The Song
The original Hindi verson of the song.
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An Introduction
The song Vande Mataram first appeared in the pages of the Bangadarshan and was later incorporated in the Anandamath.
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English translation
The English translation of the song by Sri Aurobindo
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The Poet
The word ‘Bankim Chandra’ describes in Bengali ‘the moon as it appears on the second day of the bright fortnight’. The moon then grows and fills out over the next twelve nights.
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VANDE MATARAM : An Introduction

India emerged as a nascent nation around the beginning of the 20th century. Earlier, developments in one part of the country had hardly any impact on the rest of the country. In 1857, when the whole of North India was engulfed in the Great Revolt against the British, the rest of the country kept aloof as though the plight of their countrymen in the North was of no concern to them. It was at this moment that India emerged as one nation.

All this changed in 1905. When the British partitioned Bengal on communal lines, they met with resistance not only in Bengal but throughout the country. The agitation against the partition of Bengal assumed an all-India dimension.

It may well be true that when the British welded the country into one administrative unit and made English education available, they unwittingly laid the foundation of the modern Indian state. The western ideas of equality and liberty greatly influenced those who later emerged as leaders of the freedom struggle. The masses, however, remained insulated from western influences. Bal Gangadhar Tilak tried to quicken the pace of political reforms by shifting emphasis from petitions to the government to peaceful agitation to assert the will of the people. But the lofty ideas of the west had no meaning for the Indian masses. He fell back on the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi and Shivaji Jayanti to bring the people together and create fellow-feeling. The message was loud and clearif India had to emerge as a nation the desire for nationhood had to come from within. This could be said to have got underway with the coming together of two influencesthe powerful call to action to his countryman by the charismatic monk, Swami Vivekananda, and the overpowering appeal of the song, Vande Mataram. The emotion-laden song, penned by the Bengali writer, Bankim Chandra soon burst out of the confines of Bengal and was on the lips of every Indian across the subcontinent.

It was the song of freedom.
The following books are recommended for further reading on a glorious chapter of the Indian national movement. The eleventh volume, "Struggle For Freedom" of the Bhavans series on History and Culture of the Indian People; Sumit Sarkars "Modern India" and "The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal" and Moni Bagchees "Vande Mataram".

S. Ramakrishnan

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