"Bharat Mata" unifies the entire nation under one title that we all are Indians. The concept of Bharat Mata originated centuries ago, since when India was worshipped as a deity. This idea reached it zenith during British India when the Indians were fighting to free their motherland from the foreign invaders. Hence the place for Bharat Mata in the Indian hearts has always been a sacred one. Post 1947 when the British monarch handed over India's administration to its own people, the worship for Bharat Mata ceased to occur. It is quite an irony because we had been fighting to free our mother for two centuries and soon after she achieved her freedom, we started to forget her.
Its noteworthy that the Government has a certain role to play in matters of public importance. It is only during the current Indian Government that a certain number of temples have been established for Bharat Mata and is getting striking importance among the public. I recently visited the Bharat Mata Mandir situated in the city of Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh, India). To me the ambience of the temple was not proper enough. My opinion on this is what lays henceforth.
The Bharat Mata Mandir at Ujjain was inaugurated in 2018. It is located at a 2min walking distance from the Mahakaleshwar Temple and connects it to the Mahakal Lok Corridoor. At its entrance there is a fountain and just behind it is the map of Undivided India (Akhand Bharat). One needs to climb up the stairs to reach the deity. The deity is seen standing in saffron saree, with a saffron flag in one of her hands and with a lion behind her. On both of her sides are written – “Rashtriya Geet : Vande Mataram” in Hindi and in English.
Now, it is worth mentioning that no Indian Government since 1947, have attempted to popularise Bharat Mata among the masses except the current Government. But this cannot blindfold us to accept whatever is being presented in front of us. The correct thing needs to be propagated among the masses or otherwise we will have a distorted image of the same. Now talking about the ambience of the particular temple, the representation of Bharat Mata must be such that it must incur a feeling of National Unification among the viewers. But the one look at the deity tells us that it is intended for a particular audience only. The striking odd thing is the saffron flag which must be replaced by the Indian tricolour. Secondly, it describes Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ‘Vande Mataram’ as ‘Rashtriya Geet’ (or National Anthen). I do not know what exactly wants to be depicted by the creators, but the National Anthem for India is Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Jana Gana Mana’. It is true that ‘Vande Mataram’ was the battle cry which inspired thousands of freedom fighters but it is not the current national anthem. Lastly, the map of Undivided India. This issue is indeed political but I must say that although we dream for an undivided India, stretching from Afghanistan to Myanmar (the same which had been the dream for almost all the revolutionaries like Subhas Chandra Bose, Rash Behari Bose, Bhagat Singh and others), but the fact is India was partitioned in 1947 and currently we are not having an undivided India. I don’t think that unless the dream for undivided India is fulfilled, it will be just to prese its map as that of India. Rest, the nation will decide.
Before concluding I want to draw attention towards the best representation of Bharat Mata till now. It was painted by Abanindranath Tagore in 1905, i.e., during the Partition of Bengal. It depicts a saffron-clad divine woman, dressed like a Sadhvi (saint), holding a book, sheaves of paddy, a piece of white cloth, and a rudraksha garland (mala) in her four hands. The painting was the first illustrated depiction of the concept and was painted with Swadesh ideals. Since 1905, many iterations of Bharat Mata have been made in paintings and other forms of art. However, the significance of Tagore's original painting is still recognized. In 2016, this painting was put on display at the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata, India.