I eagerly wait for these two days in the year; 15th August which marks our Independence Day and 26th January, which marks our Republic Day. For the obvious reasons, they mark the most important events in my country’s history. They remind us of the great freedom struggle and the freedom fighters who laid down their lives so that the generations to come would live in a free democratic India.

India’s freedom struggle was marked by slogans and songs, which have now become immortal. Songs we learnt at school and will never ever forget. It’s a little tragic that post-school we get to hear those songs on radio or view them on national television only on these two days. To crib is not the intention of this post.

On the eve of India’s 56th Republic Day the intention of this post is to relive those magical songs.

There is not a single Indian I know who does not know the following songs by heart.

  • A tear strolls down the cheek every time we hear Lata Mangeshkar sing ‘E Mere Vatan Ke Logon’ written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C. Ramachandra. It reminds us to never forget those who lost their lives defending this country, a fine tribute to the men who guard our country risking their lives day in and out.
  • Kar chale hum fida‘ from Haqeeqat on of the finest war movies made and ‘Taqat Vatan ki Hum Se’ from Prem Pujari reiterate the praise for our nation’s pride, our defence forces.
  • E mere pyare vatan from Kabuliwalla depicts the pain of being away from one’s motherland and his craving to be back home whereas ‘Apni Azaadi Ko Hum Bhula Sakte Nahi’ from Leader tells us to take pride in the freedom we have achieved, to never ever forget its importance and to never give it up even though we might have to sacrfice our lives to keep it.
  • And there are the ones, which praise India and define its beauty to the rest of the world. A lovely place to be in. Songs like Sare jahan se aacha, Jaha dal dal per sone ki, Mere desh ki dharati , Hum Sab Bhartiya Hain, Jhanda Uncha Rahe Hamara, and Yeh desh hai vir jawano ka
  • There are the others which inspires the children (Nanna munna rahi hun), the youth of the nation to realize the importance of their motherland (Aao bachoo tumhe dikhaye) to realize their duty to walk the righteous path (Insaaf ki dagar pe bachho dikhao chalake) and aspire to work hard to make their nation a better place to live in (Chodo kal ki baate)
  • There is also a beautiful song that praises Mahatma Gandhi the father of our nation for his non-violence strategy.(De di hume azadi bina khadga)
  • Not to forget the ever-inspiring Vande Mataram; a source of inspiration for freedom fighters of this nation.

These and so much more, all from the decades of 50s, 60s and 70s.One wondered if any would come in the future to carry forward this legacy and inspire the generations to come with some more patriotic songs.

Just when you thought none would; came a young composer who gave us a few we could be proud of. The intention of this post is also to thank a music director who is largely responsible for giving the modern generation a few patriotic songs. Songs that the next generations to come will definitely sing along with the immortal ones that have been handed over to us from our past generations.

A.R. Rahman makes me proud for giving my generation some of the finest patriotic songs that we can proudly hand over to our next generations.

  • His very first film in Hindi (all though dubbed) had one of my all time favourite patriotic number. Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara Hain from Roja
  • Along with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan he rendered a meaningful number “Gurus of Peace” in his private album titled Vande Mataram. Though I will always be critical of him for modifying Vande Mataram (One should not alter the national song) in his song Maa Tujhe Salaam. The song though turned out to be one of the popular ones that praise our motherland.
  • Then came Lagaan, which had a number though not exactly patriotic but was inspirational for us Indians, so much that it almost became an anthem for our Cricket World Cup 2003 campaign. ‘Chale Chalo’, another inspiring number.
  • In a film (Legend of Bhagathsingh) that did not win much box-office acclaim AR Rahman rendered a mesmerizing number, ‘Desh Mere, Desh Mere, Meri Jaan Hain Tu’. It had the infuence of the Roja number but the song is worth remembering nevertheless. He also brought alive ‘Mera Rang De Basanti Chola’.
  • In another historic epic, which again failed to achieve any box office success, he did not fail to render an apt number to signify Subhash Chandra Bose’s freedom struggle. ‘Azaadi’ from Bose-The Forgotten Hero also deserves a place in our patriotic songs.
  • Then there was Swades, which had a song that reminds each of us, of our duties towards the nation. The nation that has given us so much but owing to our selfish pursuits we often fail to give back its due. A song that tells us ‘Ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukaara…Ye woh bandhan hai jo kabhi toot nahin sakta.‘ Indeed the bond can never be broken.
  • And finally when Rang de Basanti releases tomorrow (a film I’m looking forward too) AR Rahman comes back with another winner in its title track. The song has a terrific beat and the lyrics remind you of every aspect that make up for this beautiful nation called India.

Wishing you all a Happy Republic Day and leaving you with my favourite part of AR Rahman’s new number.

Thodisi dhuul meri dharti ki mere watan ki,
Thodisi dhuul meri dharti ki mere watan ki,
Thodisi Khushbuu baurai se mast pavan ki,
Thodisi dhondhane waali dhak-dhak dhak-dhak dhak-dhak saansein,
Jin mein ho junoon junoon voh boonde laal lahuu ki,
Yeh sab tuu mila mila le phir rang tuu khila khila le,
Yeh sab tuu mila mila le phir rang tuu khila khila le,
Aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara,
Mohe tuu rang de basanti,Mohe mohe tuu rang de basanti

Sapne rang de,Apne rang de,
Khushiyaan rang de, Gam bhi rang de,
Naslen rang de, Faslein rang de,
Rang de dhadkan, rang de sargam,
Aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara,
Mohe tuu rang de basanti,

Basti rang de, hasti rang de,
Hans hans rang de, Nas nas rang de,
Bachpan rang de, Joban rang de,
Ab der na kar sach much rang de,
Rang rez mere sab kuchh rang de

P.S.: I could have missed out on a few ones and would be really happy if you all could add to the list.