Bharat Matta Analysis

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At a time when India is being projected as eternal, when the chanting of Bharat Mata ki jai has become a testimony to patriotism and refusal to do so invites the wrath of Hindutva outfits and political parties, it is pertinent to look at the history of the country known as Bharat whose antiquity cannot be pushed too far back in time.
From various accounts, the origins of “Bharat Mata” can be traced back to a play by Bengali nationalist Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay that was first performed in 1873. The play set in 1770 Bengal famine depicted a woman and her husband who went to forest and encountered rebels. The priest takes them to temple where they were shown Bharat Mata. Thus they are inspired and led rebellion which results in defeat of the British. Another recorded account of the Manushi magazine story traces origin to a satirical work Unabimsa Purana or The Nineteenth Purana by Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay which was first published anonymously in 1866. Similarly Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1882 wrote a novel Anandamath. introduced the hymn "Vande Mātaram",
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Indian nationalists viewed this as a way for the British to increase the power of the “Muslim peasantry of eastern Bengal” at the expense of Bengali Hindus. In response, Indian nationalists participating in the swadeshi movement resisted the British by boycotting British goods and public institutions, instantiating meetings and processions, forming committees, and applying diplomatic pressure. The notion of Bharat, or India, grew in significance alongside the swadeshi movement as the space in which a new social and economic order was to be developed, free from negative British influence. Thus, the socio-political context of Bengal in the early twentieth century influenced the themes explored by Tagore in Bharat

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