The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom. It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The song first appeared in his book ”Anandamatha”, published in 1882 amid fears of a ban by the British Raj, though the song itself was actually written six years prior in 1876.
While Vande Mataram was treated as the national anthem of India for long, ultimately Jana Gana Mana, was chosen as the national anthem of independent India. 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.
Vande Mataram Song Lyrics:
Sujalam suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim, sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam, varadam, Mataram!
Saptakotikantha kalakala ninada karale
Dvisaptakoti bhujair dhrita-khara karavale
Abala kena ma eta bale
Bahubala dharinim, namami tarinim,
Tumi vidya, tumi dharma,
Tumi hridi, tumi marma,
Tvam hi pranah sharire!
Bahute tumi ma shakti,
Hridaye tumi ma bhakti,
Tomarayipratima gari mandire mandire!
Tvam hi Durga dashapraharana dharini,
Vani, vidyadayini namami tvam,
Namami Kamalam, amalam, atulam,
Sujalam, suphalam, Mataram,
Shyamalam, saralam, susmitam, bhushitam,
Dharanim, bharanim, Mataram!
- Shri Bankimchandra Chattyopadhay
Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.
Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.
Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.
Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair
In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!
- Translation by Shree Aurobindo.
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