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Vande Mataram (IAST: Vande Mātaram) is a Bengali poem written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1870s, which he included in his 1881 novel Anandamath. The poem was composed into song by Rabindranath Tagore.[1] The first two verses of the song were adopted as the National Song of India in October 1937 by Congress Working Committee prior to the end of colonial rule in August 1947.[2][3][4]

Vande Mataram
English: Vande Mātaram
Vande Mataram (Sanskrit, Hindi and official pronunciation)
Bônde Matarôm (Bengali pronunciation)
Lyrics Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Anandamath (1882)
Music Jadunath Bhattacharya
Adopted 24 January 1950
(after independence)
Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, c. 1735 (Rajasthan)
Media and performance
Music awards
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Jana Gana Mana
Regional music

An ode to Durga as the Mother goddess, it was written in Bengali script in the novel Anandmath.[5] The title 'Vande Mataram' means "I praise thee, Mother" or "I praise to thee, Mother".[1][6] The "mother goddess" in later verses of the song has been interpreted as the motherland of the people – Bangamata (Mother Bengal) and Bharat Mata (Mother India),[7][8] though the text does not mention this explicitly.

It played a vital role in the Indian independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.[9] It became a popular marching song for political activism and Indian freedom movement in 1905.[1] Spiritual Indian nationalist and philosopher Sri Aurobindo referred it as "National Anthem of Bengal".[10] The song and the novel containing it was banned by the British government, but workers and general public defied the ban, many went to colonial prisons repeatedly for singing it, and the ban was overturned by the Indians after they gained independence from the colonial rule.[11][12]

In 1950 (after India's independence), the first two verses of the song were declared the "national song" of the Republic of India, distinct from the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana. The first two verses of the song are an abstract reference to mother and motherland, they do not mention any Hindu deity by name, unlike later verses that do explicitly mention goddesses such as Durga.[13][14] There is no time limit or circumstantial specification for the rendition of this song [unlike the national anthem Jana Gana Mana that specifies 52 seconds].[15]



The root of the Sanskrit word Vande is Vand, which appears in Rigveda and other Vedic texts.[16][note 1] According to Monier Monier-Williams, depending on the context, vand means "to praise, celebrate, laud, extol, to show honour, do homage, salute respectfully", or "deferentially, venerate, worship, adore", or "to offer anything respectfully to".[16][17] The word Mātaram has Indo-European roots in mātár- (Sanskrit), méter (Greek), mâter (Latin) which mean "mother".[18][19]


Lyrics of the National SongEdit

The first two verses of Vande Mataram adopted as the "National Song" read as follows:

Bengali script[20] Bengali phonemic transcription           Devnagari script NLK transliteration[9][21]

বন্দে মাতরম্৷
সুজলাং সুফলাং
বন্দে মাতরম্৷.

সুখদাং বরদাং
বন্দে মাতরম্৷

bônde matôrôm
sujôlang suphôlang
shôsyô shyamôlang
bônde matôrôm

shubhrô jyotsna
pulôkitô jaminim
phullô kusumitô
sukhôdang bôrôdang
bônde matôrôm

वन्दे मातरम्।
सुजलाम् सुफलाम्
शस्यश्यामला मातरम्।
वन्दे मातरम्।

सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदाम् वरदाम्
वन्दे मातरम्।

vande mātaram
sujalāṃ suphalāṃ
śasya śyāmalāṃ
vande mātaram

śubhra jyotsnam
pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita
sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ
vande mātaram

The original lyricsEdit

The complete original lyrics of the Vande Mataram song including the first two verses forming the National Song are as follows.[22]

Bengali script

সুজলাং সুফলাং মলয়জশীতলাম্

শস্যশ্যামলাং মাতরম্॥

শুভ্রজ্যোত্স্না পুলকিতযামিনীম্

ফুল্লকুসুমিত দ্রুমদলশোভিনীম্

সুহাসিনীং সুমধুর ভাষিণীম্

সুখদাং বরদাং মাতরম্॥

সপ্ত কোটি কণ্ঠ কলকলনিনাদ করালে

দ্বিসপ্ত কোটি ভুজৈর্ধৃতখরকরবালে

কে বলে মা তুমি অবলে

বহুবলধারিণীং নমামি তারিণীম্


তুমি বিদ্যা তুমি ধর্ম, তুমি হৃদি তুমি মর্ম

ত্বং হি প্রাণ শরীরে

বাহুতে তুমি মা শক্তি

হৃদয়ে তুমি মা ভক্তি

তোমারৈ প্রতিমা গড়ি মন্দিরে মন্দিরে॥

ত্বং হি দুর্গা দশপ্রহরণধারিণী

কমলা কমলদল বিহারিণী

বাণী বিদ্যাদায়িনী ত্বাম্

নমামি কমলাং অমলাং অতুলাম্

সুজলাং সুফলাং মাতরম্॥ শ্যামলাং সরলাং সুস্মিতাং ভূষিতাম্ ধরণীং ভরণীং মাতরম্॥

Devanagari script

वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्

सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदां वरदां मातरम्।। 1।।

अबला केन मा एत बले।
नमामि तारिणीं
मातरम्।। 2।।

तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वम् हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडी मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे।।। 3।।

त्वम् हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी,
नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलाम्
अमलां अतुलाम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्
मातरम्।। 4।।

वन्दे मातरम्
श्यामलाम् सरलाम्
सुस्मिताम् भूषिताम्
धरणीं भरणीं
मातरम्।। 5।।

Translation into EnglishEdit

The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chatterji's novel Anandamath, including the poem Vande Mataram, into English was by Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta, with the fifth edition published in 1906 titled "The Abbey of Bliss".[23]

Here is the translation in prose of the above two stanzas rendered by Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. This has also been adopted by the Government of India's national portal.[9] The original Vande Mataram consists of six stanzas and the translation in prose for the complete poem by Shri Aurobindo appeared in Karmayogin, 20 November 1909.[24]

Mother, I praise thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I praise thee. [Verse 1]

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the swords flash out in seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Thou who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free. [Verse 2]

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine. [Verse 3]

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair [Verse 4]

In thy soul, with bejeweled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I praise thee,
Mother great and free! [Verse 5]

Apart from the above prose translation, Sri Aurobindo also translated Vande Mataram into a verse form known as Mother, I praise thee!.[25] Sri Aurobindo commented on his English translation of the poem that "It is difficult to translate the National Song of India into verse in another language owing to its unique union of sweetness, simple directness and high poetic force."[26]

Translation into other languagesEdit

Vande Mataram has inspired many Indian poets and has been translated into numerous Indian languages, such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Assamese, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and others.[27][note 2]

History and significanceEdit


Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the earliest graduates of the newly established Calcutta University. After his BA, he joined the British Indian government as a civil servant, becoming a District Magistrate and later a District Collector. Chattopadhyay was very interested in recent events in Indian and Bengali history, particularly the Revolt of 1857 and the previous century's Sanyasi Rebellion.[29] Around the same time, the administration was trying to promote "God Save the Queen" as the anthem for Indian subjects, which Indian nationalists disliked. It is generally believed that the concept of Vande Mataram came to Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay when he was still a government official, around 1876.[30] He wrote Vande Mataram at Chinsurah, there is a white colour house of Adhya Family near river Hooghly (near Mallik Ghat).[citation needed]

Chattopadhyay wrote the poem in a spontaneous session using words from Sanskrit and Bengali. The poem was published in Chattopadhyay's book Anandamatha (pronounced Anondomôţh in Bengali) in 1882, which is set in the events of the Sannyasi Rebellion.[29][30] Jadunath Bhattacharya was asked to set a tune for this poem just after it was written.[30]

Indian independence movementEdit

The flag raised by Bhikaiji Cama in 1907

"Vande Mataram" was the whole nation's thought and motto for independence [from British rule] during the Indian independence movement. Large rallies, fermenting initially in Bengal, in the major metropolis of Calcutta, would work themselves up into a patriotic fervour by shouting the slogan "Vande Mataram", or "I praise the Mother(land)!" The British, fearful of the potential danger of an incited Indian populace, banned the book and made the recital of the song a crime.[11] The British colonial government imprisoned many independence activists for disobeying the order, but workers and general public repeatedly violated the ban many times by gathering together before British officials and singing it.[11] Rabindranath Tagore sang Vande Mataram in 1896 at the Calcutta Congress Session held at Beadon Square. Dakhina Charan Sen sang it five years later in 1901 at another session of the Congress at Calcutta. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905. Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.[30] Hiralal Sen made India's first political film in 1905 which ended with the chant. Matangini Hazra's last words as she was shot to death by the Crown police were Vande Mataram.[31]

Mahatma Gandhi supported the first two verses of Vande Mataram as a national song.[2]

In 1907, Bhikaiji Cama (1861–1936) created the first version of India's national flag (the Tiranga) in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907. It had Vande Mataram written on it in the middle band.[32]

A book titled Kranti Geetanjali published by Arya Printing Press (Lahore) and Bharatiya Press (Dehradun) in 1929 contains first two stanzas of this lyric on page 11[33] as Matra Vandana and a ghazal (Vande Mataram) composed by Bismil was also given on its back, i.e. page 12.[34] The book written by the famous martyr of Kakori Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil was proscribed by the then British government of India.

Mahatama Gandhi supported adoption and the singing of the Vande Mataram song. In January 1946, in a speech in Gauhati (Assam), he urged that "Jai Hind should not replace Vande-mataram". He reminded everyone present that Vande-mataram was being sung since the inception of the Congress. He supported the "Jai Hind" greeting, but remanded that this greeting should not be to the exclusion of Vande Mataram. Gandhi was concerned that those who discarded Vande Mataram given the tradition of sacrifice behind it, one day would discard “Jai Hind” also.[35][note 3]

Adoption as "national song"Edit

Parts of the Vande Mataram was chosen as the "national song" in 1937 by the Indian National Congress as it pursued independence of India from the British colonial rule, after a committee consisting of Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Bose, Acharya Deva and Rabrindanath Tagore recommended the adoption.[37] The entire song was not selected by Hindu leaders in order to respect the sentiments of non-Hindus, and the gathering agreed that anyone should be free to sing an alternate "unobjectionable song" at a national gathering if they do not want to sing Vande Mataram because they find it "objectionable" for a personal reason.[37] According to the gathered leaders, including the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, though the first two stanzas began with an unexceptionable evocation of the beauty of the motherland, in later stanzas there are references to the Hindu goddess Durga. The Muslim League and Muhammad Ali Jinnah opposed the song. Thereafter, with the support of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Indian National Congress decided to adopt only the first two stanzas as the national song to be sung at public gatherings, and other verses that included references to Durga and Lakshmi were expunged.[2][38]

Rajendra Prasad, who was presiding the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950, made the following statement which was also adopted as the final decision on the issue:

...The composition consisting of words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations as the Government may authorise as occasion arises, and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause) I hope this will satisfy members.

Constituent Assembly of India, Vol. XII, 24-1-1950

The Supreme Court of India has declared that there is no national song of India as per the Constitution.[39]

Performances and interpretationsEdit

The poem has been set to a large number of tunes. The oldest surviving audio recordings date to 1907, and there have been more than a hundred different versions recorded throughout the 20th century. Many of these versions have employed traditional South Asian classical ragas. Versions of the song have been visualised on celluloid in a number of films, including Leader, Amar Asha, and Anand Math. It is widely believed that the tune set for All India Radio station version was composed by Ravi Shankar.[30] Hemant Kumar composed music for the song in the movie Anand Math in 1952 and this version of the Vande Mataram sung by Lata Mangeshkar became a cult success.[40] In 2002, BBC World Service conducted an international poll to choose ten most famous songs of all time. Around 7000 songs were selected from all over the world. Vande Mataram, from the movie Anand Math, was ranked second.[41] All India Radio's version and some other versions are in Desh raga.[42]

In July 2017, the Madras High Court ruled that the Vande Mataram shall be sung or played at least once a week in all schools, universities and other educational institutions of Tamil Nadu. The Court also ruled that the song should be played or sung in government offices and industrial facilities at least once a month.[43]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ See, for example, Rigveda 1.27.1; Sanskrit: अश्वं न त्वा वारवन्तं वन्दध्या अग्निं नमोभिः । सम्राजन्तमध्वराणाम् ॥१॥ Wikisource
  2. ^ The Assamese version, re-translated into English, reads:[28]
    "O my own land,
    O my dear land,
    O my dear land,
    A land bedecked with gentle streams,
    A land that adorned with heavenly beauty,
    It is such a motherland." – Lakshminath Bezbarua, Translated into English by A Mazumdar
  3. ^ This view of Gandhi was not isolated. In another interview, he said, "a song that carried such glorious associations of sacrifice as “Vandemataram” could never be given up. It would be like discarding one’s mother. But they could certainly add a new song or songs like the one mentioned to their repertoire of national songs after due thought and discrimination."[36]


  1. ^ a b c Diana L. Eck (2012). India: A Sacred Geography. New York: Random House (Harmony Books). pp. 95–97. ISBN 978-0-385-53190-0. 
  2. ^ a b c The National Flag, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 76, June 27, 1939, pages 68–70 with footnote 1 on page 69
  3. ^ Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (2003). Bande Mataram, the Biography of a Song. Penguin Books. pp. 17–24. ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3. 
  4. ^ S. K. BOSE (2015). Bankim Chandra Chatterji. Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. pp. 88–92. ISBN 978-81-230-2269-7. 
  5. ^ Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (2003). Bande Mataram, the Biography of a Song. Penguin. pp. 1–8, 73–76, 90–99. ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3. 
  6. ^ Ghose, Aurbindo. "National Song". Know India. Government of India. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (2003). Bande Mataram, the Biography of a Song. Penguin. pp. 68–77, 26–29. ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3. 
  8. ^ Sumathi Ramaswamy (2009). The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India. Duke University Press. pp. 106–108. ISBN 0-8223-9153-8. 
  9. ^ a b c "National Song of India". Government of India. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  10. ^ Sri Aurobindo commented on his English translation of the poem with "It is difficult to translate the National Anthem of Bengal into verse in another language owing to its unique union of sweetness, simple directness and high poetic force." cited after Bhabatosh Chatterjee (ed.), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Essays in Perspective, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, 1994, p. 601.
  11. ^ a b c Bankimcandra Chatterji (2005). Anandamath, or The Sacred Brotherhood. Oxford University Press. pp. 71–78. ISBN 978-0-19-803971-6. 
  12. ^ Aurobindo Mazumdar (2007). Vande Mataram and Islam. Mittal Publications. pp. 18–22, 30–31. ISBN 978-81-8324-159-5. 
  13. ^ Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (2003). Bande Mataram, the Biography of a Song. Penguin Books. pp. 34–37, 81. ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3. 
  14. ^ Sumathi Ramaswamy (2009). The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India. Duke University Press. pp. 125–142. ISBN 0-8223-9153-8. 
  15. ^ "No rules on singing, playing of 'Bande Mataram': Government – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  16. ^ a b Monier Monier-Williams, English Sanskrit Dictionary with Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 919
  17. ^ Bankimcandra Chatterji (2005). Anandamath, or The Sacred Brotherhood. Oxford University Press. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-19-534633-6. 
  18. ^ Edward Bispham (2010). Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome. Edinburgh University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7486-2714-1. 
  19. ^ J. P. Mallory; Douglas Q. Adams (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 385–386. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5. 
  20. ^ Vande Mataram in Bengali script
  21. ^ Vande Mataram in Romanized Sanskrit
  22. ^ a b Wikisource:Vande Mataram
  23. ^ Bankimcandra Chatterji (August 23, 2005). Anandamath, or The Sacred Brotherhood. Oxford University Press. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-0-19-534633-6. 
  24. ^ Aurobindo Mazumdar (2007). Vande Mataram and Islam. Mittal Publications. pp. 4–6. ISBN 978-81-8324-159-5. 
  25. ^ Sri Aurobindo's VERSE translation of Vande Mataram
  26. ^ Bhabatosh Chatterjee (ed.), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Essays in Perspective, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, 1994, p. 601.
  27. ^ Aurobindo Mazumdar (2007). Vande Mataram and Islam. Mittal Publications. pp. 23–34. ISBN 978-81-8324-159-5. 
  28. ^ Aurobindo Mazumdar (2007). Vande Mataram and Islam. Mittal Publications. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-81-8324-159-5. 
  29. ^ a b Lipner, Julius (2005). Anandamath. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 27–59. ISBN 978-0-19-517858-6. 
  30. ^ a b c d e Suresh Chandvankar, Vande Mataram (2003) at Musical Traditions (
  31. ^ Chakrabarty, Bidyut (1997). Local Politics and Indian Nationalism: Midnapur (1919–1944). New Delhi: Manohar. p. 167. 
  32. ^ p2
  33. ^ Kranti Geetanjali (Poems of Pt. Ram Prasad 'Bismil'), ISBN 81-7783-128-3.
  34. ^ *Kranti Geetanjali ISBN 81-7783-128-3.
  35. ^ Speech at Prayer Meeting (Gauhati, Assam), The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, January 10, 1946, page 212
  36. ^ Discussion with Political Workers, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, 1945, page 89
  37. ^ a b A. G. Noorani (1973), Vande Mataram: A Historical Lesson, EPW, Vol. 8, No. 23 (Jun. 9, 1973), pages 1039–1043
  38. ^ Marie Cruz Gabriel (1996). A Silence in the City and Other Stories. Orient Blackswan. pp. 238–240. ISBN 978-81-250-0828-6. 
  39. ^ <>
  40. ^ Pradeep Kumar
  41. ^ The Worlds Top Ten — BBC World Service
  42. ^ Des: Tunes from the Countryside
  43. ^ Madras High Court makes Vande Mataram mandatory in schools and colleges, India Today (July 25, 2017)
  • Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Vande Mataram: The Biography of a Song, Penguin Books, 2003, ISBN 978-0-14-303055-3.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit