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Different Versions of India’s National Song ‘Vande Mataram’ over the past 140 Years of its History

Shri Aurobindo had translated Vande Mataram to English in 1909

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National Song of India
Vande Mataram. Wikimedia
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  • ‘Vande Mataram’ is the National Song of India written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
  • The song was published in 1876 in a mix of Bengali and Sanskrit words
  • Vande Mataram was also a slogan for the freedom fighters of the nation

August 19, 2017: It was in 1876 that Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Sanskrit and Bengali mixed verses of Vande Mataram, the national song of India. However, it was originally written in Bengali as ‘Bande Matara’ a few years before it published.

The most famous rendition of the National Song was carried out at an Indian National Congress meeting by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896.

ALSO READ: Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Remembering the voice who gave India ‘Vande Mataram’

Vande Mataram as a phrase was also of common usage among the freedom fighters during the struggle for independence from the British rule.

The song has been used in the pop culture and Bollywood in a variety of ways. In 1952, Lata Mangeshkar covered the song on Hemant Kumar’s tune for the movie Anand Math. Later in 1998, Lata Mangeshkar did her over version which had added stanzas of Hindi but the tune remained the same.

Manna Dey’s version came out in 1951 and AR Rehman’s version of the song came out in 1997 as Maa Tujhe Salaam. The most recent, in 2012, Sonu Nigam along with Sunidhi Chauhan did a version featuring famous percussionist Bickram Ghosh.

In poetry as well, different ragas have been used to express the national song.

The father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, favored Pandit VD Paluskar’s composition. Paluskar himself was known for singing the song in Congress meetings. Interestingly enough, he was once intercepted by Maulana Ahmed Ali’s objection at the Kakinada Convention in 1933.

The Congress decided to use the song’s first two stanzas while excluding the other half which is about Hindu goddesses. These two stanzas were sung at the All India Radio on 15th August 1947 by Pandit Omkarnath Thakur.

Tagore’s version in 1896 was a slower one. A gramophone record of 1904 which is now available online was released with Tagore’s voice.

Shri Aurobindo had translated Vande Mataram to English in 1909.

Vande Mataram, in its over 140 years of history, has come under a lot of allegations. Starting with the origination, Vande Mataram faces challenges as it comes from Chattopadhyay’s novel Anandamath in which the enemy was identified as the Muslim ruling class. Additionally, the invocation of Hindu goddesses in later stanzas was questioned as well.

However, the song still managed to become India’s national song with Jana Gana Mana being the national anthem.

The Indian National Army (INA) had composed a Hindi version of Jana Gana Mana to replace their anthem for Provisional Government for Free India in Singapore, which was Vande Mataram.

Objections to Vande Mataram were first aired publicly in 1933. At the time, Vande Mataram was sung along Saare Jahan Se Acha by poet Allama Iqbal. Iqbal had written this song in 1904 and had initially titled it as Tarana-e-Hind. But within two years, drastic changes took place. Iqbal became an advocate for the two nation theory and demanded a separate Pakistan. He also changed the title of the song to Tarana-e-Milli.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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15 Amazing facts about Indian National Song: Vande Mataram

The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom.

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Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881
  • Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom
  • Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905

‘Vande Mataram’, is no less than an epic for our country and holds a special place in the heart of every Indian. The first two words of the title itself are sufficient to induce a great feeling of patriotism.

It would be a surprise for many to know that September 7, 2006, was not the centenary of Vande Mataram. On the contrary, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram well before he penned Anandamath, his novel, which described unified Bengal’s sanyasi uprising against tyrannical Muslim rule in the 1770s.

For better clarification, Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881.

The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons
Vande Mataram was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons

Thus, 2006 was not the 100th year of Vande Mataram, but the 129th anniversary of the `National Song”, which was first recited at the Indian National Congress session of 1896.

Also Read: 10 Must Knowing Facts about Indian Flag

Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom.

On January 24, 1950, it was brought at par with the National Anthem officially by the Constituent Assembly.

The protest against Vande Mataram because of its ‘idolatrous’ content began in the 1890s. The Congress party surrendered before Islamic opposition at its Kakinada session in 1923 not only on the Vande Mataram issue but also to all symbols and values held national.

The recent HRD ministerial diktat to compulsorily sing the song throughout the country occupied much media space and ignited a debate on India’s national song’s journey over the last 130 years.

Also Read: 15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

The song served as a source of immense strength and inspiration for freedom fighters before India gained freedom.

The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at some of the glorious facts related to our National song, ‘Vande Mataram’.

  1. The National song, ‘Vande Mataram’ was written by the great Bengali poet and writer, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
  2. On January 24, 1950, it was adopted as the National Song of India.
  3. The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom. The National song of India is versed in the Sanskrit and Bengali languages, in the novel ‘Anandmath’ by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.
  4. The former President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration in the Constituent Assembly that the song Vande Mataram, which had played a significant part in the historic freedom struggle held in India, should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it.
  5. The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math (1882) which is set in the events of Sannyasi rebellion.
  6. The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Anand Math, into English was done by Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta, in 1906.
  7. In the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress, it was the first political event when the National song was sung. On the same occasion, the national song of India was first sung by the Rabindranath Tagore.
  8. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905.
  9. The Iron Man of India, Lala Lajpat Rai, published a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
  10. Vande Mataram was recited in the first political film made by Hiralal Sen in 1905.
  11. The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002.
  12. Two stanzas of the original song have been officially declared as the National Song of India in 1950 after the independence of India.
  13. The song was originally written in two languages, Sanskrit and Bengali, in the novel ‘Anandmath’.
  14. It was also sung by the Dakhina Charan Sen in 1901 after five years during another Congress meeting at Calcutta.
  15. India’s first political film Hiralal Senmade, made in 1905 ends with the chant Vande Mataram.