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Features |  26 Jan 2016 14:37 |  By RnMTeam

The evolution of patriotic songs over the decades

MUMBAI: For as long as there has been a desire to express gratitude towards freedom and patriotism, several mediums of expression played the role of catalysts to beautify the portrayal of love, sacrifice, passion and all the attributes one could attach to endless love for a country. Arguably, the finest among them has to be music. This 26 January, over 1.2 billion people will celebrate India's 67th Republic Day.

Songs may or may not have a direct influence on the masses, but they stand out as a reflection of various aspects that are rooted in our societies- the culture, the politics, the art, geo-political aspects, the socio-political influences and so on. The evolution of patriotic songs- in terms of lyrics, the compositions, and the impact- has, undoubtedly, happened as decades went by. The culture and socio-political and the 'mood' of the respective decade had a direct or indirect, effect on song writing. And quite understandably so.

We pick some of the impassionate compositions recorded throughout the decades since 1950.

Decade - 1950s

Song - Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka

Movie - Naya Daur

As the movie title suggests, the 1957 hit 'Naya Daur' talks about the rise of the underdogs and the victory of 'good over evil'. Not based on struggles related to the liberation of the nation, the song 'Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawaano Ka', continues to remain a motivational composition that illustrates how youthful energy has replaced the myths of the old (enslaving people). Released eight years after the first Republic Day, the composition appropriately emotes power 'to the people, by the people, for the people'. The lyrical intensity conveniently portrays the mind sets of the people that had seen and witnessed the country removes itself from the shackles of slavery and British Empire. The song echoes the hope and informs the world about its arrival.

Decade - 1960s

Song - Kar Chale Hum Fida/Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo

Movie - Haqeeqat

The 1960s was one of the darkest decades for the country, considering the complications an economically unstable and relatively young nation had to face, when the decade was plagued with wars and shortages and poverty. Amidst the two wars that hampered the nation's stability, the movie titled 'Haqeeqat' was released. Revolving around the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the movie's storyline majorly focused on the struggles and agony that existed and haunted during the war. The movie won a National Award and the song 'Kar Chale Hum Fida', sung by the legendary Mohammad Rafi, became synonymous with patriotism in modern India.
Note: Also, On 27 January 1963, Lata Mangeshkar sung 'Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo' for the first time as an ode to all the martyrs that the nation is indebted to. Also, this was the decade in which the movie Upkar with the song ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti sona ugle’ was released in 1967.

Decade - 1970s

Song - Bharat Ka Rehne Wala

Movie - Purab Aur Paschim

The 1970s was an interesting decade for a nation that has experienced the bests and the worsts in 20 years, since the first Republic day. The decade showed promise, enthusiasm, and maturity related to issues involving wars and poverty. The nation focused on development and change. The Congress party went out of power, only to return three years after the Janata Party failed during its term. The idea of patriotism shifted from war-centric movies to other aspects of expressions of patriotism. Movies on patriotism did continue to hit the screens, however, the writers and lyricists managed to evoke patriotism amongst the viewers through a-bit-modern style that reflected the culture and the mind sets of the society in that decade.

Decade - 1980s

Song - Dil Diya Hai Jaan Bhi Denge

Movie - Karma

The 1980s began where the 1970s left. The nation's morale and status got an uplift with the first ever cricket World Cup (in any sport) win, followed by one of the darkest phases of the country in the 35 years before. The 'Sikh Riots' once again reminded Indians that evil still exists in society. Karma was released two years after the Sikh Riots and the song 'Dil Diya Hai Jaan Bhi Denge' arrived at a time when the nation was shaken by the atrocities and mass murders. The lyrics of the composition from this 1986 hit 'Karma' stand as an example of how the focus shifted from 'enemies outside the territory' to the 'enemies within the territory'.

Decade - 1990s

Song - Zindagi Maut Na Bann Jaye Sambhalo Yaaro

Movie - Sarfarosh

The socio-political situation in India did not improve in the 1990s. The country was showing progress, economically, although it fell prey to yet another unfortunate and difficult phase in 1992. The riots and explosions in Mumbai (Bombay) shook the nation, and possibly, the entire world. The 1990s witnessed a whole new level of extremism and lawbreakers that couldn't halt the decay of the pillars of the country. In turbulent times like these, the need for stability was the highest priority and 'movies' did their dutiful part through 'Bombay', 'Roja' and 'Sarfarosh'. The decade started with riots and unrest inside the territory and ended with a war in Kargil. On the financial and cultural front, the 1990s announced India's arrival on the global platform as an atomic power with enhanced space programs, improved economic implementations, a larger focus on art and culture, and pushing Bollywood to a status where actors and singers were no less than Gods and deities. 'Zindagi Maut Na Bann Jaye' is a gentle reminder of what a patriot's priorities should be, when the nation needs him/her.

Decade - 2000s

Song - Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera

Movie - Swades

The 2000s was the decade that brought Border, Lagaan, Veer Zara, Mission Kashmir, LoC, Chak De India, Gadar and several other hits that celebrated the nation's success through troubled and dark history. However, Ashutosh Gowariker's second feature of the decade resonated with the mood of the modern India. The story spoke of a brief return to the country for the NRI protagonist of the movie that leads to a change of heart as he begins to understand the love and affection towards his country would stretch beyond a few weeks. On his return from his motherland to the United States, the protagonist regrets his decision and prepares himself for yet another trip to India- this time, permanently. The song 'Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera' appears (and shall we say- at the right time) in the movie when the actor spends helpless days in the States, waiting to return to the country and the people that cherished and loved him more than anyone else could. The idea of the movie justifies the timing with the storyline that beautifully illustrates the strength and capability of the country in achieving what the west could.

Through all the decades, Bollywood continued to return to the wars and tragedies to rightfully remind the people the about value of freedom. Although, it is now safe to say that writers and lyricists are finding unique and refreshing ways to achieve the same. wishes you a Happy Republic Day !!