Born in a prosperous family in Kantalapada, on June 27, 1838, Bankim Chandra was a young student when the First War of Indian Independence broke out in the year 1857. Destiny had willed him to become the uncrowned king of Bengali literature. What enshrined him in the hearts of millions of the people as a Maker of Modern India, a seer, and a nation-builder; is his unique contribution, Ananda Math, in which is incorporated his inspiring and soul-stirring national song, Vande Mataram. It was this gospel of fearless strength and force that he preached amongst the people.
The Power-Packed mantra — Vande Mataram — intoned by Rishi Bankim Chandra got revealed first in Barisal which was the nerve-center of the freedom struggle in East Bengal. The Bengal provincial conference of the Indian National Congress at Barisal was scheduled to take place on April 14, 1906, and the pledge to undo the partition was to be taken. On the eve of the conference there was a mammoth meeting in the small town of Barisal in which a figurine of Lord Curzon was burnt and a thousand voices cried Vande Mataram with a firm determination and courage to root out the alien rule from the Motherland, Thus, Vande Mataram became the national battle cry for freedom from British subjugation and a sacred mantra of patriotism that firmly bound the people together and developed a feeling of oneness, unity, and integrity amongst themselves.
Spirituality and the Nation
India’s National existence can barely be separated from spirituality and culture. It is an age-old custom of Indians to look at their birth land as the holy mother herself. The Vande Mataram was possibly the aptest, suitable and congruous patriotic poem which ignited the spirits of the people to fight for their motherland. The poem Vande Mataram was originally written in Sanskrit in the Bengali Novel. The song describes and praises the motherland and equates her with mother Goddess. Surprisingly, the song had gone deep into the Indian minds because of which they sing it in even today’s time.
It is a matter of rather great pride that the deeply religious Bengalis resisted and opposed the division of Bengal by imbibing and harnessing the strength and essence of the Hinduism and the ideals of it. No one in the Bengali families cooked food, observed fasting, took the holy dip in the Ganges, and protested the division of Bengal by conducting mass prayers. Tying ‘Rakhi’ to one another’s hand was practiced extensively throughout Bengal and is again a ritual of showing solidarity and brotherhood.
All these spiritual deeds generated high hand will power, mental integrity and strong authority to resist the British in the soil of Bengal itself. Indeed the dream of Swami Vivekananda was becoming true; Indians were converted into spiritually awakened citizens who would fight against the immoral, unethical and malicious intents of the imperialist’s.
Vande Mataram acted as a unifying element that united the people belonging to diverse backgrounds and brought them to the forefront of the British. The people believed that they belonged to the same land, drank the same water, ate the same food, shared the same land and thus was a part of one nation, though it might not be there. The sense of unity and belongingness is what the feeling of nationalism truly is and the concept of Vande Mataram rightfully did its work in transforming a movement limited to some “people” to a campaign of the “masses”.
By – Saharshrarchi Uma Pandey
National Law University, Nagpur
 V.Rangarajan, History of VANDE MATARAM, IVARTA.
http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_120102.htm (visited on 07.01.2019)
 Mohd. U. Sheikh, Rakshabandhan: Expression of inter-faith unity under British, INDIA. https://www.india.com/news/india/rakshabandhan-when-rabindranath-tagore-used-the-festival-as-expression-of-solidarity-between-hindu-muslim-524238/ (visited on 07.01.2019)
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Author: Saharsh Pandey
National Law University, Nagpur.