3 Songs for Freedom

Rather like 3 coins in the fountain! Indians and music go way back…and given our history, it isn’t surprising that we have a host of emotional songs to stir up those good old patriotic feelings, pay tribute to our martyrs and express our love for our country. Why stop at one when you can have a thousand, eh? 🙂 Hey! I’m not complaining! In recent years, a lot of the old songs have been remixed and reincarnated in new avatars, presumably to attract the youth, who necessarily do not identify with India’s freedom struggle, the way old-timers do. Being born in a free country, it is hard for them to identify with the ignominy of British occupation and the horror of Partition.

I was born a good 3 decades after India won her freedom and it’s the same for me. I respect the struggle and am touched by the countless tragedies suffered by those who fought for their country, but much of it remains remote – stories from long ago that I read in school text-books or saw in fuzzy B &W movies! I never bothered with the National Anthem after I left school. However, recently I’ve had occasion to hear it played frequently at International sports events, when a modern hero has done his country proud, and before every movie in cinema halls! I have come to love it afresh – the soulful lyrics & the simple yet powerful melody, bring tears to my eyes every time! (Maybe it’s ‘coz I’m older and am going soft!) I recognize the genius of the Nobel laureate Rabrindanath Tagore who composed it and I doff my hat to him and country, both.

Here is a little gem I found on Youtube, the anthem, recited in Tagore’s own voice!

Here is a more contemporary version, by A. R. Rehman and India’s foremost musical artistes – Soul-stirring!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZi3fwP09zw

This is the original composition of the song Vande Mataram (India’s National Song), in Sanskrit, from the movie Anand Muth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj1Iy4nRMkc

And this is another revival by A. R. Rehman. Superbly done as always!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRPpSgRqtRc&feature=related

This is another song that I love and was quite the rage when first released 🙂 It speaks of national pride and unity in diversity, staples of freedom songs in India! I love that it has music from all corners of India…that’s true integration 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gstRrEmTcBc

And finally, my absolute favorite patriotic song of all time. A tribute to the martyrs of India (and Heaven knows She’s had more than her share!), this song brought tears to Pandit Nehru’s eyes, when he first heard it in 1962, and never fails to do the same to me. Music by C. Ramchandra and lyrics by Kavi Pradeep. Sung fittingly by Lata Mangeshkar, India’s own  ‘Nightingale.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyAhYbwUr2U&feature=related

Alrite, I know, that’s 4 songs, but who’s counting! There are many more songs that I love, but that’s another post, another time!

Meanwhile…’Jo shahid huye hai unki zara yaad karo kurbani‘…

Jai Hind!

4 thoughts on “3 Songs for Freedom

  1. Lovely post. A friend and coworker of mine just returned from a trip to India, and had a chance to meet up with a good portion of his family. I had the pleasure of seeing his photos last week, and when I read this post, I knew I had to send him your link.

  2. Continue to write so flowingly and continue to share your views and feelings about various subjects you choose. Personally, I have always seen the negative side of patriotism. It is great to have freedom as a country no doubt, I am so happy the British do not rule us like we don’t matter… but nevertheless, on the road to a modern stable viable future, patriotism is outdated I think. It creates an illusion of belongingness while subtly , unnoticed separates us from all that is not Indian. Nevertheless, I love Vande mataram as a song. For me “Yeh jo des hain mera” is more of a “I love my homeland” song, home just being a place nostalgia connects you with. This message is also suitable to for me to give my 8 year old, born in Japan, brought in America, residing in Singapore, Indian passport holder. I want him to love/hate/connect with every place the way I do.

    1. Thank you Priya 🙂 I agree with you…it’s hard at times to feel patriotic (my definition is simple – love of my country – and you know how tough love can be!). Sometimes I struggle with what being ‘Indian’ & “Indian-ness” truly mean, especially when one has traveled and lived in places other than India and made a home there. I think like every other emotion, this one too is largely a matter of perspective. I wonder what the definition of patriotism and the relevance of the freedom struggle will be for our children and for coming generations of young Indians, living in India and abroad. I love your comments, they always me think and I love that 🙂 Don’t stop!

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