Bhārat Mātā (Hindi, from Sanskrit भारत माता, Bhārata Mātā), Mother India, or Bhāratāmbā ( Sanskrit: भारताम्बा; अम्बा ambā means 'mother') is the national personification of India as a mother goddess. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in a saffron sari holding a flag, and sometimes accompanied by a lion.
The image of Bhāratmātā formed with the Indian independence movement of the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bannerjee, Bhārat Mātā, was first performed in 1873. Bankim Chandra Chatterji's 1882 novel Anandamath introduced the hymn "Vande Mātaram", which soon became the song of the emerging freedom movement in India.
Bipin Chandra Pal insisted that elaborated its meaning in idealizing and idealist terms, along with Hindu philosophical traditions and devotional practices. It represented an archaic spiritual essence, a transcedental idea of Universe as well as expressing Universal Hinduism and nationhood.
Abanindranath Tagore portrayed Bhārat Mātā as a four-armed Hindu goddess wearing saffron-colored robes, holding a book, sheaves of rice, a mala, and a white cloth. The image of Bharatmata was an icon to create nationalist feeling in Indians during the freedom struggle. Sister Nivedita, an admirer of the painting, opined that the picture was refined and imaginative, with Bharatmata standing on green earth and blue sky behind her; feet with four lotuses, four arms meaning divine power; white halo and sincere eyes; and gifts Shiksha-Diksha-Anna-Bastra of motherland to her children.
As the conception of Bhārat Mātā predates the partition of India, she is intended to represent "Aryavarta", the motherland of Hinduism in Hindu nationalism, not merely restricted to the secular Republic of India, and Bhārat Mātā remains a symbol of the "vision of a unified motherland" in Hindu nationalist thought. Bhārat Mātā temples exist in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi University, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 and another in Haridwar built in 1983 by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and inaugurated by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The depiction of India as a Hindu goddess implies that it is not just the patriotic but also the religious duty of all Indians to participate in the nationalist struggle to defend the nation.
Bharat Mata temples
It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The Temple was gifted by the nationalists Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta (later awarded Bharat Ratna) and shri Durga Prasad Khatri, leading numismatists and antiquarians. Mahatma Gandhi said, "I hope this temple, which will serve as a cosmopolitan platform for people of all religions, castes, and creeds including Harijans, will go a great way in promoting religious unity, peace, and love in the country."
Floors are dedicated to mythological legends, religious deities, freedom fighters and leaders. The first floor has a statue of the Bharatmata stands along with freedom fighters including Subhas Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Chatrapati Shivaji, Guru Govind Singh, the Rani of Jhansi and more. The second floor is dedicated to Indian women and the holy wedlock of India. The 3rd floor is dedicated to Indian philosophy and the concept of sainthood. The 4th floor showcases displays co-existence of various religions. The 5th floor is dedicated to female shakti through Goddess as mother and as the savior from the perils. The 6th floor is dedicated to the incarnations of the Hindu God, Vishnu. The 7th floor is dedicated to Lord Shiva in his various manifestations. The 8th floor or top floor has a Kalasha that shines in the sunlight.
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