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 mātaram, sujalāṃ suphalāṃ malayajaśītalām
śasya śyāmalāṃ, mātaram, vande mātaram
śubhra jyotsnā, pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita, drumadalaśobhinīm
suhāsinīṃ, sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ, mātaram
I bow to thee, Mother,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
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!