Janani Janmabhoomi Swarg Se Mahan Hai Essay Contest

This article is written by Sudhir,a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this song.

The name Vasant Desai brings to memory a long list of songs rooted in the classical and folk traditional music of India. On this blog, today we have another celebration. With this post, the blog now carries 100 songs composed by Vasant Desai. In a career that lasted more than four decades, Vasant Desai was selective in the associations he made and never strayed away from his musical foundations. He scored the music for less than fifty films during this time. Thirty of these films are represented on this blog.

Born in 1912 in Kudal, distt. Sawantwadi in Maharashtra, Vasant Krishnaji Desai came to Bombay in his early twenties. His first association was with the Prabhat Studios, where he started as an actor and singer, and even wrote lyrics for some movies. Prabhat Studio, in its heydays, boasted of such luminaries as Master Vinayak, V Shantaram, Durga Khote, Govindrao Tembe, Master Krishna Rao, and Baburao Pendharkar amongst others. Starting with Ayodhyache Raja (1932), Prabhat studio has presented some very memorable movies both in Hindi and Marathi. Vasant Desai was to act and sing before he got to composing music. He started his career with Prabhat Studios silent movie Khooni Khanjar (1930). In Ayodhya Ka Raja (1932), he sang the song, ‘Jai jai rajadhiraaj’. He continued to act and sing in movies from Prabhat Studios.

– Amrit Manthan (1934) Song – ‘Sakhi ri Shyam bado dithiyaaro, barbas fori gagri’ and ‘Barsan Laagi . . .’

– Dharmatma (1935), Song – ‘Aaj bhaag jag gaye logo hamaare’

– Amar Jyoti (1936), Song – ‘Kaaraj ki jyot sadaa hi jarey’ and ‘Bhool jaa bhool jaa’

– Wahaan (1937) Song – ‘Hai duniya mein paap gulaami’

– Sant Gyaaneshwar (1940), Song – ‘Sab se pyaare hain duniya mein khet hamaare’.

Desiring to do the hero’s role in the famous Aadmi (1939), he seriously turned to music when that role did not come his way. He started to learn music under the tutelage of Ustaad Aalam Khan and Ustaad Inaayat Khan. He worked as an assistant with Gobind Rao Tembe for some time before getting his first independent assignment in 1942.

The film Shobha (1942) was the first movie for which Vasant Desai scored the music. This was followed by ‘Mauj’ and ‘Aankh Ki Sharam’, both in 1943. By this time V Shantaram, (already established as a director par excellence), separated himself from Prabhat Studios and set up his own studio with the name Rajkamal Kala Mandir. Vasant Desai came on as the composer for ‘Shakuntala’, the first film from Rajkamal. This started an association that was to last for a better part of two decades. Shakuntala was a box office hit, and so was its music, and established Vasant Desai as a successful music director in the industry. The 40s and 50s was the busiest part of his career, and he continued to present wonderful music based on classical and folk milieu. He continued to compose through the 50s and 60s, albeit the assignments coming his way became lesser. He was not comfortable in composing music for ghazals and qawwalis, and so most assignments coming his way were historical or mythological. Not saying that he did not work with other types of movies at all. His style and presentation is distinct in movies like Do Phool (1958), Mausi (1958), Ardhaangini (1959), School Master (1959), Pyaar Ki Pyaas (1961), Yaadein (1964), Ladki Sahyadri Ki (1966), Ashirwaad (1968), and Guddi (1971). His composition ‘Ae Malik Tere Bande Hum’ is considered as one of his best creations; it went on to become part of school morning prayers in many states.

He was conferred the honor of Padam Shree in 1967.

Samraat Prithviraj Chauhan (1959), is a historical movie documenting a crucial phase in the history of India. Prithiviraj Chauhan, a descendant in the Rajput lineage of ‘Chauhannama’, is documented as the last Hindu king in North India, with his capital in Delhi and Ajmer. There are many legends associated with him, especially his abduction of Princess Sanyogita of Kannauj. It is stated that through relations in family, Princess Sanyogita was a cousin to Prithviraj, and princess’ father did not approve of Prithviraj’s proposal to marry her. On the day of her Swyamvara, Prithviraj reached Kannauj in disguise and abducted the princess and brought her to his kingdom.

The muslim kings from the West had been invading India now for almost 500 years, but none settled here. They plundered and returned. In the year 1191, Mohammed Gori challenged the kingdom of Prithviraj, but was defeated at his hands. Next year, in 1192, Mohammed Gori returned with a larger army, and this time defeated Prithviraj Chauhan. Prithviraj was captured and taken back to Ghazni where he was executed. This signaled the end of the rule of Hindu kings in north India. The slave dynasty started a rule of Muslim kings in India, that lasted almost seven centuries before the Britisher took charge of this country. (Note: there is a brief interlude, when Humayun, the Mughal emperor was defeated by Sher Shah Suri, and the latter sat on the throne of Delhi for a very brief period.)

The 1959 film by this name is directed by Harsukh Bhatt, and the star cast includes Jairaj, Anita Guha, Ulhas, Sapru, BM Vyas, Prem Adeeb, Chand Usmaani, Shiela Vaz, Sulochana and Leela Misra amongst others. The music for this movie is composed by Vasant Desai. Of the eight songs in this movie, the lyrics for all but one have been penned by Bharat Vyas. The eighth song is created in a traditional Alhaa genre of Rajasthan (‘Dhanyawaad Kavichand pukaare, jug jug jiyo kannuji rai’), and the lyrics for that are written by Anant Shyam.

This song, is an iconic creation exhorting the citizens to rise for the sacrifice for the motherland. The words and the music is very inspiring and stimulating. I remember this song being taught in our school as part of the Hindi literature class. The song is a derivation from the famous Sanskrit shloka from our scriptures –

janani janmbhoomisch swargaadapee gariyasi

“The land of my birth is my mother, and it is more eminent and important than swarg (heavens).”

This land is nurtured by the sacrifices of many a great warriors, and its protection and security is the primary duty of every person living here. No sacrifice is too big for the motherland, be it of the mind, body, and even life.

The singing voice that of Manna Dey. On hearing Manna da render this song, it is aptly clear that no other singer could have done justice to this song. Only the audio of this song is available, so I cannot hazard a guess as to who would be singing this on screen.

A now almost forgotten song that must be shared with the younger generations of today.



Song-Janani janmbhoomi swarg se mahaan hai(Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan) (1959) Singer-Manna Dey, Lyrics-Bharat Vyas, MD-Vasant Desai


matribhoomi ke liye jo karta
apne rakt ka daan
uska jeewan dev tulya hai
uska janma mahaan
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa

janani janmbhoomisch swargaadapee gariyasi
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa

janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai
is ke vaaste ye tan hai man hai aur praan hai
tan man aur praan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai

is ke kan kan pe likha Ram Krishna naam hai
Ram Krishna naam hai
hutaatmaaon ke rudhir se bhoomi shasya shyaam hai
bhoomi shasya shyaam hai
dharm ka ye dhaam hai
sadaa isey pranaam hai
swatantra hai dharaa yahaan
swatantra aasmaan hai
swatantra hai dharaa yahaan
swatantra aasmaan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai

is ki aan pe agar jo baat koi aa padey
baat koi aa padey
is ke saamne jo zulm ke pahaad hon khadey
zulm ke pahaad hon khadey
shatru sab jahaan ho
viruddh aasmaan ho
muqaablaa karenge hum
jo jaam mein ye jaan hai
muqaablaa karenge hum
jo jaam mein ye jaan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai

is ki god mein hazaaron ganga jamuna jhoomti
ganga jamuna jhoomti
is ke parbaton ki chotiyaan gagan ko choomti
chotiyaan gagan ko choomti
bhoomi ye mahaan hai
niraali iski shaan hai
is ki jai pataaka par
likha vijay nishaan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai
janani janmabhoomi swarg se mahaan hai

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Tags: 1959, Bharat Vyas, Manna Dey, Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan, Vasant Desai

@gracebalkwell @ecr000 @rachael_moat you can do it! i am gettin better.els we can all have some creative input into the essay bring it

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