(Last Updated on : 09/04/2009)
Imagery in Vande Mataram finds excellent usage, considering the age when Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
penned it. The poem written in the late 19th century carried a different image, with the 20th century reflecting an entire different imagery in the social context. After the poem was included in novel Anandamath, the outlook in imagery usage changed again. As such, Bankim Chandra can be called a passionate writer, cleverly putting in images and symbolism all through Vande Mataram.
Undoubtedly at that time the religious content of the rhetoric and imagery of the 'motherland' in Vande Mataram carried a certain kind of primeval charm. The imagery in Vande Mataram where the representation of the country as mother is being done meant different things to different people and denoted a suppressed feeling or emotion in the then socio political scenario.
The political imagery in Vande Mataram
also demands special attention. Political scenario was quite different when Bankim Chandra wrote Vande Mataram in the 1870s. At that time no great fuss was made about the lack of congruence between Banga-mata and Bharat-mata. When Bankim Chandra wrote the sapta-koti or seven crore worshippers of the motherland, he evidently had in mind the population of the entire Bengal Presidency
which then included Bihar
and Chota Nagpur, Orissa
, West Bengal
, Bangladesh and Assam
. The population of this area totalled 6.7 crore approximately in the census estimate (Bankim reported this fact editorially for the benefit of the readers of his literary journal in April 1872). Hence the words sapta-koti, a round figure which rolled out sonorously in the verse and in the usage of imagery in Vande Mataram stands as the total population of the area under the lieutenant governor of Bengal in 1871 and thus that figure included the Muslim population also. Vande Mataram' plaited with its sheer imagery therefore could be interpreted as idolatrous. The imagery of Vande Mataram thus personifies an abstract idea of the nation.
It has been said that the spirit of the novel is encapsulated in the song and imagery of Vande Mataram. The spirit has been identified as dedication to patriotic duty (Haraprasad Sastri), or the idea of the country as the mother (Aurobindo Ghosh
), or 'the ideology of renunciation on the basis of disinterested action' (Bipin Chandra Pal). There is a remarkable unanimity about the song being the core of the novel. This quite descriptively emote the use of imagery in Vande Mataram, continuously overlapping from novel to poem.
The poem Vande Mataram had been a lyrical ode to the motherland, 'giver of bliss, richly watered and richly fruited, clad in blossoming foliage, sweet of laughter, sweet of speech' and strong in having seventy million sons to defend her. The version in the novel written in 1881-82 depicted 'Durga holding her ten weapons of war', the destroyer of foes, as well as the goddess of wealth, Kamala and the goddess of learning, Vani- representations drawn from the imagery of Hindu tradition. This visionary again finds an eloquent expression in the imagery of Vande Mataram.
Although, the tone of imagery in Vande Mataram in the expanded version is different from that of the original poem yet Vande Mataram, Indian national song stand as a logo of redolence and light. Entwined with its imagery the song is still reckoned as the representation of the country.