Vande Mataram : The Origins

Today, our amazing National anthem was Sung for the first time today at National assembly. So, this post about it.

Vande Mataram (Bengali script: বন্দে মাতরম্, Devanagari: वन्दे मातरम्) – Vande Mātaram – literally – “I praise thee, Mother” – is a poem from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1882 novel Anandamath. It was written in Bengali and Sanskrit.

It is a hymn to the Mother Land. It played a vital role in the Indian independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.

In 1950 (after India’s independence), the song’s first two verses were given the official status of the “national song” of the Republic of India, distinct from the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana.

Lyrics

The two verses of Vande Mataram adopted as the “National song” read as follows:
Bengali script[3] Bengali phonemic transcription           Devnagari script NLK transliteration[2][4]
বন্দে মাতরম্৷
সুজলাং সুফলাং
মলয়জশীতলাম্
শস্যশ্যামলাং
মাতরম্!
বন্দে মাতরম্৷.

শুভ্র-জ্যোৎস্না
পুলকিত-যামিনীম্
ফুল্লকুসুমিত
দ্রুমদলশোভিনীম্,
সুহাসিনীং
সুমধুরভাষিণীম্
সুখদাং বরদাং
মাতরম্৷৷
বন্দে মাতরম্৷

bônde matôrôm
sujôlang sufôlang
môlôyôjôshitôlam
shôsyô shyamôlang
matôrôm
bônde matôrôm

shubhrô jyotsna
pulôkitô jaminim
fullô kusumitô
drumôdôlôshobhinim
suhasining
sumôdhurôbhashinim
sukhôdang bôrôdang
matôrôm
bônde matôrôm

वन्दे मातरम्।
सुजलाम् सुफलाम्
मलयज शीतलाम्
शस्यश्यामलाम्
मातरम्।
वन्दे मातरम्।

शुभ्रज्योत्स्ना
पुलकितयामिनीम्
फुल्लकुसुमित
द्रुमदलशोभिनीम्
सुहासिनीम्
सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदाम् वरदाम्
मातरम्।।
वन्दे मातरम्।

vande mātaram
sujalāṃ suphalāṃ
malayajaśītalām
śasya śyāmalāṃ
mātaram
vande mātaram

śubhra jyotsnā
pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita
drumadalaśobhinīm
suhāsinīṃ
sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ
mātaram
vande mātaram

The original lyrics[edit]

Here are the rest of the original lyrics from which the National Song of India came (continuing from the last section):
Bengali script Devanagari script

বন্দে মাতরম্৷
সুজলাং সুফলাং
মলয়জশীতলাম্
শস্যশ্যামলাং
মাতরম্!

শুভ্র-জ্যোত্স্না-পুলকিত-যামিনীম্
ফুল্লকুসুমিত-দ্রুমদলশোভিনীম্,
সুহাসিনীং সুমধুরভাষিণীম্
সুখদাং বরদাং মাতরম্৷৷

সপ্তকোটীকন্ঠ-কল-কল-নিনাদকরালে,
দ্বিসপ্তকোটীভুজৈধৃতখরকরবালে,
অবলা কেন মা এত বলে!
বহুবলধারিণীং
নমামি তরিণীং
রিপুদলবারিণীং
মাতরম্৷

তুমি বিদ্যা তুমি ধর্ম্ম
তুমি হৃদি তুমি মর্ম্ম
ত্বং হি প্রাণাঃ শরীরে৷
বাহুতে তুমি মা শক্তি,
হৃদয়ে তুমি মা ভক্তি,
তোমারই প্রতিমা গড়ি মন্দিরে মন্দিরে৷

ত্বং হি দুর্গা দশপ্রহরণধারিণী
কমলা কমল-দলবিহারিণী
বাণী বিদ্যাদায়িণী
নমামি ত্বাং
নমামি কমলাম্
অমলাং অতুলাম্,
সুজলাং সুফলাং
মাতরম্

বন্দে মাতরম্
শ্যামলাং সরলাং
সুস্মিতাং ভূষিতাম্
ধরণীং ভরণীম্
মাতরম্৷

वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्
मलयजशीतलाम्
शस्यशामलाम्
मातरम्।

शुभ्रज्योत्स्नापुलकितयामिनीम्
फुल्लकुसुमितद्रुमदलशोभिनीम्
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदां वरदां मातरम्।। १।। वन्दे मातरम्।

सप्त[5]-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
त्वम् हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडि
मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे

त्वम् हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी,
नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलाम्
अमलां अतुलाम्
सुजलां सुफलाम् मातरम्।। ४।।
वन्दे मातरम्।

श्यामलाम् सरलाम्
सुस्मिताम् भूषिताम्
धरणीं भरणीं मातरम्।। ५।।
वन्दे मातरम्।।

Here is the translation in prose of the above two stanzas rendered by Aurobindo Ghose. This has also been adopted by the Government of India’s national portal. The original Vande Mataram consists of six stanzas and the translation in prose for the complete poem by Shri Aurobindo appeared in Karmayogin, 20 November 1909.
Apart from the above prose translation, Sri Aurobindo also translated Vande Mataram into a verse form known as Mother, I Salute to Thee.[7]
Sri Aurobindo commented thus on his English translation of the poem:[8]
It is difficult to translate the National Song of India into verse in another language owing to its unique union of sweetness, simple directness and high poetic force.

History and significance[edit]

Composition[edit]

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the earliest graduates of the newly established Calcutta University. After his BA, he joined the British Indian government as a civil servant, becoming a District Magistrate and later a District Collector. Chatterjee was very interested in recent events in Indian and Bengali history, particularly the Revolt of 1857and the previous century’s Sannyasi Rebellion.[9] Around the same time, the administration was trying to promote God Save the Queen as the anthem for Indian subjects, which Indian nationalists disliked. It is generally believed that the concept of Vande Mataram came to Bankim Chandra Chatterjee when he was still a government official, around 1876.[10]
Chatterjee wrote the poem in a spontaneous session using words from Sanskrit and Bengali. The poem was published in Chatterjee’s book Anandamatha (pronouncedAnondomôţh in Bengali) in 1882, which is set in the events of the Sannyasi Rebellion.[9][10] Jadunath Bhattacharya was asked to set a tune for this poem just after it was written.[10]

Indian independence movement[edit]

The flag raised by Bhikaiji Cama in 1907

“Vande Mataram” was the national cry for freedom [from British rule] during the Indian independence movement. Large rallies, fermenting initially in Bengal, in the major metropolis of Calcutta, would work themselves up into a patriotic fervour 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 imprisoned many freedom fighters for disobeying the proscription. Rabindranath Tagore sangVande Mataram in 1896 at the Calcutta Congress Session held at Beadon Square. Dakhina Charan Sen sang it five years later in 1901 at another session of the Congress at Calcutta. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905. Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.[10] Hiralal Sen made India’s first political film in 1905 which ended with the chant. Matangini Hazra‘s last words as she was shot to death by the Crown police were Vande Mataram[11]
In 1907, Bhikaiji Cama (1861–1936) created the first version of India’s national flag (the Tiranga) in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907. It hadVande Mataram written on it in the middle band.[12]
A book titled Kranti Geetanjali published by Arya Printing Press Lahore and Bharatiya Press Dehradun in 1929 contains first two stanzas of this lyric on page 11[13] as Matra Vandana and a ghazal (Vande Mataram) composed by Bismil was also given on its back i.e. page 12.[14] The book written by the famous martyr of Kakori Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil was proscribed by the then British government of India.

Adoption as “national song”[edit]

Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana was chosen as the National Anthem of the 1947 Republic of IndiaVande Mataram was rejected[citation needed] on the grounds that Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs and others who opposed idol worship felt offended by its depiction of the nation as “Mother Durga“, a Hindu goddess. Muslims also felt that its origin was part ofAnandamatha, a novel they felt had an anti-Muslim message.
The designation as “national song” predates independence, dating to 1937. At this date, the Indian National Congress discussed at length the status of the song. It was pointed out then that though the first two stanzas began with an unexceptionable evocation of the beauty of the motherland, in later stanzas there are references where the motherland is likened to the Hindu goddess Durga. Therefore, INC decided to adopt only the first two stanzas as the national song.
The controversy becomes more complex in the light of ]]’s rejection of the song as one that would unite all communities in India. In his letter to Subhas Chandra Bose (1937), Tagore wrote:
“The core of Vande Mataram is a hymn to goddess Durga: this is so plain that there can be no debate about it. Of course Bankimchandra does show Durga to be inseparably united with Bengal in the end, but no Mussulman [Muslim] can be expected patriotically to worship the ten-handed deity as ‘Swadesh’ [the nation]. This year many of the special [Durga] Puja numbers of our magazines have quoted verses from Vande Mataram—proof that the editors take the song to be a hymn to Durga. The novel Anandamath is a work of literature, and so the song is appropriate in it. But Parliament is a place of union for all religious groups, and there the song cannot be appropriate. When Bengali Mussulmans show signs of stubborn fanaticism, we regard these as intolerable. When we too copy them and make unreasonable demands, it will be self-defeating.”
In a postscript to this same letter, Tagore says:
“Bengali Hindus have become agitated over this matter, but it does not concern only Hindus. Since there are strong feelings on both sides, a balanced judgment is essential. In pursuit of our political aims we want peace, unity and good will—we do not want the endless tug of war that comes from supporting the demands of one faction over the other.” [15]
Rajendra Prasad, who was presiding the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 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)
More On Today

The Victoria Memorial (Victoria Memorial Hall) was first inaugrated today, which is a large marble building in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India which was built between 1906 and 1921. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly river, near Jawaharlal Nehru road.
In January 1901, on the death of Queen Victoria, George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, suggested the creation of a fitting memorial. He proposed the construction of a grand building with a museum and gardens. Curzon said,
“Let us, therefore, have a building, stately, spacious, monumental and grand, to which every newcomer in Calcutta will turn, to which all the resident population, European and Native, will flock, where all classes will learn the lessons of history, and see revived before their eyes the marvels of the past.”
The Prince of Wales, later King George V, laid the foundation stone on 4 January 1906 and it was formally opened to the public in 1921. In 1912, before the Victoria Memorial was finished, King George V announced the transfer of the capital of India from Calcutta to New Delhi. Thus, the Victoria Memorial was built in what would be a provincial city rather than a capital.

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