Every year, television channels and radio stations play patriotic songs on Independence Day and Republic Day. These songs are sung in schools, offices and colony functions.
Normally, people tend to sing older songs like ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ and ‘Kar Chale Hum Fida’. The newer songs get lesser airplay. Hence, in this list, we have chosen a mix of classics and songs from the 21st century, including a brand-new release. Sing along.
1 Mere Desh Ki Dharti – Upkar
One song that has been popular over generations, and is played every Republic Day and Independence Day. Picturised on Manoj Kumar in the 1967 film Upkar, it has been sung by Mahendra Kapoor, composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and written by Gulshan Bawra, who won Filmfare award for best lyricist.
2 Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo – Non-film, Lata Mangeshkar
One of Lata Mangeshkar’s most admired songs, it commemorates Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Sino-Indian war of 1962. It was written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C. Ramachandra. Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru shed tears when it was first rendered at the National Stadium in New Delhi.
3 Kar Chale Hum Fida – Haqeeqat
Kaifi Azmi’s lines ‘Kar chale ham fida jaan-o-tan saathiyon, ab tumhare hawale watan saathiyon’ are packed with power. From the 1964 film Haqeeqat, this gem was sung by Mohammed Rafi and composed by Madan Mohan.
4 Jahan Daal Daal Par Sone Ki Chidiya – Sikander-e-Azam
From the 1965 Prithviraj Kapoor-Dara Singh film Sikander-e-Azam based on Alexander the Great, this is one of the most popular patriotic songs from that era. It was sung immaculately by Mohammed Rafi with music by Hansraj Behl and lyrics by Rajendra Krishna.
5 Aye Mere Pyaare Watan – Kabuliwala
Picturised on Balraj Sahni in the 1961 film Kabuliwala, this was sung by Manna Dey, composed by Salil Chowdhury and written by Prem Dhawan. The lines ‘Tu hi meri aarzoo, tu hi meri aabroo, tu hi meri jaan’ touched a nerve.
6 Maa Tujhe Salaam – Non-film, A.R. Rahman
From A.R. Rahman’s 1997 studio album, this was released to mark the 50th year of India’s independence. Rahman sings it as a mark of respect for our motherland. The song’s video by Bharat Bala was a huge success.
7 Kandhon Se Milte Hain Kandhe – Lakshya
From the 2004 Hrithik Roshan starrer Lakshya, this motivational song was written by Javed Akhtar and composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The singers include Shankar Mahadevan, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Roopkumar Rathod, Kunal Ganjawala and Vijay Prakash.
8 Des Mere Des – The Legend of Bhagat Singh
Rajkumar Santoshi’s 2002 film The Legend Of Bhagat Singh had popular songs like ‘Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna’ and ‘Mera Rang De Basanti’. The number ‘Des Mere Des’ also did well commercially. Sameer’s lyrics are sung by Rahman and Sukhwinder Singh.
9 Ae Watan – Raazi
One of the new patriotic songs, this is from Meghna Gulzar’s 2018 film Raazi. Arjit Singh won the Screen best playback singer award, whereas the female version is sung by Sunidhi Chauhan. Music is by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and lyricist Gulzar’s lines brim with gems like ‘Ae watan, watan mere, aabad rahe tu, mein jahan rahoon, jahaan mein yaad rahe tu’.
10 Hindustaan – Non-film, Druv Kent
Released for this year’s Republic Day by Druv Kent, an India-born, Singapore-settled singer. The song talks about how the country of his roots always plays a role in his life and defines his thinking. Lyrics are by Hina Joshi.
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon (okay, doesn’t fit, but you get the drift), Naren, NK, Kusnur, Narender, Kaansen, Jahanpanna… however else many call him, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier. If ever there is an Ustad given for music writing, NK, would be among the first to receive one. Narendra Kusnur writes weekly on Xyngr. Don’t ask us when.