Indian Songs

Sung By Rtne. Ashima Chatterji

Rotary Club of Meerut, India (RI District 3100)

At Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent, Maryland, USA on July 16, 1999

My first song is Vande Mataram, the greatest patriotic song of India, written by the late Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1882, that was the theme song for the freedom struggle for 65 years. Today, it is the national song of India. This song is written in Sanskrit.
Vande mataram!

Sujalam, suphalam, malaya ja shitalam

Shashya shyamalam, mataram!

Shubhra jyotsna pulakit yamini

Phulya kusumita drumadala shobhini

Suhasini, sumadhur bhashini

Sukhadam, varadam, mataram!

Hail thee, Mother!

Land of good water, sweet fruit and scented air,

Land of bountiful harvests, my Mother!

Where the bright moonlight lights up the night,

Where flowers decorate the trees,

Land of joy, of sweet speech,

Bless us with happiness, my Mother!


My second song is a prayer written by the late poet Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel Laureate from Asia. This song is one of the many from his book Gitanjali (An Offering of Songs) which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. This song is written in Bengali.
Ki gabo ami ki shonabo aji anando dham'e,

Purabasi jane enechi deke tomar amrit nam'e.

Kemon'e bornibo tomar rachana

Kemon'e ratibo tomar karuna

Kemon'e galabo hriday-pran, 

Tomar madhur prem'e.

Tabo nam loy'e chandra-tara 

Ashim shunya'e dhayich'e,

Graha hot'e graha'e jhorich'e prem,

Graha hot'e graha'e chahiche.

Ashim akash neel shatadal

Tomar kiran'e shada dhaladhal

Tomar amrit-sagar majhar'e, bhashich'e abiram'e.

What do I sing or say in Thy abode of happiness?

Yet by Thy Name have I gathered all my neighbors.

How do I classify Thy Creation?

How do I describe Thy Compassion?

How do I submerge my heart and my soul 

In Thy Love?

By Thy Name do the moon and the stars

Sail through the boundless void of the universe,

From planet to planet goes Thy Message of love,

And the planets look up to each other.

This limitless sky, a mass of blue,

Shines always in the rays of Thy Light,

And floats endlessly in Thy Sea of Eternity.


My third song is a song from a Hindi movie. You might be surprised to know that India has the largest film industry in the world, larger than even Hollywood. Most of the films made are musicals, and songs from these musicals are extremely popular. The song that I am about to sing is a love song set in the monsoons, the delightful rainy season that follows the scorching summer in Northern India.