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Baṅgamātā (Bengali: বঙ্গমাতা), Bangla Maa (Bengali: বাংলা মা), Mother Bengal or simply বাংলা/ Bangla, is a personification of Bengal created during the Bengali Renaissance and later adopted by the Bengali nationalists. In Bangladeshi poetry, literature and patriotic song, she has become a symbol of Bangladesh, considered as a personification of the Republic. The Mother Bengal represents not only biological motherness but its attributed characteristics as well – protection, never ending love, consolation, care, the beginning and the end of life.
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, one of the greatest writer, poet and journalist of Bengal, composed an Ode to Mother Bengal called Vande Mataram around 1876 as an alternative to the British royal anthem.
In Amar Sonar Bangla, the national anthem of Bangladesh, Rabindranath Tagore used the word "Maa" (Mother) numerous times to refer to the motherland, i.e. Bengal. Despite her popularity in patriotic songs and poems, her physical representations and images are rare.
The first incarnations of Mother Bengal, or Bangamata, emerged during resistance to the partition of Bengal. The partition took place in October 1905 and separated the largely Muslim areas of Eastern Bengal from the largely Hindu areas of Western Bengal. Hindus living in Western Bengal, who dominated Bengal's businesses and rural life complained that the partition would make them a minority in a province due to the incorporation of the Bihar and Orissa Province into the Bengal Presidency. It was during this time the Mother Bengal was an immensely popular theme in Bengali patriotic songs and poems and was mentioned in several of them, such as the song ″Dhana Dhanya Pushpa Bhara″ and ″Banga Amar Janani Amar″ (Our Bengal Our Mother) by Dwijendralal Ray. These songs were meant to rekindle the unified spirit of Bengal, to raise public consciousness against the communal political divide.
Many of Bengali patriotic songs were regularly played on the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the clandestine radio station broadcast to revolutionaries and the Bengali public during the Bangladesh Liberation War. some of these patriotic songs, such as “Jonmo Amar Dhonno Holo Maa-go” and “Bangla Moder Bangla Maa Amra Tomar Koti Shontan” have significant representations of “Mother Bengal”. She was an icon of freedom and democracy against all forms of dictatorship. These patriotic songs are still immensely popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal.
In his patriotic song, known as Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy (1905), the poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote the following depiction of Bangladesh:
This is most probably only picturesque details of Mother Bengal.