“For what is a nation? What is our mother-country? It is not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind. It is a mighty Shakti, composed of the Shaktis of all the millions of units that make up the nation, just as Bhawani Mahisha Mardini sprang into being from the Shaktis of all the millions of gods assembled in one mass of force and welded into unity. The Shakti we call India, Bhawani Bharati, is the living unity of the Shaktis of three hundred million people …”

—Sri Aurobdindo (Bhawāni Mandir)

It was during invasion and domination of Mughal then British that fires of liberation were stoked through SaktiPuja. Bengal was entirely under brutal British clutches that led to famines and mass starvation deaths. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee authored Ananda Matha  that ignited sparks of Sannyasi  rebellion. Those rebels of freedom were dubbed ‘Thugs’ and ‘Dacoits’ by British occupiers of Bengal and their Kali Mandira-s are still known as ‘Dakatiya Kali’ or ‘Thagadia Kali’ by the rural populace. Sannyasi  rebellion witnessed emergence of Ma Kali  as the divine inspiration and unifying Sakti  for all rebels including Muslims. They usually undertook their operations under cover of darkness during KrsnaPaksa  after worshipping Her in their Mandira-s. Muslim rebels too, followed the tradition as a mark of amalgamation of Sannyasi  and Fakir traditions. Majnu Shah of Birbhum in Bengal was active in this approach of resolving Hindu Muslim differences. British occupiers distorted the entire narrative, dubbed them ‘Thugs’ and worshippers of Kali, an evil religion that motivated them to waylay and strangulate travellers. British even went to the extent of sending decapitated ‘Thug’ heads to Edinburgh where so-called British doctors used to conduct ‘Phrenology’ studies and conclude those ‘Thug’ skulls as “representative examples of normal Hindoo type” of the “apathetic, weak and lazy Hindoo” obsessed with “natural inclination for the work of death”. All these used to be widely reported in British newspapers. Distorian (prejudiced historian who distorts) Kim Wagner of the University Of Edinburgh ‘discovered’ that Bhagavat Purana  established Ma Kali  patronising a ‘band of thieves’ as most of the ‘Thugs’ captured, tortured and executed by those British brutes, referred to Devi Bhavani  as their deity, also KulaDevi  of Marathas and Rajputs.

East India Company had to encounter first episode of the War Of Freedom in 1857 and adoration of Devi Bhavani / Kali  exerted a significant role in triggering the uprising in addition to interconnecting multiple communities. British occupiers discovered a poetic invocation of Devi Kali  in possession of one Gond King Shamkar alongwith his son after he was blown away tied at canon’s mouth addressing her as ‘Mata Chandi / Mata Kali’ praying Her to ‘listen to entreaties of hapless poor, act immediately and slay British brutes, protect Shamkar and all Her disciples’. Whenever oppressive regime transcended confines of civility into excessive brutality, emphasis on SaktiPuja  rose to unprecedented levels in manifests of Bhavani– or KaliPuja  as well as Candi di Var  of Guru Govinda Singhji. Dacoity, in spite of being a criminal offence, came out to be regarded as a rebellion against oppressive British regime, State neglect of natural calamities, plunder and devastation of natural resources. So explicit was James Ker, PA to Director of Criminal Intelligence (1907-1913) when he remarked on DeviSakti, “Her lion or tiger is labeled `Bahiskar’ (Boycott) and is attacking the bovine monster labeled `Pardeshi Vyapar’ (Foreign Trade), on whose back the goddess has placed her foot after, apparently, cutting off its head. The demon near the severed head of the monster is labeled ‘Vilayati Mal’ (English Goods) and is being bitten in the arm by a snake called `Swabhiman’ (Pride of Self), which is held in one of the hands of the heroine, while the same demon’s head has been injured by the knife labeled `Svavalamban’ (Self-Independence). The demon being held by the hair is labeled `DesaDroha’ (Disloyalty to Country) … the hand which holds his hair is labeled `DesaSeva’ (Service of Country).” Thus She is fierce and benign manifests both simultaneously even as battle prepared essence of Bharata Ma. Abject poverty, lack of governance, heaps of miseries compelled people to resort to armed revolt against brutal regime of the day.

Concept of Bharata Ma  does have roots emanating from BhumiSukta  of Atharva Veda  (12.1) wherein Planet Earth is declared as ‘Queen of all’, deified, sanctified and venerated.

सत्यं बृहदृतमुग्रं दीक्षा तपो ब्रह्म यज्ञः पृथिवीं धारयन्ति ।
सा नो भूतस्य भव्यस्य पत्न्युरुं लोकं पृथिवी नः कृणोतु ॥१॥
Satyam Brhadrtamugram Diksa Tapo Brahma Yajnyah Prthivim Dharayanti  I
Sa No Bhutasya Bhavayasya Patnyurum Lokam Prthivi Nah Krnotu  II 1 II

Ardent pursuits of Satya  i.e. ultimate reality, Rta  i.e. infinite divinity, Diksa  i.e. initiations into AdhyatmaTapa  i.e. asceticism and Yajna  i.e. offering oblations into sacred fire, all undertaken to realise Param Brahmatma, have sustained the earth. Consorting past and future, may She expand our entire existence devoid of confines unto infinity.

असंबाधं बध्यतो मानवानां यस्या उद्वतः प्रवतः समं बहु ।
नानावीर्या ओषधीर्या बिभर्ति पृथिवी नः प्रथतां राध्यतां नः ॥२॥
Asambadham Badhyato Manavanam Yasya Udvatah Pravatah Samam Bahu  I
Nanavirya Osadhirya Bibharti Prthivi Nah Prathatam Radhyatam Nah  II 2 II

She extends uninterrupted, unrestricted freedom over Her multiple mountains, descents and prairies to humanity. She bears the boon of medicinal herbs of varying efficacies for us be benefited.

यस्यां समुद्र उत सिन्धुरापो यस्यामन्नं कृष्टयः संबभूवुः ।
यस्यामिदं जिन्वति प्राणदेजत्सा नो भूमिः पूर्वपेये दधातु ॥३॥
Yasyam Samudra Uta Sindhurapo Yasyamannam Krstayah Sambabhuvuh  I
Yasyamidam Jinvati Pranadejatsa No Bhumih Purvapeye Dadhatu  II 3 II

In Her being are intertwined all rivers and oceans, in Her being is contained food that She extends when harvested. Being abode of all lives in her being, may earth bless us with that life.

यस्याश्चतस्रः प्रदिशः पृथिव्या यस्यामन्नं कृष्टयः संबभूवुः ।
या बिभर्ति बहुधा प्राणदेजत्सा नो भूमिर्गोष्वप्यन्ने दधातु ॥४॥
Yasyascatasrah Pradisah Prthivya Yasyamannam Krstayah Sambabhuvuha  I
Ya Bibharti Bahudha Pranadejatsa No Bhumirgosvapyanne Dadhatu  II 4 II

Being abode of four Disa-s, earth is repository of grains that manifest when harvested. Being abode of various manifests of life that she sustains in her, may She bless us the ray of life existing in grains.

यस्यां पूर्वे पूर्वजना विचक्रिरे यस्यां देवा असुरानभ्यवर्तयन् ।
गवामश्वानां वयसश्च विष्ठा भगं वर्चः पृथिवी नो दधातु ॥५॥
Yasyam Purve Purvajana Vicakrire Yasyam Deva Asuranabhyavartayan  I
Gavamasvanam Vayasasca Vistha Bhagam Varcah Prthivi No Dadhatu  II 5 II

In Her being She sustained our ancestors, enabled them to enact their Karma-s of yore. In Her being She sustained virtuous Deva-s overthrow felonious Asura-s of yore.

In Her being She sustained cows, horses, birds and other manifests of life of yore that flourished. May the earth bless us prosperity, glory and splendour.

विश्वंभरा वसुधानी प्रतिष्ठा हिरण्यवक्षा जगतो निवेशनी ।
वैश्वानरं बिभ्रती भूमिरग्निमिन्द्रऋषभा द्रविणे नो दधातु ॥६॥
Visvambhara Vasudhani Pratistha Hiranyavaksa Jagato Nivesani  I
Vaisvanaram Bibhrati Bhumiragnimindrarsabha Dravine No Dadhatu  II 6 II

She is universal mother, originator of wealth, foundation to dwell upon, endowed with golden bosom, She is abode of the world. She holds in Her being Universal Agni  that invigorates Indra  and Risabha. May She bless us that glory and tenacity.

यां रक्षन्त्यस्वप्ना विश्वदानीं देवा भूमिं पृथिवीमप्रमादम् ।
सा नो मधु प्रियं दुहामथो उक्षतु वर्चसा ॥७॥
Yam Raksantyasvapna Visvadanim Deva Bhumim Prthivimapramadam  I
Sa No Madhu Priyam Duhamatho Uksatu Varcasa  II 7 II

Whom Deva-s guard so vigilantly even without going into slumber, She is all benediction for all. May She generate the gratifying ambrosia for us to impart that ethereal resplendence.

यार्णवेऽधि सलिलमग्न आसीद्यां मायाभिरन्वचरन्मनीषिणः ।
यस्या हृदयं परमे व्योमन्त्सत्येनावृतममृतं पृथिव्याः ।
सा नो भूमिस्त्विषिं बलं राष्ट्रे दधातूत्तमे ॥८॥
Yarnaveadhi Salilamagna Asidyam Mayabhiranvacaranmanisinah  I
Yasya Hrdayam Parame Vyomantsatyenavrtamamrtam Prthivyah  I
Sa No Bhumistvisim Balam Rastre Dadhatuttame  II 8 II

Seated higher than ocean or meditating immersed in it’s enormous expanse, Manisi-s pursued Her by the dint of their extra-ordinary faculties. Her bosom dwells in the highest domain of Satya  i.e. truth and Amrit  i.e. immortality. May Earth bestow Her glory, vigour and grandeur upon us and our Kingdom.

यस्यामापः परिचराः समानीरहोरात्रे अप्रमादं क्षरन्ति ।
सा नो भूमिर्भूरिधारा पयो दुहामथो उक्षतु वर्चसा ॥९॥
Yasyamapah Paricarah Samanirahoratre Apramadam Ksaranti  I
Sa No Bhumirbhuridhara Payo Duhamatho Uksatu Varcasa  II 9 II

Within Her being, entire expanse of water flows all over incessantly with diligence and tranquillity underneath. May the Earth grant us milk gushing out of multiple plenteous streams and bedew us with Her grandeur.

यामश्विनावमिमातां विष्णुर्यस्यां विचक्रमे ।
इन्द्रो यां चक्र आत्मनेऽनमित्रां शचीपतिः ।
सा नो भूमिर्वि सृजतां माता पुत्राय मे पयः ॥१०॥
Yamasvinavamimatam Visnuryasyam Vicakrame  I Indro Yam Cakra Atmaneanamitram Sacipatih  I
Sa No Bhumirvi Srjatam Mata Putraya Me Payah  II 10 II

Her Aswina-s have appropriately measured her entire being out with their medicinal and curative endowments. SaciPati Indra  rendered Her completely bereft of foes like a mother for Her progeny. May She ever spring forth her milk with forbearance and magnanimity.

गिरयस्ते पर्वता हिमवन्तोऽरण्यं ते पृथिवि स्योनमस्तु ।
बभ्रुं कृष्णां रोहिणीं विश्वरूपां ध्रुवां भूमिं पृथिवीमिन्द्रगुप्ताम् ।
अजीतेऽहतो अक्षतोऽध्यष्ठां पृथिवीमहम् ॥११॥
Girayaste Parvata Himavantoarannyam Te Prthivi Syonamastu  I
Babhrum Krsnam Rohinim Visvarupam Dhruvam Bhumim Prthivimindraguptam  I
Ajiteahato Aksatoadhyastham Prthivimaham  II 11 II

Prthvi  ! May your hills, snow-laden mountains and jungles exhilarate all. Your multi-hued manifests in reddish brown, intense blue and red albeit resolute like Dhruva, is guarded by Indra. On Her invincible, unravaged  and inexhaustible being of Prthvi, do I stand resolutely.

यत्ते मध्यं पृथिवि यच्च नभ्यं यास्त ऊर्जस्तन्वः संबभूवुः ।
तासु नो धेह्यभि नः पवस्व माता भूमिः पुत्रो अहं पृथिव्याः ।
पर्जन्यः पिता स उ नः पिपर्तु ॥१२॥
Yatte Madhyam Prthivi Yacca Nabhyam Yasta Urjastanvah Sambabhuvuh  I
Tasu No Dhehyabhi Nah Pavasva Mata Bhumih Putro Aham Prthivyah  I
Parjanyah Pita Sa U Nah Pipartu  II 12 II

Within Your being is Your navel emitting vigour and vitality manifesting all around. May we be vested in that and be consecrated O Bhumi Ma  as I am son of PrthviParjanya  is my father and may he bless us with that.

यस्यां वेदिं परिगृह्णन्ति भूम्यां यस्यां यज्ञं तन्वते विश्वकर्माणः ।
यस्यां मीयन्ते स्वरवः पृथिव्यामूर्ध्वाः शुक्रा आहुत्याः पुरस्तात् ।
सा नो भूमिर्वर्धयद्वर्धमाना ॥१३॥
Yasyam Vedim Parigrhnanti Bhumyam Yasyam Yajnyam Tanvate Visvakarmanaha  I
Yasyam Miyante Svaravah Prthivyamurdhvah Sukra Ahutyah Purastat  I
Sa No Bhumirvardhayadvardhamana  II 13 II

Her entire being is YajnaVedi, an abode all activities that are solemnised within as manifests of Yajna  as well as all proceeds accepted by Her. Entire Spandana  emanating from Yajna-s by recitation of Mantra-s rises to consecrate all around. May Bhumi  provide a dimension for us to expand our Cetana  and prosperity.

यो नो द्वेषत्पृथिवी यः पृतन्याद्योऽभिदासान्मनसा यो वधेन ।
तं नो भूमे रन्धय पूर्वकृत्वरि ॥१४॥
Yo No Dvesatprthivi Yah Prtanyadyoabhidasanmanasa Yo Vadhena  I
Tam No Bhume Randhaya Purvakrtvari  II 14 II

Bhumi  ! Vanquish all those inimical to us in various ways as You have been in past.

त्वज्जातास्त्वयि चरन्ति मर्त्यास्त्वं बिभर्षि द्विपदस्त्वं चतुष्पदः ।
तवेमे पृथिवि पञ्च मानवा येभ्यो ज्योतिरमृतं मर्त्येभ्य उद्यन्त्सूर्यो रश्मिभिरातनोति ॥१५॥
Tvajjatastvayi Caranti Martyastvam Bibharsi Dvipadastvam Catuspadah  I
Taveme Prthivi Panca Manava Yebhyo Jyotiramrtam Martyebhya UdyantsSuryo Rasmibhiratanoti  II 15 II

All bipeds and quadrupeds, born to You and moving about, dwell in the abode of mortality within Your being. Fifth is man in Prthivi  bearing effulgence of immortality just as orb of rising sun engulfs earth, abode of mortality.

ता नः प्रजाः सं दुह्रतां समग्रा वाचो मधु पृथिवी धेहि मह्यम् ॥१६॥
Ta Nah Prajah Sam Duhratam Samagra Vaco Madhu Prthivi Dhehi Mahyam  II 16 II

May we all Your dwellers derive Rtm  prevailing in You by assimilating enormously mellifluous orations and recitations.

विश्वस्वं मातरमोषधीनां ध्रुवां भूमिं पृथिवीं धर्मणा धृताम् ।
शिवां स्योनामनु चरेम विश्वहा ॥१७॥
Visvasvam Mataramosadhinam Dhruvam Bhumim Prthivim Dharmana Dhrtam  I
Sivam Syonamanu Carema Visvaha  II 17 II

Bhumi  of Prthivi, held resolutely by Dharma, allows herbs to germinate for us, medicinal and nutritional to sustain us like mother. And the earnestness pervades all around the universe like Siva.

महत्सधस्थं महती बभूविथ महान्वेग एजथुर्वेपथुष्टे ।
महांस्त्वेन्द्रो रक्षत्यप्रमादम् ।
सा नो भूमे प्र रोचय हिरण्यस्येव संदृशि मा नो द्विक्षत कश्चन ॥१८॥
Mahatsadhastham Mahati Babhuvitha Mahanvega Ejathurvepathuste  I
Mahanstvendro Raksatyapramadam  I
Sa No Bhume Pra Rocaya Hiranyasyeva Samdrshi Ma No Dviksata Kascana  II 18 II

Magnificent is our dwelling abode governed by mighty forces restraining Her terrific resonance and reverberations. Glorious is Indra  protecting Her so vigilantly. May Bhumi  consecrate us gleaming like gold devoid of malice or rancour towards anyone.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee manifested the concept and rendered it accessible in folk language through his legendary masterpiece Ananda Math  and the song Vande Mataram  therein, precisely what Goswami Tulasidas  did to Valmiki Ramayana  by creating Ram Caritra Manas  that could reach every household. Art historian Vidya Dahejia said in so explicitly, “Since the land itself is spoken of in Sanskrit as Prithvi or Devi Dharati Ma, it is perhaps not surprising that kingdoms, cities, districts, and boroughs are gendered feminine. India is Bharat Mata or Mother India.” So said Swami Vivekananda, so prophetically, “I do not see into the future; nor do I care to see. But one vision I see dear as life before me: that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on Her throne rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim Her to all the world with the voice of peace and benediction.” So observed Arkotong Longkumer, scholar of Heraka movement among north-eastern tribals, “The pan-Hindu idea of ‘Bharat Mata’ (Mother India) as a territorial deity correlated with the image of a ‘mother’ in Heraka contexts, and ‘Goddess’ in Gaidinliu’s biography, portrays an imagery as uniting and including disparate groups in India, such as the Heraka, under the wings of ‘Bharat Mata’.” For Vinayak Savarkar, She is the ‘Deity of Liberty’ and adored Her with his famous poem ‘Jayostute‘ scribbled on walls of his cell in Andamans. He addressed the Deity as ‘Sivastmate’, ‘Bhagavati‘ and related Her with Moksa  aspired by Sadhaka-s. Thus political liberation is rendered Adhyatmika  emancipation symbolised by Bharata Mata. Even first proponent of separate Tamil identity under British influence Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950) also composed a hymn on Bharata Mata  i.e. Mother India similar to Ananda Math –

“Oh Mother India who gave the world many riches,

Thou art the lamp of light to the entire world!

Thou art dear to me as very life of my life!

How can I with my little knowledge

Elaborate upon the multi-splendored greatness of Thee!

Thou with wealth that can never be lost,

Stand today impoverished by plundering aliens!

That shame shall be wiped out by thy children!

Enlightened they toil to revive thy glory in fields diverse!

May they flourish and succeed in their efforts and

May our minds cease suffering!” 

In all her depictions, she stands alone as Bharata Mata. Though Hindu minds identify her with Devi Durga  or Ma Kali, She is mostly alone with no consort. Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi prominently depicted Her with Siva  as His consort. He hummed –

Demonic Our Mother can be

Great Madness carries She

She loves dearly the Mad One

He who carries the Fire scorching

Bharat Mata  (Mother India for colonial secularists) is abundantly venerable, portrayed as carrying national flag and riding a lion. She is hated and feared by colonial secularists who grew on ‘McCaulay’s Venom’ as their protein supplement. A Dravidian politician also claimed, only Tamil was his mother !! Prof. Sumathi Ramaswamy of History and International Comparative Studies at Duke University regards “…imagery’ of Bharat Mata  as the undoing of European enlightenment (!!??) through the recuperation of old myths and the return of fancy”. She was ‘wise’ enough to rue, “modern secular and scientific mapped knowledge is hijacked to assist that unraveling”.

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar had “not heard of Bharat Mata” at all !! As a diehard Tamilian, he saw it as one more example of ‘north Indian imperialism’ over Tamilians. Anti-Hindu Marxist historian Irfan Habib declared “the idea of Bharat Mata  was an import from Europe and there was no evidence of any such imagination in either ancient or medieval India”.

Only if these deluded ones had studied legendary Sanatana  history, they would not have been so constrained to cut a pathetic figure for themselves so abjectly.