Singing a Salute

Album : Anand Math (1952)

Song : Vande Mataram

Music : Hemant Kumar

Lyrics : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 1838 – 8 April 1894)

Singers : Lata Mangeshkar


On this day, a National day in both my birth and adoptive countries, I choose this beautiful song as a salutation to both nations. The Hindi film industry has presented us with a number of memorable patriotic songs, many of which I would love to name in this blog one day.  But in my quest to present personally meaningful songs, this is a standout. I woke up to one version of this song everyday of my childhood as it played at 6am in the radio. At school, I sang another version of this song daily for 7 odd years.  I was an impressionable teenager when I sang this with the school choir at an event attended by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Shaking hands with her, I had been mesmerized by her aura of power and her personal magnetism. ‘This is how a woman ought to be’, I had thought. A self-defining moment for a growing girl.

So today, I present this song to you, as an ode to Mother Earth, Mother India, and Goddess Shakti (the Goddess of Power).


Vande Mataram–Lata Mangeshkar

vande mātaram, sujalāṃ suphalāṃ malayajaśītalām
śasya śyāmalāṃ, mātaram, vande mātaram
śubhra jyotsnā, pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita, drumadalaśobhinīm
suhāsinīṃ, sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ, mātaram
vande mātaram

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
the Mother!
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!


Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Patriotic Music

4 responses to “Singing a Salute

  1. Kanwal

    Suja, with this wonderful composition shared by you, there comes alive the nostalgic memory of having sung Vande Matram with Ashram choir group n number of times, specially at Sapru House under orchestral directions of Anna Didi ( Karuna mai). I do remember you … or was it Nirmala Didi … being part of this group invariably.

    • Were you part of the choir Kanwal? I don’t remember all who were there. I was not a constant member, just an occasional one when they needed a bigger choir group. You are right, it was my didi who was always in it. I was normally more interested in dancing and painting than in singing, given my voice quality isn’t that good 🙂

  2. Srinivas Bhogle

    Lata was marvellously talented, and remarkably humble given her abilities. In many ways she reminds me of Sachin Tendulkar. Both have played such long innings, both are versatile performers, both have displayed dedication and passion, both are proud Indians and both are from the same part of India.

  3. Both Maharashtrians like yourself 🙂 You have a point there….you are talking about one-in-a-billion kind of talent, something extraordinary and yes, both have it. While listening to this song I was again amazed at how long an innings Lata had, she must have been but a young girl when she sang this but what a good job she has done !! But then Sachin was great even at 16 wasn’t he? Your comparison is a good one.

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