Independence day is just around the corner, and already the feeling of pride and respect is in the air. A new year brings new hopes.
The recent years haven’t been very good for us though. The sense of belonging to the nation, and working as one people to uplift the country to bigger heights of success has been lost in labyrinths somewhere. Labyrinths of greed, perverseness and hopelessness. These songs however take me back to that era, when we still loved the country and wanted to be more and do more for the country.
These are the songs we would hear over and over again on our old cassette players. Every Independence day and Republic day, these songs would play on all nooks and addas. Those were the days, when we would save our paper flags for years. Never let even the tiniest paper flags get trashed.
Independence day for us, meant patriotic song competition in school, and endless hours of practice away from lessons. Staying back in school after school hours, and having fun as much as we practiced. Half an hour of practice was followed by an hour of playing. No one objected to us staying back in school, and parents even gave us extra pocket money so we could buy vada pavs or sandwiches when we got hungry. We could come home alone, unchaperoned in rickshaws and everyone would look out for us, from school teachers, to peons to rickshawwalas to local baniyas. Baniyas had the right to scold us, if they ever caught us doing the wrong deed. My parents went to work, but my whole neighborhood was my extended family. Agreed, everyone knew everyone, so there was no privacy, but there was also a sense of belonging, a sense of safety for us kids.
I wonder if kids today will ever enjoy “freedom” the way we did.
All we can do is hope.
Back in those days, we didn’t have the internet to help us with songs for the patriotic song competition. Finding “our” song, meant going through pools of cassettes, ours and neighbors’, to scout for the perfect song. It meant that everyone came together to look for ideas.
Here I am posting ten of my favorite Indian Patriotic Songs, for my nation which I still love, despite its shortcomings.
AYE MERE WATAN KE LOGON ZARA AANKH MEIN BHAR LO PAANI
This song has never failed to bring tears to my eyes. The lyrics, the music and Lata didi singing it from her heart, all that have that effect on you. However, I find that remembering our jawaans only on Independence Days and Republic Days is not enough.
Dedicated to all those jawaans, brave police officers, and even brave citizens who lay their lives for their country.
BHARAT HUMKO JAAN SE PYAARA HAI
This was the song which gave my group a lot of awards. It is a song close to my heart for many reasons. I am sure when friends from that singing group hear this song, the memories of that practice will wash over them too.
MAA TUJHE SALAAM
A. R. Rahman is a genius where music is concerned, and this is one patriotic song which I always listen to. The long drawn Vande Mataram is enough to evoke goosebumps.
MILE SUR MERA TUMHARA
We heard this song, when we didn’t even understand what was being said. However, the lyrics, even though we don’t understand them, are still on the tips of our tongues. I am sure most of my generation can lip sync to this song.
EK ANEK EKTA
The animation and graphics in this song are not much if you compare them to the technology available today. However, back in those days, they were amazing and this song was an important lesson for us kids.
CHHODO KAL KI BAATEIN
Hum Hindustani was a slogan we all remembered and we have sung this song on numerous occasions as kids. Why have we forgotten the motto now, one that was so firmly etched in our minds as kids.
NANHA MUNNA RAHI HOON
Shanti ki nagri hai mera ye watan, sab ko sikhaunga mai pyar ka chalan, duniya me girne na doonga kahi bam.
HAR KARAM APNA KARENGE AYE WATAN TERE LIYE
What a lovely and melodious song. In the movie it is sung in a jail, to reform hardened criminals. These days it will be enough, if it can even raise some semblance of patriotism in the common man.
HAI PREET JAHAN KI REET SADA
Manoj Kumar was known for his patriotic films and songs. Is there any actor today who dedicates as much to his country?
MERA RANG DE BASANTI CHOLA (NEW)
There can hardly be a person who hears this song and not feel a wave of pride for our freedom fighters.
Men, women and children have given lives for this country, at a time when freedom was a privilege enjoyed by a chosen few. Not to sound preachy, but as a nation, we have forgotten the price our forefathers had to pay so that the future generations can live a life free from oppression.
All that we have in the name of patriotism are these few songs. I once read in an image online, that we all talk about leaving a better planet for our kids, but what about leaving better kids for our planet.
I think the same applies to us and our country as well.
Long live India.