirmation about the composer.

A permanent alter ego * Due to the invocation to Hindu goddesses in its later stanzas and its setting within the novel Anandamath, that identified the Muslim ruling class as an enemy, Vande Mataram has faced objections right through Indias history.

* Jana Gana Mana, which was finally chosen as Indias national anthem, was written and composed by Tagore himself and shares the status with Vande Mataram which is accorded the status of national song.

* Jana Gana Mana was also used as the national anthem of the Indian National Army that was led by Subhas Chandra Bose and in Captain Ram Singh Thakuri, the INA had a composer par excellence. The INA also created its own version of Jana Gana Mana in Hindi: Subh Sukh Chain Ki Barkha Barse, to replace Vande Mataram as its anthem for the Provisional Government for Free India in Singapore.

* The INA also had Qadam Qadam Badhaye Ja, the regimental quick march song written by Vanshidhar Shukla and composed by Ram Singh. This song was banned up to 1947. Reports suggest it has been adopted as a regimental march song of the Indian Army.

* In 1933, when first objections to Vande Mataram were aired publicly, poet Allama Iqbals Saare Jahan Se Accha, Hindustan Hamara was sung along with it. Iqbal had originally composed this song called Tarana-e-Hind in 1904.

* Later Iqbal became one of the proponents for the idea of Pakistan. By 1909, he had adapted the song and re-written it as a Tarana-e-Milli that spoke about a Muslim nation spread across central Asia, Arabia and India.

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Vande Mataram: A song in search of a nation - Economic Times

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August 16th, 2017 at 5:50 am

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