Happy India Independence Day! My Favorite India Patriotic Songs

I am not, in fact, Indian.  So anything song that goes “Rah Rah Rah, Indian Over All” is not really going to work for me.  But a song that goes “Rah Rah Rah, Let’s Love Our Home Because it Is Our Home And Try To Make It Better”, that works for me because it works for everyone in the world, you know?  And these are my favorite of that time.

First, the classic.  Which you should never ever watch or listen to while traveling, because it is like the distilled pure emotion of homesickness. “Ye Jo Des Hai Tera” from Swades.


A new one, which I love because it seems like a “India Over All” song, but actually it is very carefully written and performed to be a “My Country is My Country” song.  Universal, not specific. “Ae Watan” from Raazi.


Brace yourself for tears.  The title song is triumphal and a bit “India!”, but this song is just about sacrificing for the country you love to make it better, whatever country it is.  “Khoon Chala” from Rang De Basanti.


This song manages to a achieve the specific within the general.  Holi, tricolour, all the elements of Indian life.  But what it is really saying is how those specifics are what make you feel part of a country, a community, and how much it hurts when you feel left out. “Maula Mere Le Le Meri Jaan” from Chak De India.


An India-Before-India patriotic song, one that gets right to the heart of it with no flags and no slogans.  Just “This is our land”. “Mitwa” from Lagaan.

15 thoughts on “Happy India Independence Day! My Favorite India Patriotic Songs

  1. Sort of related: It bums me out that Anupam and Kirron Kher are so tight with the Modi government and super nationalistic on Twitter. I love both of them as performers but their politics, yech. Akshay’s stupid patriotic films like Namastey London bother me too though at least he lives relatively progressive values and is married to Twinkle which counts for a lot.

    Is AR Rahman the kind of “country proud but not chauvinistic” music?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It depends on the song. His most famous patriotic song was the new arrangement he did of “Vande Mataram”. Which I considered using here. It’s an incredible song and I don’t think it ever uses the word “India” or anything like it, just “Salute the Motherland”. But it has been co-opted a bit by India chauvinists so I decided to leave it out. Plus, no good video, just his music video.

      The bigger story with Rahman is his Tamil songs. His mother most famous song is, in Hindi, “Bharat Hum Ko Jaan Se Pyaare Hai”, which is extremely patriotic (Literally, “Bharat, I love you”). But the Tamil original was “Tamizh Tamizh”, and was specifically about Tamil Nadu as a part of India. He’s a bit of a Tamil Before All Else patriot, in a small way.

      Here’s a recent “Tamil Tamil, Rah Rah Rah!” song from him:

      On Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 8:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. No Independence Day sing list complete without these two:

    This song used to play on TV every Sunday & in between & is a great show of the diversity in unity concept. Very nostalgic!


    • I just mentioned in another comment that I was tempted by Rahman’s “Vande Mataram”! The problem is, I don’t actually like the video. The video I like is the one from the World Cup in 2011, but you can’t hear the words quite as well in that one.

      On Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 8:54 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Similar to you I like the less nationalist approach by just loving my homeland because there, I feel at home…with my knowledge of Hindi movie songs which is rather limited to ShahRukh movie songs (although I like others, too 😉 ), my choice would also include those two songs (without analyzing) : “I love my India” from Pardes and “Oh Darling, yeh hai India” (I regret not having found the visuals on YouTube…it’s one of the best parts of the movie, I feel.)


    • This scene has gotten to my father in the past. Although for him I think it is more small children performing, like the 2 minute challenge scene in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

      On Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 1:50 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. 1000 all-girl choir pay tribute to A.R. Rahman at Bollywood Parks Dubai

    A R Rahman’s ‘Vande Mataram’ never fails to tug at the heartstrings of those who are proud of their Indian heritage. And what better way to evoke these sentiments than by the sweet melodies sung with such innocence by 1000 all-girl choir from Gems Our Own English High School. Making this experience even more special was the surprise visit from the Maestro himself!

    Liked by 1 person

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