Created on 7th November,1875, the next few years saw Vande
Mataram being accepted and appreciated in the literary circles
of Bengal. However, the masses better conceived it through a novel
written by Bankimchandra himself: The Anandmath.
This novel started appearing in the magazine, Banga Darshan, during
1880 to 1882. Its concept itself generated ripples in people's
minds, as it was a novel, which speaks of revolutionaries who
live and die for their motherland. So naturally was the song incorporated
in it, that its prior creation seems unlikely.
During this period, 1875 to 1885 many more Bengali poets used
verses, lines or at least a few words from Vande Mataram along
with their own creation. 1883 saw a stage version of Anandmath.
wherein the first singing of the song took place. Bankimda passed
away on 18th April, 1894. Only two years later in the 1896 convention
of the Indian National Congress a full-unabridged version of Vande
Mataram was sung. None other than the great personality- Rabindranath
Tagore sang it.It was quite enthralling this song got none
other than Rabindranath as it's first stage performer and composer.
In the 1901 Congress, again it was rehearsed, with Dakshanrajan
Sen as the composer. Thereafter it became a norm to start the
Congress convention with Vande Mataram.
The year 1905 was memorable to Vande Mataram in many ways. In
this year the song crossed the boundaries of Bengal, spread like
a jungle fire throughout the nation which would oust the British
rule. No sooner than the Partition of Bengal was declared, thousands
of angry Bharatiyas protested the decision in a unanimous voice:
Bengal was a province rich enough in resources. The then viceroy
Lord Curzon had ulterior motives in separating Bengal into two.
Although portrayed to be an 'administrative convenience',
the partition aimed at segregating the Hindu and Muslim populations
on the basis of cast, creed and language.
Mild protests didn't change the decision and time came to revolt.
On 7th of August 1905, a huge mob gathered for protest.
Somebody just loudly said, the words Vande Mataram and the miracle
happened. Thousands echoed it in one voice. Indian freedom struggle
had got it's march song. The whole incidence is witnessed and
chronicled by a great spiritual and revolutionary person-Shri
The agitation against Bengal partition saw Shri Aurobindo
emerging as a poet-journalist and revolutionary. He explicitly
spelt out: Vande Mataram is not just a song…it's a receiving
magic potion and an effective tool of the freedom struggle. These
words crystallized the feelings of all Indians and an equivocal
'mantra' filled the Indians skies with Vande Mataram.
It took the year 1905 and the events narrated above when the British
government realized the potential and nuisance value of Vande
Mataram. Saraladevi Chaudharani, niece of Ravindranath
Tagore, sung it despite protest in the 1905 Congress convention.
The very next year 1906 saw a massive blood-shed, because of Vande
Mataram. A regional youth convention of the Congress was originated
at Barisal (now in Bangladesh). Strict orders were issued that
Vande Mataram should not be rehearsed in any way in the convention,
in any procession or even in a public place. The eminent leaders
Banerjee and the editor of Amrit Bazar Patrika, Mr. Motilal
Ghose discussed the issue with delegates.
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On the 14th April 1906, neglecting the orders issued, a full
procession wearing Vande Mataram badges gathered. Before it could
proceed, the police charged them in the cruelest manner with police
sticks. Neither Shri Aurobindo nor Surendranath could escape the
attack. Their bodies were covered with blood. Again, the next
day of the convention began with the Vande Mataram song. After
concluding, every volunteer returned with Vande Mataram in his
The whole nation criticized the British atrocities in a most concentrated
way. Even the Government's (then) Indian mouthpiece, the 'Times
of India', wrote that "the Barisal episode will have long-term
impacts. The police behavior, has not only awakened Bengal but
also the whole nation. 'Amrit Bazar Patrika' wrote "should
such incidents repeat, people will not bother for their lives
but will offer equal, forceful resistance". On 6th of August 1906
Shri Aurobindo came to Calcutta and started an English
daily in the name… 'Vande Mataram'. It was he, who
has translated Vande Mataram in its English version.
Overseas in 1907, at Stuttgart in Germany, the convention of international
socialist congress was to start. Many respectful leaders, Pt.
Shyamaji Verma, Madam
Sawarkar were to attend it. To pass a resolution on the India's
freedom, Madam Cama initiated the speech by flouting the 1st modern
India flag with Vande Mataram inscribed on it, at the centre,
in Devanagari script. It was for the first time that a
flag of proposed independent India was hoisted.
Later history from 1906: The song became unanimous voice
of the Indians. Various movements in the freedom struggle used
it as a motivation. The militant revolutionaries who faced the
gallows recited Vande Mataram as their last words. This includes
Madanlal Dhingra, Praful Chaki, Khudiram Bose, Suryasen, Ramprasad
Bismil and many more. Even the great martyr of Bharat Bhagatsingh
addresses a letter to his father with Vande Mataram.
Bose had adopted this song for
his Indian National Army. It was broadcast in their programs from
Singapore radio station. Most unfortunately, in 1937, the
Congress leaders, owing to misconceptions from certain minorities,
appointed a committee to interpret Vande Mataram and split it.
Certain parts of the song were omitted in the modified version
later to be adopted as a national song. But history has absolved
Vande Mataram, against all the so-called allegations and misconceptions.
As on today, the song remains an inspiration for the newest media
like this portal.
In fact, the stalwarts of the Congress party of that time-
Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Rajendra Prasad, had the highest
respect for the song. It was probably their policy to co-exist
with all community fractions harmoniously, which could not get
Vande Mataram the status of National Anthem.
Many of the patriotic music composers had rigorously worked on
the music of Vande Mataram. They were trying to discard certain
statements like, "The song is not suitable for international
bands to play", or "The words are unsuitable for it
to be a march song". However not all the attempts were vain.
At least, due to their attempts, the song is the national song
of Bharat and enjoys a status, equivalent to that of the national
anthem. Even in the diamond jubilee celebrations in 1998,
Pandit Jasraj sang it in the parliamentary function. Even
today's top musical composer A.R.Rehman was prompted to
compose a new tune for the song.