Thursday, November 30, 2006
Was Vande Matram Written By Bankim At All, Another Controversy
Was Vande Matram Written By Bankim at All, Anothre ControversyPalash Biswas(Pl Publish and send a copy. PalashcBiswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gostokanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, Phone: 91-33-25659551)
The people all over in this subcontinent is well aware about the controversy involving Vandemataram, Ananda Matha, the novel and the Sahitya Samrat Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya. A writer like Sukomal sen traces the history of Hindu Nationality in Vandemataram and Bankim Chandra. Latest controversy began with the declaration of centenary celebration of Vandemataram. But a new controversy is created by the most circulated Bengali daily from Kolkata, Ananda Bazar patrika which published an edit article by a prominent critic and Bankim specialist, Amitra Sudan Bandopadhyaya with the title Vandemataram ki Bankim Chandreri Lekha on 7 th November, 2006. Amitra Babu has based his logic on this fact that the sanskrit six lines are published in the novel under qutation marks which makes it doubtful whether Bankim wrote the controversial song at all.The article was not unnoticed and the pandora`s box was open. Eminent economist Dr Ashok Sen joined the issue. While Ashok Babu noticed the difference of language in the song as its first six lines are written in sanskrita and remaing part in Bengali. He raises the question whethere anyone else might have written those original lines. Secondly, he emphasises to go in depth in the circumstances in which Congress leaders and Rabindra Nath Tagore made it a national song. Dr sen wonders why saptakoti santan and dwisapta koti bahu phrases in the poem were changed as trinshkoti Santan and dwisapta koti bahu to make the worshipped devi as Bharatmata.Amitra Sudan raises the difference in language point but he he emphasises on this point that being published in Anandmath in 1882, how the song became so popular within two years for its consideration as a national song in 1885 while hardly only two thousand copies of the novel were published in different editions in between.
Musically speaking it seems that Indians will never forget this lyric even after another 125 years. This is clearly seen with the new compositions and renderings. From R N Tagore to A R Rahman and beyond, numerous tunes have been composed and no other song in Independent India has received so much attention. This is probably because we Indians do not consider this as the national song or Anthem. We treat it as the song of our culture, a ?Prateek? or living symbol. In Hindu culture, the mother is considered a God, and worshipping the mother through songs is an age-old tradition. Vande Mataram is one such song, which describes the motherland. The secretary of Nahati sahitya Parishad, Abhaya Charan De also wrote a letter along with dr sen which were published in Ananda Bazar on 22nd November,2006. De edfended thet only Bankim has written the song quoting differnt sources. He wrote as Bankim used poetry in his novels in qutation marks though always written by him,this question is irrelevent.
On 23 rd November ,some other letters were also published in the paper. One of the writer claimed that originally the first six lines were composed by Bhudev Bandopadhyay of chinsura in pure sanskrita and bankim got a copy of the script from his house .Later Bankim modified the poem with his original Bengali lines and publeshed it.
It was doubted from the beginning that the song was origianlly written by some Sannyasee Vidrohee in sanskrita as the Novel Anandmath deals with the historical plot of Sadhus and Fakir`s revolt in Bengal in 1765 around and the Bengal feminine of 1770 around. It should be noted that that the hindu sadhus and fakirs were fighting against East India company together. Majnu Sah, a muslim fakir was the most prominent leader of the revolt who csurvived the crush and led peasants`s revolts in Bihar and Bengal following. While Bankim deals with mainly the Hindu leaders like Bhavanand, Bhavanee Thakur and Devi Chaudhurani. Bankimalso wrote in favour of Bengali muslims in his mag Banga Darshan, in which Anandamath was published as a serial. The peasants of Bengal have been mostly dalits and muslims. Again he wrote an article as a review on a work by Meer Musharraf Hussain and emphasised on the languge based nationality movement of Hindus and Muslims. As we know it happend with Bhasha andolan and later with the creation of independent Bangladesh.
Here , the mendatory question arises who transformed Bankim, the spokesman of Bangla nationality into the origin of Hindu nationality in India? As it is alleged that the controversy involving the national song of congress party alienated the muslims from the struggle for freedom and later it inspired the two nation theory and partition of India. If Bankim has not written at all the poem , what remains?
Anandbazar published a letter written by Dr dinesh chandra singha, a former deputy registrar of Calcutta University on 23 rd November. Dr Singha wrote that the Tagores were involved in Hindu mela. as the original song Vandemataram was written much before Anandamath and sung by Tagore ladies in the Hindu Mela, its popularity should not be doudeted.
As a simple student of literature of the subcontinent I see the Indian nationality hypothesis first in Bharat Tirth poem written by Rabindra Nath Tagore and included in Geetanjali. It is also noteworthy that in the Calcutta convention of Congress the leaders first declined to allow the song Vande Mataram to be sung as some parts of the poem deals with idol worshipping and objectionable to other communities. Then as song was sung which was written by a prominent poet of the time Hem Chandra Bandopadhyaya. The Sanskrit first six lines were included in this song.
For me, I am not an expert on literature at all. But I have been always a committed reader and I read all prominent Bankim works including Anandmath in my childhood. I had chances to meet some freedom fighters , too. I noted that the indian nationlity is identified with the slogan only, not with the entire song as sangh Parivar emphasises on. It is why the muslim revolutionaries also sacrificed their lives saying vande Mataram.
It is my personal experience that a prominent leader no less than the three times Chief minister of united UP, the present chief minister of Uttarakhand and the former finance minister of India , Narayan Dutta Tiwari begins and ends his speech with Vande Mataram always. It shows the congress culture which is essentially a caste hindu party from the beginning. I have no doubt that Congress used Bankim and his Vandemataram to creat a hindu nationality. Contrarily, Rabindra Nath was much more interested in Indian nationality. He defined and detailed the merger of different nationalitities in single Indian nationality in his poem Bharat Tirth which he begins with a first striking line with phrases like manav mahasagar. He desribed how many currents merged with the oceon and evry nationality, indigineous or foriegn Arya , Anarya, Dravid, Mongol, Pathan, Shaka ,Hun, Kushan all merged in a single body. Tagore is the man who converted the Bangamata into Bharat mata. Yes, Bankim meant Bangamata as there was no concept of Bharat mata and he meant greater Bengal consisting of Bristish Bengal Presidency while he wrote.
Tagore was a philospher with western knowledge with indian spritualinputs. He noted the rise of different nationalities in the west. Thus, he created his bharat tirtha and trasnformed sapta koti into trinshkoti, Dwisaptakoti into dwitrishkoti in vandemataram and played a key role to make Vande Matram a ntional song. Pdt jawahar lal Nehru and Rabindranath agrred that muslims were against idol worshipping part of the poem. Thus, they edited the poem with surgical precision to make it national song. what happened later, is a complete history, as castehindu party Congress used the song to raise Hindu Nationality which has been captuered by sangha Parivar with Ramjanma bhoomi movement and destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
It should be remembered that Pandit Nehru of course gave the final verdict. In a meeting of the Constitution Committee held on 24th January 1950, President Dr Rajendra Prasad announced that Jana Gana Mana would be the National Anthem of independent India and Vande Mataram would be the National song with same status as the Anthem. With this decision, all efforts at providing new tunes ended and the recordings made up to that time have now become important documents and part of our cultural heritage. It is clear wshat ND tiwari does with the Bengali audiances in Uttarakhand to strenghten vote abnk, congerss and Sangh leaders have been doing in India, and on the other hand the muslim leaders encashed the circumstances of the windfall and whirlwind following. even the globalisation has made vandemataram a commercial package. Due to the massive success of this album, the same group launched another album Vande Mataram - 2 in 1999, with a music score by Ranjit Barot, son of yesteryear's famous dancer Sitaradevi. This album includes a reissued version of Lata Mangeshkar?s Vande Mataram from the 1952 film Anandmath. The lyricist Mehboob wrote another lyric for Lata Mangeshkar (for the leading line, "Sujjalam, Suffalam, Malayyaj Sheetalam, Sasyya Shyyamalam Maataram") words easily borrowed - or marrowed? - from the sacred song of national pride. The remainder of the lyric, as before, is different and Lataji has sung wonderfully to the same old Anandmath tune for "Maa Tujhe Salam, Maa Tujhe Pranam." The lyricist appears to have conjoined the words "Salam" and "Pranam," though there is a world of difference between the two. In the same album Shubha Mudgal has sung the familiar Vande Mataram in a pop idiom, whereas Kausiki Chakravarty sings it like a lullaby.
In what way a creative writer should be held responsible? Bankimchandra was among the first batch of graduates from Calcutta University. Soon after he had securred his BA, he was appointed as Deputy Magistrate, and eventually became a Deputy Collector. In his work, he had ready access to old papers and gazettes, and came across the documents related to the mutiny of Sanyasis (saints) in Dhaka, North Bengal, Nepal, Tarai, Dinajpur, Rangpur, and Purniya during the period from 1763 to 1780. He decided to write a novel, Anandmath, based on the heroic deeds of these sanyasis. In his youth, he had witnessed the unsuccessful mutiny of 1857. Around 1870, the British rulers were trying hard to force their anthem, God Save the Queen, on Indians. This made a deep impact on Bankimchandra?s sensitive mind, and he wrote Bande Mataram in one sitting, in a mood that must be called transcendental. He wrote the song as a prayer in which the nation 'Bharat' was described as 'The Mother'. The song was later included in his novel Anandmath, which was published serially in his magazine Bangdarshan during 1880-1882. The song was heavily criticized by his friends, and also by his daughter, for the words were difficult to pronounce, and the song comprised of a mixture of Bengali and Sanskrit words. He argued that he wrote it spontaneously to express his emotions and thoughts without caring for its future. However, like a prophet, he said, "I may not live to see its popularity, but this song will be sung by every Indian like a Ved Mantra." And that is exactly what happened after the partition of Bengal in 1905.
The Vandematarm policy becam exposed once again whent the Union Human Resource Minister Arjun singh requested that all the concerning authorities of the States should be directed to celebrate Vandemataram centenary on September 7, triggering a controversy. Even Congress-ruled states made the singing optional after protests by Muslim groups. Bjp ruled states, however celebrated the false centinary with much more pomp and pride. Sangh Parivar mad an issue of it and further launched a misinformation campaaign making doubtful the muslim integrity and its patriotism. Strange enoough so called U.P. Government led by prominent seculr politician Mulaym singh Yadav, on its behalf, directed the Secretaries of the Departments of Primary, Secondary, Higher, Information and Technical Education to take necessary action in this regard.On the other hand, In a virtual snub to Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, the Congress said on Sunday, 10 th september that it was wrong to say that September 7 was the date when Vande Mataram was accepted as the national song 100 years ago. With the Bharatiya Janata Party attacking Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for not participating in an event to mark the 'centenary' of the song last week, the party said the date chosen for the celebrations was historically incorrect and it did not 'want to make it a historic date'. Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters that Shashi Bhushan, a former party MP who came up with the idea of commemorating the song's centenary on September 7, had admitted to media that he had made a mistake.
Arjun Singh, while citing the brief history of Vande Mataram, said that Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote the song in 1876 and Sri Rabindranath Tagore recited it for the first time during the Congress session at Bombay in 1896. It was during the movement against the Partition of Bengal (Bang Bhang Andolan) in the year 1905 that 'Vande Mataram' became the battle song in the fight against imperialism. It was adopted as a National Song at the Varanasi session of AICC on September 7, 1905.
We all know that Bankimchandra Chatterjee (1838-94) wrote his famous song Bande Mataram at his residence in Kantalpada, in Naihati village, which is just a few miles away from Calcutta. The song is now 125 years old. It is probably the only Indian song that is still widely popular all over India, and musicians still want to sing it again and again, and keep composing new tunes for it. During this year of celebrations, a book in Marathi, Vande Mataram: Ek Shodh by Mr Milind Sabnis, was published in Pune. This is a carefully researched monograph, which should be translated into Hindi and English soon. This year, an edited Hindi version of Bankimchandra?s novel, Anandmath was published in Mumbai. A few audio/video albums featuring Bande Mataram have been released in the last five years. "The Society of Indian Record Collectors," a Mumbai-based organization, has traced about one hundred different versions of Vande Mataram recorded over the last hundred years. These versions vary from the voices of Rabindranath Tagore to that of A R Rahman. Based on available recordings, an attempt has been made to note the musical aspects of this evergreen song.
The song Vande Mataram is now 125 years old, and has now entered the 21st century. In 1975, while celebrating its centenary, a conference was organized at Banaras in which books, monographs and proceedings devoted to the song were published. In 2000, the Vande Mataram Shatkottar Rajat Jayanti Samiti of Pune published a Marathi book on the song. The Society of Indian Record Collectors found over 100 recorded versions of the song and presented over 20 illustrated listening sessions to audience of various age groups in Maharashtra.
As usual, no political party (including the Indian National Congress) took any note of these activities. Hard-liners with slogans like "Garva Se Kaho...." and/or "Is Desh Men Rahana Hoga To Vande Mataram Kahana Hoga" did not seem to know about this event. Even Bengalis have failed to notice these activities, probably because of the last fifity years of communist rule in Bengal. The Rashtriya Aghadi Government announced the formation of a committee that would attend to issues concerning the song and its future but nothing has come of it since.
Composed by Bankim Chandra, the song Vandemataram appears in the Bengali novel Anand Math. The English translation of Vande Mataram rendered by Shree Aurobindo, is considered to be the "official" and best. According to Bhavan's book, Vande Mataram by Moni Bagchee (pg. 66), "Bankin Chandra composed the song in an inspired moment, Rabindranath sang it by setting a tune to it and it was left to the genius of Aurobindo to interpret the deeper meaning of the song out of which India received the philosophy of new Nationalism."
Here is the entire song. Only first two stanza of this song are considered to be national song. (Did you know that even Jana Gana Mana...is much longer, and that only first two stanzas are recognized as National Anthem) In fact, I find some of the later stanza much more powerful and inspirational. Please note, only translation is by Shree Aurobindo.Entire Text of Vande Mataram Mother, I bow to thee! Rich with thy hurrying streams, bright with orchard gleams, Cool with thy winds of delight, Dark 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.
Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands And seventy million voices roar Thy dreadful name from shore to shore? With many strengths who art mighty and stored, To thee I call Mother and Lord! Though who savest, arise and save! To her I cry who ever her foeman drove Back from plain and Sea And shook herself free.
Thou art wisdom, thou art law, Thou art heart, our soul, our breath Though art love divine, the awe In our hearts that conquers death. Thine the strength that nervs the arm, Thine the beauty, thine the charm. Every image made divine In our temples is but thine.
Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen, With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen, Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned, And the Muse a hundred-toned, Pure and perfect without peer, Mother lend thine ear, Rich with thy hurrying streams, Bright with thy orchard gleems, Dark of hue O candid-fair
In thy soul, with jewelled hair And thy glorious smile divine, Lovilest of all earthly lands, Showering wealth from well-stored hands! Mother, mother mine! Mother sweet, I bow to thee, Mother great and free!
The inspiration:Historians like Jadunath Sarkar, R.C. Majumdar and literary critics have generally held that Ananda Math was a product of Bankimchandra?s imagination. The seeds of Bankimchandra?s anti-British sentiments were sown in Berhampore, the district headquarters of Murshidabad district where he was posted as a Deputy Magistrate [he was the first Bengali to be offered a job in the civil service after he graduated with grace marks in Bengali, his examiner having been none other than Iswarchandra Vidyasagar who did not give him pass marks!]. It was the 15th of December 1873 when Bankimchandra was, as usual, crossing the Barrack Square field opposite the Collectorate in his palanquin while some Englishmen were playing cricket. Suddenly one Lt. Colonel Duffin stopped the palanquin with some abusive remarks and insisted that it should be taken out of the field. When Bankim refused to abandon his customary route, Duffin apparently forced him to alight from the palanquin and pushed him violently (as reported in the Amrita Bazar Patrika of 8.1.1974). Witnesses to the incident included the Raja of Lalgola Jogindranarain Roy, Durgashankar Bhattacharji of Berhampur, Judge Bacebridge, Reverend Barlow, Principal Robert Hand and some others. Furious at the insult, Bankimchandra filed a criminal case against the Colonel, with the Lalgola Raja, Durgashankar Bhattacharji and Hand cited as witnesses. Duffin had to get a lawyer from Krishnagar in Nadia district, as no one in Berhampore was willing to appear for him, while all the local lawyers had signed vakalatnamas for Bankimchandra.
On 12th January 1874 the Magistrate, Mr. Winter, summoned Duffin and had just begun to question him when Judge Bacebridge entered and requested a few words in his chamber. After a little while they called in Bankimchandra and Duffin. Apparently they told Bankimchandra that Duffin had not recognized that Bankim was a Deputy Magistrate and regretted the incident. They requested Bankimchandra to withdraw the case. This he was not prepared to do and after much persuasion agreed, provided Duffin offered a formal apology in open court. Reluctantly, Duffin agreed. Winter took his chair in the court thereafter and in his presence, before a packed court, Lt. Col. Duffin offered an unconditional apology to Bankimchandra. The Amrita Bazar Patrika of 15.1.1874 reports: ?It appears that the colonel and the Babu were perfect strangers to each other and he did not know who he was when he affronted him. On being informed afterwards of the position of the Babu, Col. Duffin expressed deep contrition and a desire to apologise. The apology was made in due form in open court where about a thousand spectators, native and Europeans, were assembled.?
Almost immediately thereafter we find Bankimchandra taking three months leave. After this incident there must have been considerable resentment in the Berhampore Cantonment among the British militia and, apprehending bodily harm, Rao Jogindranarain Roy took Bankimchandra away to stay with him in Lalgola.
In Lalgola the Guru of the raja?s family was Pandit Kali Brahma Bhattacharya who practised tantrik sadhana. Kishanchand Bhakat has obtained an excerpt of seven slokas from a book in the family of Kali Brahma Bhattacharya whose rhythm, sense and even some words bear an uncanny resemblance to Bankim?s song. It is most probable that Bankimchandra took the first few lines of his immortal ?Bande Mataram? (up to ripudalabarining) from here because in the first edition of the novel in Banga Darshan (Chaitra 1287, pp. 555-556), these lines are given within quotation marks and the spelling is most ungrammatically retained as ?matarang?. Bankim faced considerable criticism on this account from Haraprasad Shastri, Rajkrishna Muhopadhyay, and others. In the later editions he removed the quotation marks and changed the spelling to the proper Sanskrit ?mataram?, wiping out all trace of the borrowing.
There is an image of Kali in the Lalgola palace temple that is unique. Its four hands are bereft of any weapon. The two lower hands are folded in front (karabadhha), the palm of one covered by that of the other, just as a prisoner?s hands are shackled. From behind, the image is shackled to the wall with numerous iron chains. Kali is black, of terrifying mien, naked, a serpent between her feet, and Shiva a supine corpse before her. This represented to Bankim what Bhaarat, the Mother, had become:
?The Brahmacharin said, ?Look on the Mother as she now is.?Mohendra said in fear, ?It is Kali.?
?Yes, Kali enveloped in darkness, full of blackness and gloom. She is stripped of all, therefore naked. Today the whole country is a burial ground, therefore is the Mother garlanded with skulls. Her own God she tramples under her feet. Alas my Mother!?? (Sri Aurobindo?s translation, 1909).
It is extremely significant that on either side of this unusual Kali we find Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Kartik and Ganesh, who are never represented with this goddess. It is in this Kali that Bankim envisioned Mother as she will be and that is why he wrote, ?tvam hi durga dashapraharana dharini, Thou, indeed, art Durga, ten-armed, weapon-wielding?. It is this temple that is the source of Bankimchandra?s ?Monastery of Bliss?.
To reach this temple a tunnel existed, whose vestiges are still visible, from another temple that is now in ruins and covered up with jungle. This ruined edifice was the Jagaddhatri temple that Bankim would have seen and described in his novel thus:
?Jagaddhatri, Protrectress of the world, wonderful, perfect, rich with every ornament?the Mother as she was?She trampled under foot the elephant of the forest and all wild beasts, and in the haunt of the wild beasts she erected her lotus throne. She was covered with every ornament, full of laughter and beauty. She was in hue like the young sun, splendid with all opulence and empire?The Brahmacharin then showed him a dark underground passage?In a dark room in the bowels of the earth an insufficient light entered from some unperceived outlet. By that faint light he saw an image of Kali.? (ibid.)
A little to the east is another temple in which the image of goddess Durga was worshipped by Kali Brahma Bhattacharya??Mother as she will be?:
?The ascetic?began to ascend another underground passage?In a wide temple built in stone of marble they saw a beautifully fashioned image of the ten-armed Goddess made in gold, laughing and radiant in the light of the early sun?Her ten arms are extended towards the ten regions and they bear many a force imaged in her manifold weapons; her enemies are trampled under her feet and the lion on which her foot rests is busy destroying the foe?on her right Lakshmi as Prosperity, on her left Speech, giver of learning and science, Kartikeya with her as Strength, Ganesh as Success.?
In the tenth chapter of Ananda Math there is an elaborate description of an extremely opulent building housing a dazzling image of four-armed Vishnu with two huge demons, beheaded, lying in front, Lakshmi garlanded with lotuses on the left with flowing hair, as though terrified, and on the right Sarasvati with book and musical instrument, surrounded with incarnate raga-raginis and on his lap one lovelier than either goddess, more opulent and more majestic: the Mother. The dynastic deity of the Lalgola Raja family was Vishnu and the image was worshipped inside the huge palace. Underground chambers can still be seen here and it is possible that the Kali icon was originally housed in one of these, reached through the tunnels.
A little further on is the ruin of an ancient Buddhist Vihara where the Buddhist goddess Kalkali was worshipped. The stream that flows by is named after her, and is mentioned in the novel. In chapter 5 of the novel he describes this ?great monastery engirt with ruined masses of stones. Archaeologists would tell us that this was formerly a monastic retreat of the Buddhists and afterwards became a Hindu monastery.? This is where Kalyani first sees the noble, white-bodied, white-haired, white-bearded, white-robed ascetic. Is Kali Brahma Bhattacharya the inspiration for this figure?
To the north of the palace, through what was then a dense forest, one reaches the confluence of Kalkali, Padma and Bhairav rivers known as ?Sati-maar thaan (sthaan, place)?. Here, under a massive banyan tree, groups of Bir and Shri sects of violent Tantriks used to meet. Kali Brahma used to tutor them in opposing British rule to free the shackled Mother. One tunnel from the Kali temple goes straight to the Kalkali river, whose banks were dotted with a number of small temples in which these tantriks used to take shelter. It is said that in this Kali temple Bankim witnessed a very old tantrik offering a red hibiscus to the goddess, shouting ?Jaya ma danujdalani, bande bandini matarang?. Is it mere coincidence that if ?bandini? is dropped from this tantrik?s exclamation we get exactly Bankim?s ?bande matarang??
Bhakat hazards a guess that this may have occurred on the full moon night of Maagh, 1280 B.S. (Jan-Feb 1874) when the death anniversary of Rao Ramshankar Roy used to be observed in the Lalgola family. This occasion occurred very soon after the court case in Berhampur and Bankimchandra?s taking leave. On this anniversary, sadhus from Benares used to arrive at this Kali temple. Repeatedly Bankim refers to ?Maghi purnima? in the novel.
The inspiration Bankim received from all this is reflected first in his essay ?Aamaar Durgotsab? (1874).
In the same area we find the Raghunath temple with icons of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Radha and Krishna, with 51 Shiva lingas and 34 Saalgraams. It is said that these were kept here from the time of the Sanyasi Revolt of 1772-73. Bhakat points out that near the Lalgola zamindari was the estate of Rani Bhawani of Natore who used to distribute food freely to the ascetics and was therefore renowned as goddess Annapurna herself. Her patronage extended right up to Benares. In 1772-3 Warren Hastings, the Governor General, forfeited a large portion of the Rani?s estate. This lead to stoppage of the supplies to the Sanyasis. The famine that followed in Bengal fanned the flames and the Sanyasis attacked the British. Led by the tantrik Mahant Ramdas of Dinajpur?s Kanchan Mashida monastery, they deposited the icons of their deities with Rao Atmaram Roy, the Lalgola zamindar, and left on their mission.
Bhakat has identified Bankimchandra?s ?Padachinnha? village with Dewan Sarai village which tallies with all the data in the novel: north to south beside Padachinnha the earthern embankment built by the Nawab runs through ?to Murshidabad, Cossimbazar or Calcutta? where Kalyani urges Mohendra to go and also mentions ?town? which could be a reference to ?nagar/Rajnagar? in Birbhum which can also be reached by this embankment. (chapter 1 of Ananda Math). On either side of the embankment there used to be dense forest, and at the confluence, at Basumati (located in Nashipur, now washed into the river was a burning ghat frequented by Bhojpuri Tantriks. All the temples mentioned in the novel are also here, as also the tunnels, the Vishnu temple, Kalkali river. Bhojpuri speaking looters and sepoys feature in the novel who tally with the fact of such people having been brought into Lalgola by the zamindar to act as sepoys and servants. Bhakat himself is a scion of such a family of staff-wielding guards and servants. They used to live in the ?Deshwali? area in the jungle adjacent the palace on the banks of the Kalkali and Padma with surnames like Mishra, Pande, Rai and used to receive initiation in tantric worship from Kali Brahma. The guru was addressed as ?maharaj?.
Bhakat proposes that Satyananda of the novel is none other than Kali Brahma Bhattacharya; that Dhirananda is based on the court-poet and priest of Lalgola, Trailokyanath Smritibhushan; that Bhabananda is based on the character of Raja Jogindranarain Roy (himself a tantric sadhak), who stood by Bankim and helped him get away from the wrath of the British militia; that Jibananda reflects much of Bankim himself. Bankim would have lived in the first floor room that still exists in the Kali temple courtyard. In the ground floor room lived Dr. Parry who had spent nearly Rs.10,000 in 1873 to make a medical library for the Lalgola palace. He is said to have worshipped Kali and could be the original for the physician in the novel who is loyal to the British.
On the basis of these findings, it can now be asserted that Ananda Math was not just a figment of the novelist?s imagination, but was rooted in a personal insult suffered by Bankimchandra and in the experiences he had in Lalgola as a guest of Rao Jogindranarain Roy.
But a fascinating puzzle remains. Before the images of the Mother are shown, there is reference to worshipping the country itself as Mother, quoting the Sanskrit half-sloka, janani janmabhumisca svargadapi gariyasi. Where did Bankim get this from? Considerable research by me has failed to pinpoint where it occurs. Several Tamil and Malayali Sanskritists recite it with aplomb and attribute it to Rama who is supposed to have responded in these words to Lakshmana when requested to stay on in Lanka, the city-of-gold, instead of returning to Ayodhya. Robert Goldman, the translator of the critical text of the epic, informs that it occurs in some version in the Yuddhakanda as follows:
api svarnamayi lanka na me laksmana rocate /janani janmabhumis casvargadapi gariyasi //
Unfortunately, neither the Valmiki Ramayana, nor the Adhyatma and Ananda Ramayanas, nor the version in the Mahabharata feature the sloka. So it remains a puzzle like the panchakanya sloka.
Beginning of the century - The song remained in the novel Anandmath until it was sung by Rabindranath Tagore at Beadon Square in the 1896 convention of the Indian National Congress. It soon became part of a tradition after that, and even today Congress conventions, and sessions of the Loksabha and the Vidhansabha begin with the recitation of the first stanza of Bande Mataram. In 1905, large crowd gathered at a town hall in Calcutta to protest against the partition of Bengal, and someone from the crowd shouted Bande Mataram. It became a very popular slogan