"Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" (also called Ram Dhun) is a bhajan (devotional song) widely popularised by Mahatma Gandhi and set to tune by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar in Raga Mishra Gara.[1][2][3]


The precise origins of the song are not entirely clear.[4] It is believed to have been either written by Tulsidas (or based on his work Ramcharitmanas)[5] or based on a 17th-century sung-prayer by the Marathi saint-poet Ramdas.[6][7]

Anthony Parel writes in Gandhi's Philosophy and the Quest for Harmony,[8]

[T]he origin of Ramdhun is shrouded in legend. According to the legend that he preferred it was composed by the great Hindu poet Tulsidas (1532-1623). While on a pilgrimage visiting the Vishnu temple of Dakore, Northern India, Tulsidas was moved to bargain with Vishnu. Until Vishnu revealed himself as Rama he would not bow his head in prayer. His wish was promptly granted: Rama appeared in his mind with his wife Sita, and three of their devotees. Hence, explains Gandhi, "Ramdhun, meaning intoxication with God [Ram]

There have been many versions of the Ramdhun, and the version that Mahatma Gandhi used had an "ecumenical flavour" to it. Gandhi modified the original bhajan, adding that the Ishwar of the Hindus and the Allah of the Muslims were one and the same,[9] to make the song more secular-looking and to spread the message of reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims.[10] The song was extensively used to project a secular and composite vision of Indian society — it was sung during the 1930 Salt March.[11]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Lal, Vinay (2014). "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram". In Helfenstein, Josef; Newland, Joseph N. (eds.). Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence. Houston: The Menil Collection. pp. 244–45.
  2. ^ Dalton, Dennis (1993). Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action. Columbia University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-231-12237-3.
  3. ^ Sinha, Manjari (8 August 2008). "Tuned to excellence". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  4. ^ Lal, Vinay (2014). "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram". In Helfenstein, Josef; Newland, Joseph N. (eds.). Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence. Houston: The Menil Collection. pp. 244–45.
  5. ^ Devi, Vindhya Basini (1998). Loka-rāmāyaṇa: Śrīmad Gosvāmi Tulasīdāsa jī viracita Śrī Rāmacarita Mānasa para ādhārita (in Hindi). Madhyapradeśa Tulasī Akādemī.
  6. ^ Snodgrass, Cynthia (2007). The Sounds of Satyagraha : Mahatma Gandhi's Use of Sung-Prayers and Ritual (PDF) (PhD). University of Stirling. p. 159.
  7. ^ Gokhale, Namita (15 October 2009). In Search Of Sita: Revisiting Mythology. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-93-5118-420-1.
  8. ^ Parel, Anthony J. (10 August 2006). Gandhi's Philosophy and the Quest for Harmony. Cambridge University Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-521-86715-3.
  9. ^ Thapar, Romesh (1998). Seminar. Rarely do they bother to point to his innovation of adding Ishwar Allah Tero Naam to the Tulsidas Ram dhun Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram.
  10. ^ Handoo, Jawaharlal (1998). Folklore in Modern India. Central Institute of Indian Languages. ISBN 978-81-7342-053-5.
  11. ^ "Dandi: Salt March". Lal, Vinay. University of California, Los Angeles.
  12. ^ Bose, Rakhi (24 January 2023). "'Ishwar Allah Tero Naam' No More: The Fading Secularism Of Bollywood Songs". Outlook India. Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  13. ^ "Purab aur Pachhim | Indian Cinema - The University of Iowa". indiancinema.sites.uiowa.edu. There is also Francis, a French hippie pal of Orphan, who sacrifices his life to save Bharat in a club brawl and then dies requesting, "Pour l'amour de Dieu....votre chanson" (i.e., the Gandhian anthem Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram), while cradled in Bharat and Orphan's arms in an amazing intercultural pieta.
  14. ^ Indian Horizons. Indian Council for Cultural Relations. 2008. p. 55. ...band of boisterous hippies who energetically throw themselves into singing, "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram." The re-working of one of Gandhi's favourite hymn is effected through wit, humour, irony and even irreverence.
  15. ^ "Gandhinagara | Raghupathi Raghava song", YouTube, retrieved 27 August 2022
  16. ^ "Songs for the 'Great Soul'". ABC Radio National. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Gandhi My Father: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' song | Entertainment - Times of India Videos". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Gandhiji's Raghupati Raghav modified for 'Satyagraha' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Watch: 'Raghupati Raghav',a new party anthem from Hrithik Roshan's 'Krrish 3'". The Indian Express. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  20. ^ Chopra, Vinod (2010). Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Om Books International. ISBN 978-93-80069-75-3.
  21. ^ "Pete Seeger - Strangers And Cousins", Discogs, retrieved 27 August 2022
  22. ^ "Episode 10 - Rainbow Quest by Pete Seeger: Herbert Manana", YouTube, retrieved 16 March 2024
  23. ^ "GTA Liberty City Stories (Radio Del Mundo) Ananda Shankar - Raghupati", YouTube, retrieved 27 August 2022