Vande Mataram

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Vande Mataram
English: Vande Mataram
Bônde Matorom (Bengali pronunciation); Vande Mataram (Sanskrit or Hindi pronunciation)
Lyrics Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Anandamath (1882)
Music Jadunath Bhattacharya
Adopted 24 January 1950
Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
Media and performance
Music awards
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Jana Gana Mana
Regional music

Vande Mataram (Bengali script: বন্দে মাতরম্, Devanagari: वन्दे मातरम्, Vande Mātaram)—literally, "I pray/bow down to thee, Mother"—is a poem from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1882 novel Anandamath.[1] 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.[2]

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.


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
বন্দে মাতরম্৷.

সুখদাং বরদাং
বন্দে মাতরম্৷

bônde matôrôm
sujôlang suphôlang
shôsyô shyamôlang
bônde matôrôm

shubhrô jyotsna
pulôkitô jaminim
phullô kusumitô
sukhôdang bôrôdang
bônde matôrôm

वन्दे मातरम्।
सुजलाम् सुफलाम्
मलयज शीतलाम्
वन्दे मातरम्।

सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदाम् वरदाम्
वन्दे मातरम्।

vande mātaram
sujalāṃ suphalāṃ
śasya śyāmalāṃ
vande mātaram

śubhra jyotsna
pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita
sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ
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):[5]

Bengali script Devanagari script

বন্দে মাতরম্৷
সুজলাং সুফলাং

সুহাসিনীং সুমধুরভাষিণীম্
সুখদাং বরদাং মাতরম্৷৷

অবলা কেন মা এত বলে!
নমামি তরিণীং

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

বন্দে মাতরম্
শ্যামলাং সরলাং
সুস্মিতাং ভূষিতাম্
ধরণীং ভরণীম্

वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्

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

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

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।।

Translation into English[edit]

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.[2] 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.[6]

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,
Mother free.

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 swords flash out in 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!
Thou 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
Thou 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 bejeweled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

Apart from the above prose translation, Sri Aurobindo also translated Vande Mataram into a verse form known as Mother, I bow 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]


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. Chattopadhyay was very interested in recent events in Indian and Bengali history, particularly the Revolt of 1857 and the previous century's Sanyasi 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 Chattopadhyay when he was still a government official, around 1876.[10] He wrote Vande Mataram at Chinsurah, there is a white colour house of Adhya Family near river Hooghly (near Mallik Ghat).[citation needed]

Chattopadhyay wrote the poem in a spontaneous session using words from Sanskrit and Bengali. The poem was published in Chattopadhyay's book Anandamatha (pronounced Anondomôţh 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 whole nation's thought and motto for independence [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 independence activists for disobeying the proscription. Rabindranath Tagore sang Vande 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 had Vande 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 India. Vande Mataram was forced to be rejected by Muslims[citation needed] on the grounds that Muslims may pray only to Allah. Muslims also felt that its origin was part of Anandamatha, 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 Rabindranath Tagore'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 honoured 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

Public response[edit]

Muslim view[edit]

Many Muslim organisations in India have declared fatwas against singing Vande Mataram, due to the song giving a notion of worshipping Mother India, which they consider to be shirk (polytheism).[16] Muslim institutions in general see Vande Mataram in a bad light. Though a number of Muslim organisations and individuals have opposed Vande Mataram being used as a "national song" of India, citing many religious reasons, some Muslim personalities have admired and even praised it as the "National Song of India". Arif Mohammed Khan, a former Union Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government, wrote an Urdu translation of the song which starts as Tasleemat, maan tasleemat.[17]

All India Sunni Ulema Board on 6 September 2006, issued a fatwa that the Muslims can sing the first two verses of the song. The Board president Moulana Mufti Syed Shah Badruddin Qadri Aljeelani said that "If you bow at the feet of your mother with respect, it is not shirk but only respect."[18] Shia scholar and All India Muslim Personal Law Board vice-president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq stated on 5 September 2006 that scholars need to examine the term vande. He asked, "Does it mean salutation or worship?"[19]

In 2013, a Muslim MP, Shafiqur Rahman Burq, walked out of the Lok Sabha while the song was being played, stating that as a Muslim he cannot show respect towards it.[20]

Sikh view[edit]

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the paramount representative body in the Sikh Panth, requested that the Sikhs not sing Vande Mataram in the schools and institutions on its centenary on 7 September 2006.[21] SGPC head, Avtar Singh Makkar, expressed concern that "imposing a song that reflected just one religion was bound to hurt the sentiments of religious minorities. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has called singing of 'Vande Mataram' against Sikh tenets[22] as the Sikhs sought 'sarbat da bhala' (universal welfare)."[22] [22]

Christian view[edit]

Fr. Cyprian Kullu from Jharkhand stated in an interview with AsiaNews: "The song is a part of our history and national festivity and religion should not be dragged into such mundane things. The Vande Mataram is simply a national song without any connotation that could violate the tenets of any religion."[23] However, some Christian institutions such as Our Lady of Fatima Convent School in Patiala did not sing the song on its 100th anniversary as mandated by the state.[24]

2006 controversy[edit]

On 22 August 2006, there was a row in the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament over whether singing of Vande Mataram in schools should be made mandatory. The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition and Opposition members debated the Government's stance that singing the national song Vande Mataram on 7 September 2006, to mark the 125th year celebration of its creation should be voluntary. This led to the House's being adjourned twice. Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh noted that it was not binding on citizens to sing the song. Arjun Singh had earlier asked all state governments to ensure that the first two stanzas of the song were sung in all schools on that day. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Deputy Leader V. K. Malhotra wanted the Government to clarify whether singing the national song on 7 September in schools was mandatory or not. On 28 August, targeting the BJP, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said that in 1998 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP was the Prime Minister, the BJP supported a similar circular issued by the Uttar Pradesh government to make the recitation compulsory. But Vajpayee had then clarified that it was not necessary to make it compulsory.[25]

On 7 September 2006, the nation celebrated the national song. Television channels showed school children singing the song at the notified time.[26] Some Muslim groups had discouraged parents from sending their wards to school because of the issue, after the BJP had repeatedly insisted that the national song must be sung. However, many Muslims did participate in the celebrations.[26] Kerala school was forced to drop Vande Mataram on 15 August 2014 as it would hurt religious sentiments.[27]

Performances and interpretations[edit]

The poem has been set to a large number of tunes. The oldest surviving audio recordings date to 1907, and there have been more than a hundred different versions recorded throughout the 20th century. Many of these versions have employed traditional South Asian classical ragas. Versions of the song have been visualised on celluloid in a number of films, including Leader, Amar Asha, and Anand Math. It is widely believed that the tune set for All India Radio station version was composed by Ravi Shankar.[10] In 1997, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Independence of India, a musical album composed by A. R. Rahman, titled Vande Mataram, was released. The version of the song played in it has become its popular interpretation in recent years. In 2002, BBC World Service conducted an international poll to choose ten most famous songs of all time. Around 7000 songs were selected from all over the world. Vande Mataram, from the movie Anand Math, was ranked second.[28] All India Radio's version, as well as A.R. Rahman's version, are in Desh raga.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vande Mataram: a musical message to the sons of India". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "National Song of India". Government of India. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Vande Mataram in Bengali script
  4. ^ Vande Mataram in Romanized Sanskrit
  5. ^ a b Wikisource:Vande Mataram
  6. ^ Sri Aurobindo's PROSE translation of Vande Mataram
  7. ^ Sri Aurobindo's VERSE translation of Vande Mataram
  8. ^ Bhabatosh Chatterjee (ed.), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Essays in Perspective, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, 1994, p. 601.
  9. ^ a b Julius, Lipner (2005). Anandamath. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 27–59. ISBN 978-0-19-517858-6. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Suresh Chandvankar, Vande Mataram (2003) at Musical Traditions (
  11. ^ Chakrabarty, Bidyut (1997). Local Politics and Indian Nationalism: Midnapur (1919–1944). New Delhi: Manohar. p. 167. 
  12. ^ p2
  13. ^ Kranti Geetanjali (Poems of Pt. Ram Prasad 'Bismil'), ISBN 81-7783-128-3.
  14. ^ *Kranti Geetanjali ISBN 81-7783-128-3.
  15. ^ (Letter #314, Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore, edited by K. Datta and A. Robinson, Cambridge University Press)
  16. ^ [1] "Fatwa against Vande Mataram"
  17. ^ Outlook Magazine
  18. ^ Basith, Md A (7 September 2006). "Now, a fatwa to sing Vande Mataram". The Times of India. 
  19. ^ Muslims will sing, but omit Vande
  20. ^ MP not sorry for walking out of LS while Vande Mataram was being played
  21. ^ "Sikhs will not sing Vande Mataram". 31 December 2004. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Delhi and neighbourhood". The Tribune. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  23. ^ INDIA India: fatwa against national song celebrating motherland - Asia News Archived 8 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ - Sikhs and christians in Punjab stayed away from 'Vande Matram' Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ "BJP vs Congress: It's Vande vs Kandahar". Asian Age. 28 August 2006. 
  26. ^ a b "Indians celebrate national song". BBC News. 7 September 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  27. ^ "Kerala: School forced to drop 'Vande Mataram' from Independence day eve fete". 
  28. ^ The Worlds Top Ten — BBC World Service
  29. ^ Des: Tunes from the Countryside
  • Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Vande Mataram: The Biography of a Song, Penguin Books, 2003, ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]