Vande Mataram Song – Significance and Meaning

Vande Mataram also pronounced as Bande Mataram which means: Mother, I bow to thee. Mother used here was in the context of motherland of the people –– Banga Mata (Mother Bengal). ‘Vande’ comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Vand’, which appears in Rigveda. Mātaram has Indo-European roots in mātár- (Sanskrit), méter (Greek), mâter (Latin) which mean “mother.”

Vande Mataram is a Bengali poem written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1870s, which he included in his Bengali novel Anandamath in 1882.

The poem was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896 at the Calcutta Congress Session of Indian National Congress.

His song and the novel containing it was banned by the British government, but workers and general public defied the ban and were sent to colonial prisons for repeatedly singing it.

The first two verses of the song were adopted as the National Song of India in October 1937 by the Congress Working Committee.

Spiritual Indian nationalist and philosopher Sri Aurobindo referred it as “National Anthem of Bengal”.On 24 January 1950.

The Constituent Assembly of India has adopted “Vande Mataram” as national song. The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’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”


वन्दे मातरम्


सुजलां सुफलाम्







सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम्

सुखदां वरदां मातरम्।।




अबला केन मा एत बॅले


नमामि तारिणीं




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।।


त्वम् हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी

कमला कमलदलविहारिणी

वाणी विद्यादायिनी,

नमामि त्वाम्

नमामि कमलाम्

अमलां अतुलाम्

सुजलां सुफलाम्



वन्दे मातरम्

श्यामलाम् सरलाम्

सुस्मिताम् भूषिताम्

धरणीं भरणीं



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 as Mother, I bow to thee.


Mother, I Bow to Thee !


Mother, I bow to 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 bow.


Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands,

When the sword flesh out in the 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!

Though who savest, arise and save!

To her I cry who ever her foe man drove

Back from plain and Sea

And shook herself free.


Thou art wisdom, thou art law,

Thou art heart, our soul, our breath

Though 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.


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 gleams,

Dark of hue O candid-fair.


In thy soul, with jewelled hair

And thy glorious smile divine,

Loveliest of all earthly lands,

Showering wealth from well-stored hands!

Mother, mother mine!

Mother sweet, I bow to thee,

Mother great and free!


Literal translation


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!


Terrible with the clamorous shouts of seventy million throats,

and the sharpness of swords raised in twice seventy million hands,

who sayeth to thee, Mother, that thou are weak?

Holder of multitudinous strength,

I bow to her who saves,

to her who drives from her the armies of her foes,

The Mother!


Thou art knowledge, thou art conduct,

thou art heart, thou art soul,

for thou art the life in our body.

In the arm, thou art might, O Mother,

in the heart, O Mother, thou art love and faith,

it is thy image we raise in every temple.


For thou art Durga holding her ten weapons of war,

Kamala at play in the lotuses

And speech, the goddess, giver of all lore,

to thee I bow!

I bow to thee, goddess of wealth

pure and peerless,

richly-watered, richly-fruited,

The Mother!


I bow to thee, Mother,

dark-hued, candid,

sweetly smiling, jeweled and adorned,

the holder of wealth, the lady of plenty,

The Mother!


Vande Mataram has been translated into many Indian languages, such as Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Assamese etc.

Jadunath Bhattacharya set a tune for this poem.

“Vande Mataram” was one of the most popular songs of British Rule protest during the Indian independence movement.

 Lala Lajpat Rai started a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

In 1907, Bhikaiji Cama 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.



Vande Mataram song



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.

According to the leaders, though the first two stanzas which praises the beauty of the motherland, in later stanzas there are references to the Hindu goddesses Durga and Lakshmi. The Muslim League and Muhammad Ali Jinnah opposed the song. With then recommendation 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 removed.


Compiled by

Garima Dixit



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