V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
Greatest Patriotic Songs of Bollywood
Ten greatest patriotic songs of Bollywood
Indian civilizational identity precedes the modern Indian state by many thousand years, and forms a part and parcel of its identity. From the years of freedom movement onwards, Bollywood has been witness to the evolution of modern Indian nationalism, and has played a role in it too, often melodiously, as reflected in some of its songs.
Here are the ten best ever patriotic songs of Bollywood. These are songs that depict the identity that is India, a pride in what it stands for and a resolve to protect its integrity and independence at any cost. Beginning with Bankim's Vande Mataram, they take us through the journey of selfless matryrs of freedom struggle, who resisted British imperialism and smilingly sacrificed their life in the hope that it will push India towards freedom. They also take us thorugh the cultural clash with Western values, reassert the pride and joy in Indian culture, and also warn that justice for all is the real patritotism, and that compassion for the downtrodden is essential to make a nation great. Finally they salute the soldiers for putting their life in the line of fire so that the rest can sleep peacefully.
These ten gems of music are also great messages of the patriotic values that modern societies cherish all over the world.... these songs are India's contribution to the benevolent and non-adversarial nationalism that perfectly fits in the philosophy of globalized world of 21st century - live and let live !
Mother, I salute thee ...!
Rich with thy hurrying streams, ...bright with orchard gleams, ....Cool with thy winds of delight, Green 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....!!
Vande mataram, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, as part of his novel, ANAND MATH in the nineteenth century, was actually far ahead of its time. It was also the first poetic instance of a nationalistic vision of modern India. This mother of all patriotic songs, which is recognized today as the National Song of India, is also one of the most patriotic songs composed in Bollywood. Its music was composed by Hemant Kumar and the magical voice is that of Lata Mangeshkar - one of her earliest great numbers.
O' my beloved country...
You are the sum of all my aspirations, ... My honour ... You are my soul..
O' my beloved country, ... O' my separated heaven...My heart is devoted to you !
It would be difficult to come across another song in any language or musical format that can express one's longing for his motherland in a better way than this number.If its music, composed by Salil Chaudhary, has the sound that comes straight from the heart, it words, written by Prem Dhawan, have a devotion that is difficult to find even in prayers to the Lord. Ironically, this number, sung by Mannade, comes in the context of a tale of Afghan trader, who longs for his country while being stuck in India - it is a song that justifies love for the nation as instinctive, humane and without any malice to anybody in this world.
Love is always pure, even when it is for one's beloved nation.... the purity of emotions in this number is what makes it, arguably, the best among all patriotic songs of Bollywood.
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Walk on the lane of justice, My children, try to do so..
Close to you or not, there should be justice for everyone; ...Beware, your steps should not hesitate on this path; ..The path is very difficult, so take care with every step; ...Walk on the lane of justice, My children, try to do so..
Great nations are built on the pillars of justice and righteousness - it is the message and its great relevance for all nations, at all times whatsoever that makes this melodious number a truly great one. Coming just a decade or so after India's independence, its message was apt, and serves as a reminder even today. Nationalism does not lie in winning other nations, its core and essence is in creating a just and equitable society, as reiterated in this song, sung by Hemant Kumar, composed by Naushad and written by Shakeel Badayuni.
We gave up life for it...Up to you now to carry this nation forward
The breath was getting lost, pulse became weaker ....yet we didn't stop the march...Even if our heads rolled...We didn't let down the honor of Himalayas
Till our death, we stood firm...We gave up life for it.. Up to you now ... to carry this nation forward
A great song, and a very powerful one, when it comes to expressing the sentiment of selfless sacrifice. This number is a depiction of the sacrifice that a brave soldier willingly makes in the service of his nation. Coming from the context of martyrs of war, it is a tale of human courage, conviction, devotion and duty that prevails over everything else... This great number owes its melodious greatness to its composer, Madan Mohan, its lyricist, Kaifi Azmi and the singer, Mohammad Rafi.
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O'nation, we promise you this.. in your path, we will sacrifice ourselves..
When our pyres are carried for cremation, ...please do not shed your tears;
But when you celebrate the festival of independence, ...that hour, do not forget us either; Even if nobody can return from where we go...at least we will return in your hearts...!!
On March 23, 1931 three revolutionaries resisting British rule in India, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, sacrificed their lives and virtually became one of the strongest symbols of Indian nationalism. Their martyrdom became an inspiration for the people. They were young, well read and with strong independent views, and while their path of violence was not followed by the majority, almost every Indian bowed to them for their courage, conviction and selfless devotion for the country. This song, written and composed by Prem Dhawan and sung by Mohammad Rafi is the most melodious tribute to their sacrifice.
Where are those .. who are proud of India..
"This place is visited by the Holy ones as well as the youth; Healthy sons come here, and older fathers too; ... she is a wife of someone, a sister, and a mother as well; ....where are those who are proud of India ? where are they, where are they, where are they ?"
Nationalism as a rhetoric serves none, it is useless unless it is in the form of compassion for your fellow countrymen, particularly the underpriveleged, the downtrodden, the weakest and the most vulnerable. It is this compassion for your fellow countrymen, a tear for those who are suffering and a call for those who sloganeer about patriotism, that makes this number an eternal masterpiece. A work of Guru Dutt's artistic genius, the great lyrics of this number were written by Sahir Ludhianvi, music composed by S D Burman and it is sung by Mohammad Rafi, all greats in their own sphere.
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We carried this boat through many a hurricanes ..Children, you must take care
Do not be lost in the luxuries of life, ... Do not get absorbed in day dreaming
O'my smiling flowers, the time has come..when you should get up and aspire for the skies ...and take the Nation to the greatest heights
The number will always be a treasure because of the message that it leaves for the future generations. It reminds the children of India about the turmoil that the nation went through, before it could be rescued and put back on the track of growth and development after independence. Its melodious and touching message is simple - to take care of the nation with sincerety, hardwork and dedication - the basic factors that make a nation great. This simple masterpiece, sung by Mohammad Rafi, was composed by Hemant Kumar and written by Kavi Pradeep.
Brave soldiers, make sure our blood remains unblemished
First we are all Indians ... then Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian...
Our names may be different ...but we are all brothers, children of Mother India..
Abdul will take care of his sons...if Ram didn't return from the war
Patriotism may be an optional hobby for others, but for those who defend the country, it is their profession and an inseperable part of their being. It is for their patriotism that the nation always salutes its brave soldiers, who put their lives in the line of fire so that the rest of the nation can rest in peace. This melodious number, composed by Laxmikant Payerelal, sung by Kishore Kumar and written by Anand Bakhshi, depicts a war cry for bravery while highlighting the dependence of the nation on these brave souls.
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Where love is a tradition, I sing the songs of that land...
Where the earliest civilisation arrived...where art took its first root;
My India is that India ...which was followed by the world;
The world followed and went ahead...Let God take it even further
This movie from the early seventies was showcased on the theme of increasing Westernisation of Indian values and culture. In the face of poverty, suffering and scarcity, this number defends the values that make and define India. Its patriotic flavour focuses on the cultural wealth and civilizational values, which have sustained it over many thousand years, even in the face of violent onslaughts and invasions, while sustaining its humane character. The music of this number was composed by Kalyanji Anandji, singer is Mahendra Kapoor and the lyrics are written by Indeewar.
This land of yours, your own country .. it calls you..
This land of yours, you own country .. it calls you..This is a bond that will can never break...
It is that moment, which has within itself..many a centuries... an entire life...
This land of yours..
In the final analysis, what matters as real patriotism is the love for one's nation. This love and affection manifests in many ways, but the purest form of that is emotional. This number, a great composition by the maestro, A R Rahman, who has also sung it, is a great expression of such patriotic emotions, depicted in the context of a non resident Indian, who is compelled by his attraction towards his motherland. The lyrics are written by Javed Akhtar.
THE BEST PATRIOTIC SONG OF BOLLYWOOD
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© 2012 V Kumar
Awni Banerjee on January 25, 2015:
I like the fact that you enlisted so many of the older songs. Most internet lists cover only the recent ones. But these songs are each a gem and should not be fortgotten. Good job!
Gous Ahmed from Muslim Nation on January 24, 2013:
I love Vande Mataram but AR Rahman's version because it is modern and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand!
From your list above i had to vote 'Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera', which makes me very emotional! I love it so much because it reminds me of my country as i live in UK. So good!!!
V Kumar (author) on December 10, 2012:
Thank you so much. Your words sound so encouraging.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 10, 2012:
Love the joy and the passion with which the children sing in Gunga Jumna's song. The lyrics are also very meaningful. Will bookmark this page and listen to the other songs. Thanks for sharing.