Map of Bengal

Baṅgamātā (Bengali: বঙ্গমাতা), Bangla Maa (Bengali: বাংলা মা), Mother Bengal or simply বাংলা/ Bangla, is a personification of Bengal[1][2][3][4][5] created during the Bengali Renaissance and later adopted by the Bengali nationalists.[6][7][8][9] In Bangladeshi Bengali and Indian Bengali poetry, literature, cultural and patriotic song, she has become a symbol of Bangladesh and India's West Bengal & Tripura and considered as a personification of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. 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, a writer, poet and journalist from Bengal, composed an ode to Mother Bengal called Vande Mataram around 1876 as an alternative to the British royal anthem.[10]

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.


Partition of Bengal

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.[11] 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.[12][11]

Bangladesh Liberation War

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.[13] 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.[13]

In art and literature

In his patriotic song, known as Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy (1905), the poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote the following depiction of Bangladesh:[18][19][20]

When did you come out of the heart of Bangladesh,
O, Mother dear, with such inexplicable splendor!
It's impossible to take away eyes from you!
The doors of your golden temple have unlocked.
Your right hand holds the blazing sword, the left one takes away fear,
Smile of affection on the eyes, the third eye glaring.
O Mother dear, how uniquely you reveal yourself!
The cloud of your untied hair conceals thunders
Ends of your sunlight coloured robes flutter in the horizon!
It's impossible to take away eyes from you!
The doors of your golden temple have unlocked.
When impassionately did not look up seemed
Poor mother stayed back home, desolate, destitute.
Your torn clothes vanish now, meager smile disappear.
Beams of light scatter from your feet into entire sky
O Mother, your appearance astounds me.
You flood the world with the flow of happiness on the distressed nights
O the mindblower, your word of fearlessness drum the heart
It's impossible to take away eyes from you!
The doors of your golden temple have unlocked.

This is most probably only picturesque details of Mother Bengal.

See also


  1. ^ "Bharat Mata, more benign". The Indian Express. 15 June 2016.
  2. ^ Singh, Amritjit; Iyer, Nalini; Gairola, Rahul K. (2016). Revisiting India's Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics. Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498531054.
  3. ^ "Patriotic fervour". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 April 2004.
  4. ^ Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha (1998). Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (1st ed.). Psychology Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-415-16952-3.
  5. ^ Gupta, Swarupa (2009). Notions of Nationhood in Bengal: Perspectives on Samaj, c. 1867-1905. BRILL. ISBN 9789047429586.
  6. ^ Dasgupta, Tapati (1993). Social Thought of Rabindranath Tagore: A Historical Analysis. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 9788170173021.
  7. ^ Paranjape, Makarand (2014). Science, Spirituality and the Modernization of India. Anthem Press. ISBN 9781843317760.
  8. ^ "Symbols of Water and Woman on Selected Examples of Modern Bengali Literature in the Context of Mythological Tradition". Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Thinking Allowed: Feeling seditious or patriotic?". Deccan Chronicle (Opinion). 21 March 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  10. ^ Sri Aurobindo commented on his English translation of the poem, saying, "It is difficult to translate the National Anthem of Bengal Bangladesh (East Bengal) and India's West Bengal] into verse in another language owing to its unique union of sweetness, simple directness and high poetic force." Quoted in Bhabatosh Chatterjee (ed.), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Essays in Perspective, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, 1994, p. 601.
  11. ^ a b "Partition of Bengal". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  12. ^ John R. McLane, "The Decision to Partition Bengal in 1905," Indian Economic and Social History Review, July 1965, 2#3, pp 221–237
  13. ^ a b Ahsan, Syed Badrul (1 December 2012). "1971 and the songs we sang". The Daily Star. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Ami Takdum Takdum Bajai (Full Song & Lyrics) - S. D. Burman - Download or Listen Free - JioSaavn".
  15. ^ "The Voice of the Bhati Regions of Bangladesh". The Daily Star.
  16. ^ "Jagoroner Gaan - O Amar Bangla Ma Tor Songtext".
  17. ^ "Alauddin Ali: The King of Melody". The Daily Star.
  18. ^ "Lyric aaji bangladesher hridoy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Song aji bangladesher hridoy | English translation".
  20. ^ "What's in a word?". The Daily Star (Opinion).