by Kavya Tomar
Submitted as a part of Last Year’s Vande Mataram Outloud Contest Sponsored by Swami Dayanand Education Foundation, Sugar Land, TX
Vande Mataram was written in the 1870s by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and it still carries major importance today as India’s national song. Vande Mataram has historical importance and meaningful lyrics.
Although it was written in the 1870s, Vande Mataram did not gain fame until Chattopadhyay included it into his novel, Anandamath. The poem was composed to song by Rabindranath Tagore, who also wrote India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana. Tagore first sang it in a political setting in the 1896 Indian National Congress. It became a symbol for Indian emancipation from the British. Many were thrown in jail for singing it after the British banned it. Later, the ban lifted, but the song became politicized. Some Muslims did not want to sing a song in which there was a reference to Durga, a Hindu goddess. This controversy continues today.
The lyrics are meaningful. The first verse, beginning with “Sujalam suphalam” and ending with “Sukhadam varadam”, is all about India’s beautiful nature. It talks about cool breezes, lush greenery and fresh water in India, making it seem like a paradise. The second verse, starting with “Sapta koti” and ending with “Ripudalavaariniim”, is about India’s strength. Indians will protect their motherland fiercely from invaders. They are fearless and strong. The third stanza, beginning with “Tumi vidyaa” and ending with“ mandire” is about the god-like qualities of the motherland. She is omnipotent and omniscient, embodying Indians’ spirits. The fourth stanza, beginning with “Tvamhi durgaa” and ending with “Sujalam suphalam” relates the motherland to different Hindu goddesses, such as Durga and Lakshmi, and ends with more praise of India’s nature. The fifth stanza, which begins with “Shyamalam” and ending with “Bharanim”, talks about India’s beauty and wealth.
Vande Mataram is a moving patriotic song which is still important today.