"Vande Mataram" (also pronounced "Bande Mataram") (IAST: Vande Mātaram) (transl. Mother, I bow to thee) is a Sanskrit poem written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1870s, which he included in his 1882 Bengali novel Anandamath. The poem was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896. The first two verses of the song were adopted as the National Song of India in October 1937 by the Congress Working Committee prior to the end of colonial rule in August 1947.
- It was an anti-imperialist cry... Vande Mataram had gripped me, and when I first heard it sung, it enthralled me. I associated the purest national spirit with it... Its chosen stanzas are Bengal's gift ... to the whole nation .
- Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan July 1939, in Lal, K. S. (2002). Return to roots. New Delhi: Radha.(50)
- The supreme service of Bankim [Chandra Chatterji] to his nation was that he gave us the vision of our Mother.... It is not till the Motherland reveals herself to the eye of the mind as something more than a stretch of earth or a mass of individuals, it is not till she takes shape as a great Divine and Maternal Power in a form of beauty that can dominate the mind and seize the heart that ... the patriotism that works miracles and saves a doomed nation is born... It was thirty-two years ago that Bankim wrote his great song and few listened; but in a sudden moment of awakening from long delusions the people of Bengal looked round for the truth and in a fated moment somebody sang Bande Mataram. The Mantra had been given and in a single day a whole people had been converted to the religion of patriotism. The Mother had revealed herself.
- We used the Mantra Bande Mataram with all our heart and soul, and so long as we used and lived it, relied upon its strength to overbear all difficulties, we prospered. But suddenly the faith and the courage failed us, the cry of the Mantra began to sink and as it rang feebly, the strength began to fade out of the country. It was God, who made it fade out and falter, for it had done its work. A greater Mantra than Bande Mataram has to come. Bankim was not the ultimate seer of Indian awakening. He gave only the term of the initial and public worship, not the formula and the ritual of the inner secret upasana [worship]. For the greatest Mantras are those which are uttered within, and which the seer whispers or gives in dream or vision to his disciples. When the ultimate Mantra is practised even by two or three, then the closed Hand of God will begin to open; when the upasana is numerously followed the closed Hand will open absolutely.
- Bande Mataram, apart from its wonderful associations, expresses the one national wish—the rise of India to her full height. And I should prefer Bande Mataram to Bharat Mata-ki-jai, as it would be a graceful recognition of the intellectual and emotional superiority of Bengal.
- Mahatma Gandhi quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
- And Bose's tragedy came to serve this turncoat (Nehru) in yet another context. He hated India's hallowed national battle-cry, Vande Mataram. It was couched in Sanskrit which he had never understood and never honoured. But worst of all, it offended the Muslims whom he wanted to please and pit against "Hindu communalism". So, while the name of Netaji was still stirring the people, he pleaded that Vande Mataram should be replaced by Jai Hind, a cocktail phrase hurriedly coined by the Azad Hind leaders in the heat of an emergency. I myself heard him, in several crowded meetings, asking his audience to shout Jai Hind more loudly than they had done. He himself gave the lead by raising his voice to the highest pitch. I also heard him singing qadam qadam baDhâyê jâ, the marching song of the Azad Hind Fauj, and expressing dissatisfaction when people failed to repeat the refrain in the right tune. He suffered from no qualms in fattening himself on the fame of a "fascist".
- S.R.Goel, GENESIS AND GROWTH OF NEHRUISM , Vol I
- A most telling instance in point is the one relating to Vande Mataram. That celebrated song first appeared in the historical novel Ananda Math of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. It was a hymn of love of motherland sublimated into an ecstatic devotion to the Divine Mother-Bharat. In that exalted vision was manifest the trinity of Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and cuiture), Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and beauty) and Durga (the goddess of strength and energy). When Bengal was partitioned in 1905, Vande Mataram became the battlesong of the entire nation. Congress too, thereafter, adopted it as the national anthem and it was Rabindranath Tagore who sang it for the first time in the Congress session. To the British imperialist the very utterance of that simple expression Vande Mataram became the proverbial red rag to the bull. The Lt. Governor of East Bengal had ordained that no one should utter that word ; it was a ‘crime’. Thousands of young men had mocked that order and braved the British lathis and boots in the streets of Barisal by their thunderous roar of Vande Mataram. They had shed their blood and sanctfied that word into a potent and holy Rashtra-Mantra. It soon became the joyful and inspiring chant playing on the lips of the literate as well as the illiterate, the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, the old and the young—in fact of one and all-men, women and children. Hundreds of revolutionary heroes ascended the gallows with that final obeisance to the Mother. Gandhiji would often extol the grandeur of that song. At Comilla, in 1927, he said that the song held up before one’s mind the picture of the whole of Bharat-one and indivisible. Those two simple words had, indeed, wrought a miracle which even thousands of speeches and articles could not have achieved. It had become the cry of the awakened and resurgent national soul.