Anandamath and Vande Mataram Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

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Anandamath and Vande Mataram Bankim Chandra Chatterjee


The is the temple, the mosque, the vihara and the gurudwara of Mother India. Cast aside all Fear From your heart.

Anandamath was published in 1882. The historical background of this novel is not quite clear. The story is not compact but seems to be some disjointed events put together. Yet for its subject matter and quick movement of the plot in has become very attractive. A great ideal – love for one’s country and work without reward – is its subject matter The Monk Rebellion is a matter of history.
Anandamath and Vande Mataram Bankim Chandra Chatterjee 1
Bankim Chandra’s story of ‘Anandamath’ depicts the struggle for freedom ANANDAMATH that took place in Bengal in the year 1773. That was the year of a terrible famine in Bengal. The white men who ruled were indifferent to the hardship of the people and the people feared their masters. Life in Bengal was full of misery. But people did not have the courage to talk about it openly.

So there was darkness in Bengal and the silence of misery. In such an age one noble man, Satyananda, yearns to end the sufferings of his Motherland. The country has become a wilderness, darkness and silence rule; and a lonely voice asks, “Is it possible that my wish will be fulfilled?” It is the voice of Satyananda, yearning to bring freedom and happiness to his country.

The story of ‘Anandamath’ begins with a description of the terrible famine in Bengal, an a village called Padachinha there is a wealthy man. He is Mahendra; his wife is Kalyani. They have a child. The famine forces them to leave the village. They get lost in the forest. Kalyani and the child are captured by famine-stricken people. Fortunately she escapes with the child. Satyananda is the chief of a group of sanyasins called the Santanas. Kalyani takes shelter with him. He sends Bhavananda, a sanyasin, to search for Kalyani’s husband. Bhavananda comes upon Mahendra. Both of them are captured by soldiers of the British Company which was ruling Bengal. They are bound with ropes and dumped into a bullock cart, which was carrying boxes of money. Bhavananda and Mahendra manage to escape by cutting the ropes. Later the sanyasins seize the money-laden boxes.

Mahendra is reunited with his wife. He joins the Santana group with her consent; he wants to take part in the freedom struggle. In the meantime Kalyani is drowned, and saved by Jeevananda, another sanyasin. He leaves her with his wife and his sister.

The famine grows worse. The village is nothing but a wilderness. Wild animals from the forest roam about there and robbers prowl. Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India, appoints one Captain Thomas is to suppress the Santanas—Thomas is defeated and killed. On the side of the Santanas, after a heroic fight, Bhavananada breathes his last with the song ‘Vande Mataram’ on his lips.

Victorious, Satyananda returns to Anandamatha. There he is met by a great man who prophesies, “The era of Muslim power is over. Put an end to this war; there have been enough deaths. The British will be in power and right now it is not possible to conquer them. They will continue to rule as long as the Hindus are ignorant, degraded and weak.” So, Satyananda is still angry and vexed, for he does not want the British to rule, either. That is the end of the novel.

The story sustains interest to the end. As he watches the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats of the characters, he is eager to find out what happens next. Besides, these men and women are not gods and goddesses, but men and women like us. The Santanans, too, are ordinary folk, sons of the soil, who have dedicated themselves to the service of their Motherland.

‘Anandamath’ is mainly a novel of patriotism. It is the story of people who live and die for their country. Here even the sanyasins play an admirable role in the struggle of freedom. Shanti, the wife of Jeevananda, is one such heroic sanyasini.

She dons men’s clothes and when necessary wears moustaches and a beard. She boldly moves about in the midst of the enemies. She even succeeds in deceiving officers of the British army. She wins their confidence and sends information to Satyananda.

Though ‘Anandamath’ is based on the history of our land not all of it is pure history. In fact there was no institution by name ‘Anandamath’. Bankim Chandra made use of history, but created a number of characters. And he gave a novel, which ennobles the reader. It enables the reader to escape from the petty thoughts of selfishness. It gives unforgettable pictures of men and women who live only for the country.

Whatever may be the virtue of Anandamath as a novel, its popularity as an absorbing story and the respect that it commands in undeniable. By writing this novel Bankim Chandra has greatly helped to arouse our desire for independence. On the one hand ‘Anandamath’ inspired Swami Vivekananda to establish his Mission and directed and guided the Anushilan Samiti in the path of acquiring independence, on the other, the song of salutation in Anandamath, Vandemataram, first inspired the people of Bengal and later that of the whole of India, to fight for the country’s independence and eventually it was given the pride of place as the National Song of India.

Vande Mataram

Because the British keep India in subjection by the sword. And she can be Freed only by the sword. Those who talk of winning India’s independence by peaceful means do not know the British, I am sure. Please say Vande Mataram.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee struck a new path in the realm of novels. Until then a novel was generally a cock and bull story, full of unbelievable incidents. ‘Durgeshanandini’ broke this tradition. It began a new trend. The story by itself was very interesting. At the same time it was about persons like us – good persons and bad persons, short-tempered persons and patient persons. Moreover what happened to the characters, who prospered and who suffered was no longer the most important thing to the reader. He began to ask himself: why did this happen this way? Who was right? Who was wrong?’ People no longer read novels just to kill time. In addition to entertainment the novels taught people to think objectively.

The other notable contribution by Bankim Chandra is, of course, ‘Vande Mataram.’ It became the sacred battlecry of freedom fighters. It became such a source of inspiration that the British officers were enraged at the very mention of this. People were sent to prison just because they sung this song.

‘Vande Mataram’ has an honoured place in independent India. It keeps bright in the hearts of the people the ideal of dedication to our country.

In ‘Anandamath’ Bhavananda says, “Our Motherland is our Mother. We have no other mother, no father, no wife, no children, no home and no family; we have only this Sujala, Suphala, Malayajasheetala.”

In the same novel Shanti says to her husband Jeevananda, “My Lord, you are my Guru. Can I teach you your sacred duty? You are a hero. Need I teach you the way of a hero? Let us now chant Vande Mataram.”

Men like Bhavananda and women like Shanti live for ever in our hearts. It was Bankim Chandra who created such characters.

The National Song reads as follows :

Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, Suphalam, Malayaja Shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Shubhrajyothsna Pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusmita drumadala Shobhinim
Suhasinim Sumadhura bhashinim
Sukhadam Varadam, Mataram!

It was first sung at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.