The month of August is very nostalgic of the Indian freedom struggle for all Indians. Looking back into history, we see a remarkable visual representation being created to evoke the nationalist feelings in Indians during the freedom struggle. It was in the form of a painting titled “BHARAT MATA”. Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabrindranath Tagore depicted the theme of the motherland in this painting. He depicted “The woman as the Nation”, a very revolutionary depiction which was mainly conceived keeping in mind the Swadeshi movement and the patriotic fervor of that time.The painting made in water colours depicts the Bharat Mata as a four-armed Hindu goddess as the central figure in the painting. She is depicted in delicate tints of saffron, pale green and luminous white. The facial features are very Indian with fair complexion and a golden body. The entire rendering is very symbolic yet quite real. She is wearing a saffron colored robe, and in her four arms she holds food( anna), clothing( vastra), a manuscript for education(siksha)and beads of salvation (disksha) instead of weapons as the earlier images of Hindu Goddesses.
The impact of this painting was that Bharatmata became the new deity of the country and was used as a mobilizing artifact during all the Quit-India processions. This image became the face of new Swadeshi India, the free and the Independent India, in which the Bharat Mata, the motherland was not in chains or shackles but radiant and promising a bright future to its people.
Words By Dr. Guneeta Chadha
“ Bharat Mata” circa1902-05 by Abanindranath Tagore,Water color and wash on paper, Rabindra Bharati, Kolkata