Friday, June 5, 2020
Home Opinions The tragedy of our national song "Vande Mataram"

The tragedy of our national song “Vande Mataram”

Also Read


Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote the poem Vande Mataram in 1875. He was 37 years old at the time and worked as a deputy collector in the British Government. His poem was probably an Indian answer to the British national anthem, God Save The Queen (or King, depending on who was ruling).

In the poem, Chatterjee described the nation as the mother. Chatterjee said, “I have written this spontaneously. I may not live to see how it is received, but this poem will be sung by every Indian like a mantra in the Vedas.”

He included the poem in his novel Anandmath, published in 1882. In 1896, two years after Chatterjee died, Rabindranath Tagore recited the poem at the Indian National Congress’s annual convention in Kolkata. The tradition of singing Vande Mataram (as it was pronounced in Sanskrit) at Congress conventions continued, and even today it is sung at the beginning of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha sessions.

In 1907, Hemendra Mohan Bose, the first Indian to manufacture gramophones, the earliest devices that recorded sound and played it back, recorded Tagore singing the poem on a phonograph cylinder, the first commercial media for gramaphone recordings.

During protests against the partition of Bengal, which the British effected in 1905 for both administrative and political reasons, Vande Mataram became an inspiring song for many Indian revolutionaries. Soon, it became a protest song in India’s long struggle for independence.

But some Muslims found the song objectionable because they felt worshipping a mother was a polytheistic practice and more generally because they found the poem’s other cultural impulses to be Hindu.


For several years until 1925, Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, the great Hindustani classical singer, used to sing it in Raga Kafi at the Congress’s annual convention. He would sing all the stanzas with instrumental accompaniment and all the members of Congress would stand at attention for several minutes. Thus, it became the Congress party’s anthem.

In the year 1937, during the meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Kolkata, its members decided to cut short Vande Mataram to the first stanza with the sole aim of not offending some of the Muslims present. But those Muslims were not satisfied with this because they wanted to eliminate the song completely from the conventions. The Muslim League chairman, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, raised an official objection on March 17, 1938, to even the first stanza being sung. Thus, the song became politicised.

In 1937, in many regions of British India, the Congress came to power during a brief colonial experiment in granting a measure of autonomy to the provinces. At this time, in deference to Muslim sensitivities, the Congress government banned Vande Mataram from being aired on the radio.


The musician and singer Krishnarao Phulambrikar protested against this ban for several years, declining to sing for the radio. “If there is no Vande Mataram on the radio, then no song of mine will air on it either,” he said. After Independence, the ban became irrelevant, and in 1947 on Gudi Padva, the Maharashtrian New Year that falls on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, Master Krishnarao, as he was called, gave a radio concert that concluded with Vande Mataram.

On August 15, 1947, at the stroke of midnight, while the world slept and before India woke to its so-called freedom, before Nehru announced his tryst with destiny, Omkarnath Thakur sang Vande Mataram in Parliament House. He literally heralded Independence. He followed this up with a khayal in Raag Malkauns. There were transmissions on the radio.  

Now, it is notable here that, the congress working committee cut short the Vande Mataram to just only the first stanza, because other stanzas says that how Hindus of Bengal (as the song was composed for Bengal) defended their motherland from Muslim and British invaders.

As, this was not liked by Muslims, so as to appease them, this patriotic song was cut short. So, according to this logic, since there are 20% Muslims in our country, we should not even write about Islamic invasions in the history books too. Muslims will become more happy.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

Latest News

हिन्द उवाच

है लहू मिला जिस मिट्टी में, बिस्मिल, अशफ़ाक़, भगतसिंह का। जिसको स्वेदों से सींचा है, गाँधी और लाल बहादुर ने।

From a porcupine to a tiger – Advent of Modi sarkar

The Modi government has established a brand India, enveloping components of economy, diplomacy, revival of foreign affairs and a clean-up of corrupt-ridden governance of the past; dispensed from an establishment with little obligation to coalition partners that enjoys mandate and confidence of the citizenry of India

Has social service become a way of conversion?

Christian Missionaries blackmail vulnerable people to choose between being able to follow their traditions and being able to feed their family. In desperate times, many people convert.

Tiananmen massacre to communist attacks on Indian people: A saga of hate, hypocrisy and violence

Tiananmen remains one of the most sensitive and taboo subjects in China today, banned from both academic and popular realms.

George Floyd and India

Ashok Swain, who is a professor in Sweden’s Uppsala’s University was upset that such protest doesn’t happen in India, so did another ‘journalist’ Rana Ayyub. Instead of showing solidarity with a man who lost his life, these opportunists are provoking vandalism and mayhem in India too.

बौद्ध मत की वो बातें, जो बताई नहीं जाती

कोई कॉमरेड और नवबौद्ध आपको देवराज इंद्र से जुड़ी हुई ये बातें नहीं बताएगा. वास्तविकता तो यह है कि बौद्ध ग्रंथों में देवराज इंद्र का उतना ही वर्णन है, जितना हिन्दू ग्रंथों में मिलता है.

Recently Popular

रचनाधर्मियों को गर्भस्थ बेटी का उत्तर

जो तुम्हें अग्नि परीक्षा देती असहाय सीता दिखती है, वो मुझे प्रबल आत्मविश्वास की धनी वो योद्धा दिखाई देती है जिसने रावण के आत्मविश्वास को छलनी कर इस धरा को रावण से मुक्त कराया.

Easing lockdown a gamble?

If we want to compare economic condition and job loss due to lockdown and blame the govt., we ought to compare the mortality rate too, which one of the lowest in the world at around 2.83%!

The journey of anti-CAA virus in the U.S.: A tale of three cities

Kshama Sawant, a Hindu immigrant embraces Hindu phobic ideology and lead an anti-India campaign to seek a stage for her future political dreams.

भारत-चीन पर राहुल का सवाल

भारत ही नेहरू के नेतृत्व में पहला गैर साम्यवादी जनतांत्रिक राज्य था जिसने जनवादी कम्युनिस्ट चीन को मान्यता प्रदान की. नेहरू उस दौर में चीन को लेकर इतने रोमांटिक (कल्पनावादी) हो गए थे कि तिब्बत पर चीन का आधिपत्य स्वीकार कर लिया. पर जब 1962 में चीन ने भारत पर हमला किया तो नेहरू की विदेश नीति चौपट हो गई थी.

Corona and a new breed of social media intellectuals

Opposing an individual turned into opposing betterment of your own country and countrymen.