On the eve of the Independence Day, I was discussing with father about patriotic songs of each of our times. We were in disagreement as to which one is the best deshbakti song of all time so I thought I’d list down the best songs of this generation and the one before.
Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon sung live in January 1963 by Lata Mangeshkar
For the oldies, it's hands down the single most important deshbhakti song of India, could well be the most important song ever for many of them. The song was not part of a movie or something, it was famously performed live on January 27, 1963 by Lata Mangeshkar at the National Stadium in New Delhi on account of Republic Day, just two months after the end of the Indo-China war. The song was written by kavi Pradeep who was reportedly moved by so many casualties in the war.
Maa Tujhe Salaam/Vande Maatram by A R Rahman, 1997
This song from Rahman’s Vande Maatram album can arguably be hailed as an anthem of modern India. This is one complete (music-wise, lyrics-wise and the video) patriotic song. I still shout-out on top of my voice when he goes..…'Vandeeeyyyyy Maaaatram, vandeee maatramm, vande maatram' What a song, hence my Number 1!
Aye Mere Pyaare Watan sung by Manna Dey for Kabuliwala, 1961
Sandese Aate Hai by Sonu Nigam and Roop Kumar Rathore from Border, 1997
This one, composed by ‘would-you-believe-it’ Anu Malik
Talking about music for deshbhakti how could we miss Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, the 1987 video promoting national integration and ‘unity-in-diversity’ IMHO has been the single most beautiful thing ever done by Doordarshan. As 1987 falls in both zones, have this represents the both generations.
[from the wiki page]…..’Mile Sur’ was telecast for the first time on Independence Day 1988, after the telecast of the Prime Minister’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. It quickly captivated India, gaining and maintaining near-anthem status ever since.
Hai Preet Jahan Ki Reet Sada by Mahendra Kapoor for Purab aur Pashchim, 1970
For this generation’s number three I couldn’t really separate two contemporary tracks both based on ‘Rang de Basanti’ phrase and both composed by Rahman, so have them both here:
Mera Rang De Basanti Chola from The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, 2002
Rang De Basanti title track from the 2006 film
Mere Desh ki Dharti by Mahendra Kapoor from Upkar, 1967
Bharat Humko Jaan se Bhi Pyaara Hai by Hariharan from Roja music (again) by Rahman
Kar Chale Hum Fida by Mohd Rafi from Haqeeqat, 1964
Main Kahin Bhi Rahoon by Sonu Nigam and others LoC Kargil, 2003
(please listen to this one too from the same movie Ek Saathi Aur Bhi tha
Aye Watan Aye Watan by Mohd.Rafi from Shaheed, 1965
Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera sung (and of course) composed by Rahman for Swades, 2004
(I know have given the MTV unplugged version, as it’s is way cooler than the movie one)
Jahan Dal Dal Pe Sone ki Chidiya by Rafi (again) from Sikandar e Azam, 1965
Dhakka Laga Bukka by Rahman (again) from Yuva, 2004
Apni Aazadi ko Hum Hargiz Mita Sakte Nahi Rafi singing for Dilip Kumar in Leader 1964
Chale Chalo Rahman at it again from the academy award nominee Lagaan, 2001
Mera Rang de Basanti Chola by Mahendra Kapoor, Mukesh and co. for Shaheed, 1965
Kandhon se Milte Hain Kandhe Sonu Nigam and co for Lakshya, 2004
Aao Bachcho Tumhe Dikhayein sung & written by ‘Aye mere watan’ fame Pradeep for Jagriti, 1954, Chak de India title track sung by Sukhwinder in 2007, Suno Gaur Se Duniya Walo, Nannha Munna Raahi Hoon, Saare Jahan Se Accha and Vande mataram from Anand Math, this 1952 version sung by Lata ji and Hemant Kumar is a pleasure to hear. Also it’s apparently the first time Vande Mataram (regarded as the most important song used during the freedom struggle) was used in a Bollywood movie.