Bharat Mata(Hindi, fromSanskritभारतमाता),Mother India, orBharatamba(from अंबाamba'mother') is thenational personificationofIndiaas a mother goddess. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in an orange or saffronsariholding aflag, and sometimes accompanied by alion.
The image of Bharat Mata formed with theIndian independence movementof the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay,Bharat Mata, was first performed in 1873. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1882 novelAnandamathintroduced the hymn "Vande Mataram" which soon became the song of the emerging freedom movement in India.Abanindranath Tagoreportrayed Bharat Mata as a four-armedHindu goddesswearing saffron colored robes, holding a book, sheaves of rice, amala, and a white cloth.
In 1936, a Bharat Mata temple was built inBenarasby Shiv Prashad Gupt and was inaugurated byMohandas Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi said, "I hope this temple, which will serve as a cosmopolitan platform for people of all religions, castes, and creeds includingHarijans, will go a great way in promoting religious unity, peace, and love in the country.
As the conception of Bharat Mata predates thepartition of India, she is intended as representing "Aryavarta", the motherland ofHinduisminHindu nationalism, not restricted to the secularRepublic of India, and Bharat Mata remains a symbol of the "vision of a unified motherland" in Hindu nationalist irredentism. A Bharat Mata temple inHaridwarwas built by in 1983 byVishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP).
The depiction of India as a Hindu goddess implies that it is not just the patriotic but also the religious duty of all Indiansto participate in the nationalist struggle to defend the nation