HomePoliticsThe Varied Adaptation of the Bharat Mata Slogan

The Varied Adaptation of the Bharat Mata Slogan

Patriotism is a complex business. And it is one of the most stereotyped ones as well. Yes bravehearts exist, they sacrifice their lives for the motherland and are further immortalized in getting medals of different names and shapes, having their names inscribed on school buildings and streets, movies too in exceptional cases, but how many times do you see their names being mentioned in the patriotic politics brand?

Abindranath Tagore was the painter that gave an eternally enduring image to the much quoted slogan, Bharat Mata ki Jai. Levitating in the air and dressed in a heavenly saffron outfit, the image took up various versions over the years, including one where she is astride a majestic, roaring tiger and then getting featured on calenders, which did much to spread the word to the common people, since calendar art was a major trend in the early twentieth century, owing to the populist and visionary efforts of Raja Ravi Varma, the erstwhile noble painter of the Travancore royal family that opened the first Indian printing press at Ghatkopar in 1894 and never looked back since then.

Calendar art example

A little more than 100 years later and some days back, this term was again used with full fervor in the parliament, although the reasons and motivations are much different this time. Rahul Gandhi used it twice, one to describe his 3800 kilometer walk from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the entire travails and vagaries of such a long, tortuous journey and how the love for Bharat Mata helped him breeze through and the second time he said she was murdered in Manipur, which attracted controversy and the also the dismissal of the rumors that the word had been expunged from the Parliament by Pralhad Joshi, who clarified things and said sarcastically that at least the opposition now talks about the subject. Our Prime Minister in his 90 minute speech from the Red Fort on independence day repeatedly mentioned the term in the ending.

The rhetoric has now become like a scrambled egg and it is unclear as to what can be achieved by excessive jingoism.

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