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Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Vande Maataram

Posted on: January 26, 2018


This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in sites like lyricstrans.com and ibollywoodsongs.com etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 3479 Post No. : 13976

I congratulate all our readers on the auspicious occasion of this 69th REPUBLIC DAY of our country (26 january 2018).

Seriously, how many of us really know the definition of a Republic ? As per the Oxford Dictionary, “A Republic is a sovereign country, which is organised with a form of Government in which the power resides with elected individuals, who exercise power according to the rule of the law “. In short, it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

After India achieved freedom in 1947, some films on Patriotic themes were made. ‘Andolan’ (1951) was one such film. Made by Harnam Motwane, under his banner Motwane Ltd, this film is labelled as a ‘historic’ film by HFGK. That may be because in this film the history of India’s independence struggle from 1885 to 1947 is shown with the documentaries and actual footage (with a basic film story, of course) from short films made by Films Division and some film companies like Krishna and Kohinoor films.

This was Kishore Kumar’s first film as a hero and his role was a serious one, that of a militant hero. Though in his later career, Kishore became famous and popular as a comedian – a reluctant one, though, he always yearned for serious roles in serious films. When he started producing his own films, he took the opportunity to make some serious films.

Today’s song is from film ‘Andolan’. It is not a film song actually, but our National Song, suitably woven into the film story. “Vande Maataram” could have been our National Anthem, but things were manoeuvred in such a way that it did not get that place of honour. Let us see a brief history of Vande Mataram through the years.

It was Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay who wrote the lyrics for the powerful “Vande Maataram”. It was Sanyasi Rebellion (1763-1800) that inspired Bankim to write the historic novel ‘Ananda Matth’. Actually, the lyrics of this song came much before the novel. He wrote the lyrics while he was riding in a train and was inspired by the scenic landscape, beautiful lakes and charm of nature in its expansive splendor. The poet in him got totally inspired and burst into penning down lyrics for this soul stirring poem. However, it took few more years for the poem to reach to the masses.

On April 14th 1906, at the Bengali Provincial Conference of Indian National Congress at Barisal, Bankim revealed this power-packed mantra to the masses. The pledge for undoing the then partition of Bengal was also taken at this conference. And “Vande Maatarm” became a weapon in the hands of patriotic revolutionaries of India which shook the foundation of British Raj. Many hard core patriots went to gallows while holding Bhagwath Geeta in one hand and the lines of “Vande Maataram” on their lips.

“Vande Maataram” even reached the shores of America in 1912 and the Gadar party was formed to fight against British Colonialism, with vows of patriotism singing the lines of this inspirational poem. Four Indian revolutionaries from Independence League in Japan were caught by British forces and were sentenced to death. All four went to gallows with “Vande Maataram” on their lips.

National Anthem of Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army – INA) led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, was a soul-stirring adoration of the motherland India which inspired thousands of soldiers to lay down their lives for India’s independence. Netaji writes about “Vande Mataram” in his autobiography calling it as the National Anthem of India. In his writings, he says – “Vande Maataram” literally means “I salute you, O Mother”.

“Vande Maataram” inspired twenty four soldiers of Bristish Indian Army stationed in Tamilnadu in 1940’s. And British arrested all twenty four on charges of mutiny and were sentenced to death. In Madras (now Chennai) Jail all twenty four went to gallows once again with “Vande Maataram” on their lips.

The acceptance and usage of this poem was also fraught with controversies. The Muslim League opposed the acceptance of this poem on grounds of religious sentiments, as early as 1908. Taking a rigid and parochial view, based on a certain interpretations of the fundamental tenets of Islamic traditions, they claimed that their religion disallowed them to bow their head in worship and salute to any person or symbol other than Allah, the Almighty. By this logic, they said, a salute to even as revered a symbol as the Motherland, would be hurting their religious sentiments.

In 1922, Congress leaders with Nehru as a party leader decided to maim “Vande Maataram” by allowing only first two stanzas of this poem to be sung. Muslim League still persisted in its objection, and in 1938, Jinnah placed before Nehru his demand for completely abandoning this poem.
[Ed Note: There is ample evidence to also show that such divisive manipulations was the handiwork of the British. It was the British who wanted the ‘Jana Gana Mana. . .’ poem by Rabindranath Tagore, to take precedence over all other such similar candidates. They wanted to stress their superiority and control over the leaders and people of India, simply because the creation of Rabindranath Tagore was originally written in the honor of the British king. And that both the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress were simply toeing the British line.]

Nehru further went on to say that lyrics of “Vande Maataram” were not suitable for composing it into a melody. And no orchestra will be able to play such a song. But one patriot-musician Master Krishna Rao Phulambrikar from Pune proved Nehru wrong. He composed “Vande Maataram” in a very melodious tune. However, Nehru wanted to get okay from British Band (orchestra) experts. Master Krishna Rao Phulambrikar came to Bombay (now Mumbai) and played his composition to British Band experts and they approved it after playing smoothly in their orchestra. This proved for the first time that “Vande Maataram” could be composed melodiously.
[Author’s Note : I do not understand here why Nehru wanted an okay from British Band in the first place].

In spite of all these efforts, Congress leaders did not like the idea of making this poem as the National Anthem of India. Even before the official decision was taken by Constituent Assembly on this issue, “Jana Gana Mana” was played as National Anthem in the UN General Assembly in 1947. If congress (read – Nehru) would not have hastened there was a possibility that “Vande Maataram” would have been adopted as National Anthem of India by majority votes of assembly members.

But things took place behind the scenes. The question never came to Constituent Assembly. Instead of passing a resolution for adopting National Anthem by majority votes, the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad was asked to announce on January 24th, 1950 saying that “Jana Gana Mana” will be the National Anthem of India and “Vande Maataram” will have equal status with it.

Of course, Vande Mataram does not need any official stamp of being a National Anthem from Government of India so long as it lives in the hearts of millions and millions of Indians all across the globe. (Adapted from an article by Dr N Kamath, with thanks).

As far as the story of film ‘Andolan’ is concerned, this is what its film booklet says-

In the year 1885, Charu Dutt, a worldly-wise patriot, journeys from his little village to attend the first session of the Indian National Congress, held in Bombay. Fired with patriotic zeal, he returns to his village and speaks to his friends and relatives of the new wave that is about to spread over India. To his son he explains the cultural and political past of India, from the dawn of her history upto the turbulence of 1857. The years roll on, and we come to the partition of Bengal. There is thunder in the air, and India’s inspiring song, “Vande Maataram”, is born. The struggle gathers strength. Mahatma Gandhi appears, and freedom comes closer. 1920. . . 1921. . . Simon Commission, Bardoli, Dandi, 1930. . . 1932. . . the battle rages and the drama heightens. Then, August 1942 and Quit India, and on to the final chapter in our freedom story, which unfolds in this film as the story of a single family, representing the nation of which they are the heart-beats.

According to a Review of this film, published in those days-

The true patriot that he was, Pannalal Ghosh gave stirring compositions and flute playback for the memorable film ‘Andolan’. This film starred Shivraj, Kishore Kumar, Manju, Pushpa, Sushma, Parsuram, and Tiwari and was directed by Phani Majumdar for Motwane Ltd.

The film, made at Bombay Talkies, was produced by the distributors of the Chicago Radio PA systems. Kishore Kumar plays the role of the militant hero of this quasi-documentary. It is a stridently nationalistic story of India’s freedom struggle, presented through the expressions of a Bengali family from 1885 (when the Indian National Congress was established) to 1947. It has the actual footage of India’s freedom struggle. Speeches and talks of our national leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and many others are included in the narrative of this film.

Important events incorporated into the plot were Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagrah (1920), the Simon Commission (1928), Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel’s Bardoli Satyagrah (1928) and the 1942 Quit India agitation. Old documentary footage purchased from Kohinoor and Krishna Films, as well as a shot of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore singing Jana Gana Mana are included. The song “Vande Maataram” rendered by Parul Ghosh, Sudha, and Manna Dey is based on Raaga Miyan Malhar. “Prabhu Charanon Main Aaya Pujari” in Raaga ‘Shree’ and “Radha Ne Kiya”, both rendered by Parul Ghosh are appreciated by music lovers. “Subah Ki Pahili Kiran Tak Zindagi Mushkil Mein Hai” rendered by Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey and others is a unique experimentation in Bhor music.

The film was directed by Phani Mujumdar (28-12-1911 to 16-5-1994), who was already a seasoned Director. He is the only Director who directed films in 9 languages (Hindi, Bangla, English, Malay, Chinese, Magadhi, Maithili, Aasamese and Punjabi). He started his career assisting PC Barua in Calcutta. Besides ‘Street Singer’ (1938) and ‘Kapaal Kundala’ (1939), he had directed a total of 29 films,which include several hit films like ‘Baadbaan’, ‘Doctor’, ‘Tamanna’, ‘Door Chalen’, ‘Faraar’, ‘Aarti’, ‘Kanyadan’, ‘Akashdeep’, ‘Oonche Log’ etc. Here is a short biosketch and an obitury on him, published in The Independent, Calcutta, on 22-6-1994, and is written by the famous film historian and author of ‘Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema’ – Ashish Rajadhyaksha.

PHANI MAJUMDAR was a pioneer of Indian cinema, working in the late 1930s with PC Barua, India’s equivalent of DW Griffith, in the famous New Theatres Studio of Calcutta. Here, between 1936 and 1939, new standards were set for Indian motion pictures in a series of reflective, lyrical films that brought cinema closer to life and literature.

Majumdar’s contribution was ‘Street Singer’ (1938), a melancholy love story, his debut and a classic of Indian cinema. Its male lead, Kundan Lal Saigal, sang his immortal song ‘Babul Mora’ here, on a charged symbolic landscape of boats adrift in the mist. The Famine of 1943 and Partition of India were events of the future yet much of the symbolism of Bengal, the redolent Tagorean motifs of life-giving rivers, the feudal elite recreating the 19th century in desolate mansions – all the stuff that Satyajit Ray later spoke of as ‘the past’ – was in place with Street Singer. It was watched, not just as a love story par excellence, but as an expression of themes of Indian identity and nationalism which would be relevant for India, and Majumdar, even beyond Independence.

Majumdar was born in Faridpur, in what is now Bangladesh, in 1911. From Calcutta he moved to Bombay in 1941, directing classic musicals which often promoted traditional ways of Indian life, with stars like Suraiya in ‘Tamanna’ (1942), Shanta Apte in ‘Mohabbat’ (1943), and the blind singer KC Dey.

Majumdar’s Andolan (1951), Indian cinema’s most elaborately constructed nationalist propaganda feature, was made to promote Nehru’s Congress Party and was the closest that India ever came, on film, to defining a popular culture of nationalism: a small family in Bengal experiences in microcosm the major political events in the country, from 1885 (when the Congress Party was established) to Independence.

Majumdar returned to India from working in Singapore in the 1960s, and proceeded to make films in Punjabi, and even in obscure languages like Magadhi (‘Bhaiya’, 1961) and Maithili (‘Kanyadaan’, 1965). His interest in themes of an intrinsically Indian nature was a driving force to the end of his career. He worked on the television phenomenon of the 1980s in India, the 78-part religious epic ‘The Ramayana’, and was working on a television series ‘Our India’ when he died. No doubt, had he lived, the ‘Our India’ series, on a state television network struggling to hold its own in competition with satellite, would have been the fitting finale to a career which started with ‘Street Singer’.

The film had a cast consisting of Kishore kumar, Shivraj, Manju, Parshuram, Tiwari, Krishnakant, Sachin Shankar, Pushpa, Gauri devi etc etc. The recording of the songs of this film were done in November 1949 to August 1950 itself. Actor Krishnakant aka K.K. who acted in this film, did the role of Rehmu (Rehman) – a 20 year old young man. By the end of the film, he becomes an 85 year old Rehmu Chacha. He has written about this film in his Gujarati autobiography, ‘Guzra hua zamana’, that he had to do the make up differently for every shot of his role – from young to old. His make up man was Dada Paranjape, who had worked in Prabhat and Rajkamal with V Shantaram. The shooting of the film was done in Bhopal and nearby areas. All the actors and crew had to stay in Military Barracks and had to report at 7 am for shootings. The season was winter and the cold of Bhopal was unbearable. Constant tea/coffee supply was arranged.

For lack of any big stars and actors, distributors were wary of taking the film. A grand premiere was arranged, attended by Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Meena kumari, Madhubala, Geeta Bali and others. However, the film did not do big business. Probably, the documentary type presentation was not impressive enough.

The film has 6 songs. Today’s song is the second song to be posted here. The first song was discussed few years ago. On this auspicious occasion of our Republic Day, let us listen to “Vande Maataram”, sung by Parul Ghosh, Sudha Malhotra, Manna Dey, Sailesh Kumar and Chorus.


Song- Vande Maataram (Aandolan)(1951) Singers- Parul Ghosh, Sudha Malhotra, Manna Dey, Sailesh Kumar, Lyrics-Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, MD- Pannalal Ghosh

Lyrics

vande maataram
vande maataram

vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram

sujalaam sufalaam
malayaj sheetalaam
shasyashyaamalaam maataram
maataram
sujalaam sufalaam
malayaj sheetalaam
shasyashyaamalaam maataram
maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram

shubhrajyotsna pulakit yaaminim
phulla kusumita drumadal shobhinim
shubhrajyotsna pulakit yaaminim
phulla kusumita drumadal shobhinim
suhaasinim sumadhura bhaashhinim
sukhadaam varadaam maataram
maataram
suhaasinim sumadhura bhaashhinim
sukhadaam varadaam maataram
maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram

sujalaam sufalaam
malayaj sheetalaam
shasyashyaamalaam maataram
maataram
sujalaam sufalaam
malayaj sheetalaam
shasyashyaamalaam maataram
maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram
vande maataram

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2 Responses to "Vande Maataram"

Dear Arunji ,

As mentioned before , one waits eagerly for your Posts which are so full of details and in this particular case thanks for the Gem of a Song , which , I dare say , most of us have not heard before .

Please allow me to make some pertinent observations :

1) While Bankim Chandra may have been inspired by that train journey ,in reality , he had composed part of this song (the first two stanzas) way back in 1876 in response to the British insistence that “God Save the King” be sung as India’s National Anthem . The remaining stanzas were composed and incorporated in “Anandmath” some 6 years later .​

2) The first time “Vande Mataram” was sung in public was at the inauguration of the 12th Session of the Indian National Congress held at Calcutta in 1896 under the Presidentship of Rahimtulla M Sayani and it was sung by none other than Kabiguru Tagore himself , based on the tune that he had composed in 1885 . Here is a recording of the Song sung by Kabiguru (the audio is of poor quality with lot of ambient noise and you may have to turn up the volume , but it is the archival value which is of importance) . The song is in Bengali ].

( Needless to add , the Vande Mataram song became the opening invocation in all succeeding Congress Sessions , sung by different eminent persons )

3) It is worth mentioning that back in those days , Muslims who participated in the Freedom struggle did not think twice about singing this song and no one raised any objections . It was only after the formation of the Indian Muslim League in 1906 that the first objections begun to be raised , ostensibly with the intention to generate a separate identity for the Muslims as also to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims and as mentioned by you , surreptitiously aided and abetted by the British.

4) Bankim Chandra could not have released the “Mantra” during the Congress Session at Barisal in April 1906 , as he had passed away in 1896 . It was Aurobindo Ghosh who introduced the Song in the Session which turned into a bloodbath as it was forcibly blocked by the British and the Song banned .

5) Faced with persistent opposition by Muslim Congressmen and in order to retain such membership , a select Committee appointed by the Congress in 1937 decided that only the first two Stanzas , which were non-controversial , would henceforth be sung . But the Muslims were not appeased , since the Song itself had become anathema to them by virtue of being part of “Anandmath” which was overtly anti-Muslim . In 1938 , Md Ali Jinnah declared that no Muslim would ever sing the Vande Mataram , come what may . In desperation , Nehru and Subhas Bose (the then Congress President) turned to Tagore for finding a way out of the impasse . In a letter to Bose , Tagore wrote as under :

“The core of Bande Mataram is a hymn to goddess Durga : this is so plain that there can be no debate about it… no Mussulman can be expected patriotically to worship the ten-handed deity as ‘Swadesh’….The novel “Anandamath” is a work of literature, and so the song is appropriate in it. But, Parliament is a place of union for all religious groups, and there the song cannot be appropriate…” In a post script, he added: “…[S]ince there are strong feelings on both sides, a balanced judgment is essential. In pursuit of our political aims we want peace, unity and good will — we do not want the endless tug of war…”

Without saying as much , Tagore had thrown a subtle hint – “Look beyond Vande Mataram if you want to keep the Country united “.

[ It would not seem out of place , on hindsight , and borne out by later events , that one person who took that hint , but kept it to himself , was Jawaharlal Nehru . Another was Subhas Bose , but he did not keep it to himself , as he had left the Congress in 1939 and formed his own Party ].

6) In April 1941 , Subhash Bose landed in Germany and established first the Free India Centre and later the Indian Legion ( an Indian Army in exile , comprised of about 4000 POWs , Indian Officers and men serving in the British Indian Army and captured by Rommel in Africa – the precursor to the INA ). The Free India Centre was recognised by Germany , Italy and later Japan as the Indian Govt. in exile and given Diplomatic Status . Netaji had already decided on the Flag (similar to the Congress Flag but with the image of Springing Tiger in the middle instead of the Charkha) , the salutation Jai Hind and all that remained was the Anthem to be played at a Public Function slated to be held in Hamburg in September , the next year . Read below :

“Netaji called a meeting and discussed several options and ultimately decided that “Jana Gana Mana” should be the National Anthem of Free India. There were no notations available, so Dr Ambik Majumdar, who was well-versed in musical notations, adapted the notations to the song and another Indian, Dr Mukherjee played it on the piano for Netaji’s approval. The final version was then given to Dr Eigel Kruettge, the Conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, who made some minor changes to the notation for the orchestra “.

“On the 11th September 1942 in Hamburg in the presence of Netaji, the Lord Mayor of Hamburg, representatives of the German government, diplomats and well-known personalities. On this occasion, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg played the National Anthems of Germany and the Free India Centre.”

One Narahari Ganpule , a close associate of Netaji had kept a recording of that first performance and managed to keep it safe despite being arrested by the British later . He had passed on a copy to a relative who was a bureaucrat .

During the UN General Assembly in 1947 , the Indian delegation was asked to submit their National Anthem and it was this Copy which was handed over , to be played during the Assembly Session .

Finally some trivia about Vande Mataram :

In one of the earliest instance of open defiance by the Muslims , at a AICC Meeting held in Kakinada (then in Madras Province) in December 1923 , well known singer VD PALUSKAR (father of even more renowned DV PALUSKAR) was stopped from singing VM at the opening invocation , as was the practice , by the then Congress President MAULANA MUHAMMED ALI JAUHAR and a few other prominent Muslim Leaders of the Congress , including his brother SHAUKAT ALI . Pandit Paluskar angrily retorted that this was a Public Meeting and not a place of worship for Muslims . Those who took objection were free to leave the venue , he said and continued to sing his version of the complete VM , set to Raag Kafi by him . In the event, both the brothers and some of the Muslim Leaders walked out , returning after the song was completed . Pandit Paluskar felt slighted that no Hindu Leader had come forward in his defence and never ever sang at a Congress Meeting thereafter or even attend one .

[ Shortly after this Session , Muhammed Ali Jauhar left the Congress and joined the Muslim League and actively supported the 14 Points Formula propounded by Jinnah and which was , in effect , the pre-cursor to Partition . He even participated in the Round Table Conference to represent the Muslim League . He died in London during the conference and was buried in Jerusalem as per his wishes . But to this day , there is a Road named after him in Delhi , apart from Hostels named after him in Jamia Milia University and Aligarh Muslim University . The main arterial South-North Road in Mumbai , one of the longest in the City (if not the longest) is named Mohammed Ali Road , after him . Pakistan has even named a few Cities after him ! After Pakistan issued a Postage Stamp in his honour , then Congress Govt. also issued a Stamp , in 1978 , in order to appease the minorities . Those familar with Bombay will note that the historic Grant Road (named after one of the Governors of Bombay) was renamed as Shaukat Ali Road by the Congress sometime in the 50s , after Shaukat Ali , the equally notorious anti-hindu elder brother of Mohammed Ali Jauhar . ]

With warm regards

PARTHA CHANDA

PARTHA CHANDA ji,

Thanks for your detailed comment.
Most of your points were there in the article which I used for my write up, but I edited communal references intentionally,since on this Blog, we avoid any political,communal or religious statements. We firmly stick to our Musical awtar only.
There are various articles, versions and anecdotes ( mostly conflicting and partial to the party of the writers) on this contentious issue, but that is not anyway the way our write ups shape up here.
It is very interesting to read what you have meticulously presented here for us.
I thank you heartily for the efforts you have taken to do this.
And yes, thanks for your encouraging words on my writings.

-AD

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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