New Delhi: The Indian National song Vande Mataram is a hymn of national importance because of its role in freedom movements. Composed by Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, the musical is a piece from his famous literary work Anandamath, published in 1882. Set to the tune of Desh Raga, the song got its national status in 1950.
Anandamath is a novel based on the Sannyasi rebellion in the late 18th century. The song is addressed to Goddess Durga and it symbolizes India. It was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896 at an Indian National Congress session.
With the passage of time, it became the song of freedom revolutions throughout the nation. The song was also banned once in 1905, when Lord Curzon wanted to partition Bengal. It has inspired thousands of militants in Punjab, Maharashtra and Bengal, to wake up for their country.
Aurobindo Ghosh translated the verse in English, which reads as follows :
I show gratitude to thee, Mother,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.
Vande Mataram has also been in controversy because it talks about worshiping one’s mother, which is prohibited in both Muslims and Sikhs. However, a fatwa (religious notice) was issued by All India Sunni Ulema Borad on September 6, 2006 saying that Muslims can sing first two verses of the song. The Board president Moulana Mufti Syed Shah Badruddin Qadri Aljeelani said, “If you bow at the feet of your mother with respect, it is not shirk but only respect.”
It also ranked second amongst most famous songs of all time, in an international poll conducted by BBC World Service in 2002.