Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Vande Mataram

India’s Official National Song But very well could have been National anthem
Mother, I bow to thee! vande maataraM
Rich with thy hurrying streams, sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM
bright with orchard gleams, sasyashyaamalaaM maataraM
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams, shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM
Clad in thy blossoming trees, suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM
Mother, giver of ease
sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM
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 koTi koTi kaNTha kalakalaninaada karaale
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
koTi koTi bhujai.rdhR^itakharakaravaale
And seventy million voices roar abalaa keno maa eto bale
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore? bahubaladhaariNiiM namaami taariNiiM
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
ripudalavaariNiiM maataraM
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.

Translation by Aurobindo : Only first two stanza of this song are considered to be national song. (Even Jana Gana Mana...is much longer, and that only first two stanzas are recognized as National Anthem)

Bankim Chandra :There is hardly an Indian who is not familiar with this National Song. Possibly, most of us do not know who composed this song. The man who gave us this Song is Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. He wrote many novels. One of them is 'Anandmath'. This novel contains a thrilling account of a struggle for freedom. ‘Vande Mataram' appears as a part of this novel. Rabindranath sang it by setting a tune to it and it was left to the genius of Aurobindo to interpret the deeper meaning of the song.

The Prodigy :Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was born on 27th June 1838 in the village Kantalpara of the Twenty-four Paraganas District of Bengal. He belonged to a family of Brahmins. Bankim Chandra's father Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya was in government service. Bankim Chandra's mother was a Pious, good and affectionate lady.
The word 'Bankim Chandra' means in Bengali 'the moon on the second day of the bright fortnight'. The moon in the bright half of the month grows and fills out day by day. Bankim Chandra's parents probably wished that the honor of their family should grow from strength to strength through this child, and therefore called Bankim-Chandra.
Bankim Chandra's education began in Midnapur. Even as a boy he was exceptionally brilliant. Elders wondered at this marvel. For a long time Bankim Chandra’s intelligence was the talk of the town. Whenever they came across a very intelligent student, teachers of Midnapur would exclaim, "Ah, there is another Bankim Chandra in the making".

Bankim Chandra – writer :In due course Bankim Chandra emerged as a great writer in Bengali. He wrote novels and poems. He became well known outside Bengal, too. His novels have been translated into many Indian languages.

Anandmath :The story of 'Anandmath' is about the struggle for freedom that took place in Bengal in the year 1773. It is the story of people who live and die for their country. Vande Mataram became the sacred battlecry of freedom fighters. It became such a source of inspiration that the British officers were enraged at the very mention of this.
This novel appeared in installments. People used to read one installment and wait impatiently for the next installment. Though 'Anandmath' is based on the history of our land not all of it is pure history. In fact there was no institution by name 'Anandmath'. Bankim Chandra made use of history, but created a number of characters. And he gave a novel, which absorbs the reader. It enables the reader to escape from the petty thoughts of selfishness. It gives unforgettable pictures of men and women who live only for the country.
'Vande Mataram' has an honored place in independent India. It keeps bright in the hearts of the people the ideal of dedication to our country.

Vande Mataram and Freedom Movement :Congress party – with whom all great national leaders such as Pandit Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi were part of it – was in forefront for India’s freedom from British rulers. Every year, congress party would have their annual convention at different places to discuss how India could get freedom at the earliest.
Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar was a well- known musician and also a proud patriot. He brought the tradition of singing national songs at public functions. He started the tradition of singing Vande Mataram in Lahore, and carried it to different parts of the country. He had a magnetic personality and a wonderful voice. The national leaders of the freedom movement regarded him with great respect and they felt he should sing Vande Mataram at the commencement of every Congress session.

Opposition to Vande Mataram :And so, it became a tradition for Pandit Paluskar to sing Vande Mataram at every congress convention. However, In 1923 the Congress session was held at Kakinada, which is now in Andhra Pradesh. When Pandit Paluskar rose to sing Vande Mataram. Maulana Mohamed Ali who was the President of the Congress that year, he raised an objection on the ground that music was an insult to his religion. They all felt that the song that appeared in the novel Anandmath is an invocation of Goddess. But Pandit Paluskar stood firm and he sang the song.
Mahatma Gandhi was keen on Vande Mataram and so were millions of Indians. But Congress party did not want any more controversy between Hindus and Muslims. Moreover, Muslim league- another political party was putting pressure against singing this song. A committee was appointed with Maulana Azad, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and Acharya Narendra Dev to study if Vande Mataram could be national anthem. The committee was to take the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore. They suggested to accept first two stanza of Vande Mataram.
But Muslim League continued to oppose even for first two stanzas of the Vande Mataram. In the legislative assemblies they would boycott the singing of the song saying 'singing of Vande Mataram is a declaration of war on Islam.' To solve this problem, in Madras assembly practice of reciting from the Quran and a prayer in English was also introduced. But Muslim League was not satisfied, it continued to demand the deletion of Vande Mataram from national movement,

Jana Gana Mana versus Vande Mataram:January 26, 1950 was set for the Indian Republic. The national anthem was to be chosen before the election of the President. Some people felt that Vandemataram did not suit band music, but Master Krishna Rao had solved the difficulty. He gave a demonstration before the members of the Constituent Assembly who had to decide the issue.
Pundit Nehru was not keen that this issue should tear a young country and he decided in favor of Jana Gana Mana saying that tune is more important to words and National Anthem has more significance abroad than at home. Tune of Jana Gana Mana was appreciated abroad and was popular and easily suited to orchestra. However the polls conducted by some organizations on this issue showed that 95% people favored Vande Mataram as the national anthem.

Jana Gana Mana Prevails :So very narrowly, Vande Mataram lost the race to Jana Gana Mana…. But still today.. Vande Mataram has inspired young generations of Indians than Jan Gana Mana… This is evident by number of compositions that are been evolved over the years..

Note :And while the objection was raised that Vande Mataram was a prayer to Hindu Goddess, Aurobindo said Durga to whom it paid homage was none other than Bharat Mata symbolizing Knowledge, Power, Greatness and Glory."

Vande Mataram by orchestra :On August 14, 1997, Vande Mataram signaled the beginning of the golden jubilee celebrations of India's Independence at the Siri Fort auditorium. The song -- which, till now, had remained essentially a choral composition – was for the first time be rendered by an orchestra. The 70-member Delhi Symphony Society group was led by Britain's Michael Mott, ''It took nearly six months of writing and balancing before the final music script was agreed upon,"


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