Patriotic Music in India and the Muslim Contribution

AS we celebrate our 63rd Republic Day, let’s take a look at some Muslim contribution to patriotic songs in India over the years. The list is not exhaustive and considers only the more popular ones.

1 ‘Watan ki raah mein watan ke naujawaan shaheed hon’ from the Dilip Kumar starrer Shaheed (1948). Qamar Jalalabadi lyrics, sung by Mohd Rafi, to Ghulam Haider’s tune is popular even after 64 years of the film’s release.

2 ‘Ye desh hai veer jawano ka’ from the movie Naya Daur (1957). Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics sung by Rafi.

3 ‘Desh ka pyara’ from the lesser known movie Masoom (1960). Raja Mehdi Ali Khan wrote the lyrics of this lovable children song.

4 ‘Sare jahan se achha’ by Allama Iqbal. The immortal Urdu poem has been sung by many singers over the years, including a duet by Rafi and Asha Bhosle for Dharamputra (1961).

5 ‘Insaaf ki dagar pe’ from the movie Ganga Jamuna. The 1961 classic had this gem penned by Shakeel Badayuni with music by Naushad.

6 ‘Nanha munna rahi hoon’ from Mehboob’s Son of India (1962). The duo of  Naushad and Shakeel again behind this endearing effort.

7 ‘Ab tumhare hawale watan sathiyon’ from the National Award winning movie Haqeeqat (1964), which remains the most definite account of war portrayal on the Indian screen. The moving lyrics by Kaifi Azmi were given a soulful rendition by Mohd Rafi. A timeless classic.

8 ‘Apni aazaadi ko hum’ from the movie Leader (1964). Rafi, Shakeel and Naushad teams up for this winner. Dilip Kumar adds his aura to the on screen portrayal.

9 ‘Aye watan aye watan’ from the Manoj Kumar starrer Shaheed (1965). A brilliant song by the inimitable Rafi. A personal favourite.

10 ‘Sandese aate hain’ from Border (1997). Anu Malik provided the music for the song written by Javed Akhtar.

11 ‘Maa tujhe salam’ from the 1997 studio album Vande Mataram by A.R. Rahman. Rahman composed the tune for Mehboob’s lyrics, and then sang it with passion. It remains the most influential patriotic song of the modern era. The album sold 1.5 million copies in the releasing year in India alone. Till date it’s the largest selling non-film album in India.

12 ‘Zindagi maut na ban jaaye’ from Sarfarosh (1999). The immensely popular number from the critically acclaimed Amir Khan starrer was written by Israr Ansari.

13 ‘Ye jo des hai tera’ from the Shahrukh Khan starrer Swades (2004). A beautifully sung and composed number by Rahman with lyrics from Javed Akhtar.

14 ‘Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna’ by the freedom fighter Ram Prasad Bismil. The revolutionary Urdu masterpiece was brought to life by Rafi, Dey and Rajendra Mehta in Shaheed (1965). A.R. Rahman gave his touch to the lyrics, first in The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) and backed it with a powerful rendition by Amir Khan in the cult classic Rang De Basanti (2006).

15 ‘Rang de basanti’ from the movie Rang De Basanti. A peppy and relevant number for the youth of today. Naturally it was Rahman’s music.

Published by

Inam Abidi Amrohvi

Inam is an independent writer based in Dubai who also edits He comes from Lucknow. Inam blogs at The World As I See It.

10 thoughts on “Patriotic Music in India and the Muslim Contribution”

  1. Why the NEED to mention/proclaim ANYBODY’s Patriotism OTHER than for some Ulterior Motive to gain some Monetary Benefit. I don’t go about declaring my having brushed my teeth after waking up in the mornings, until somebody questions about any bad breath. SO WHY This drum beating by so-called-muslims who are as much indian as i am.

  2. Brilliant.I was unaware.Thank you for letting the Nation know. I love all the songs.These luminaries were Indians first who were Muslims. Brothers we are all.

  3. @pramodkaimal – Hmmm, nothing is good for you, eh – What kind of loser comes to a website labeled indianmuslims to crib about facts therein? Hindu rightists cry about Indian muslims (I/M) not being patriotic enough. When one puts up examples of mainstream music composed or sung by I/Ms that every Indian irrespective of religion enjoys humming, you have to still comment on that.

  4. Dear Pramod,

    Although Sri has answered you, but I was wondering what monetary benefit are you talking about. This site has never paid me anything other than a little respect.

    Peace be upon you!

  5. I found your website while looking for something else, ended up reading this too. Very good list of songs. Songs used to be so soulful once. Thanks. We are all Indians first. Jai Hind!

  6. Very good article! Mulsims have contributed a lot in building this country in all aspects and it still continues. Articles like this is definitely a good referecne to speak against those who want to sideline muslims.

  7. Because of extreme views from certain sections from both sides it may not be possible to have a total interface between Muslims and non-Muslims, in India and world over. Even though my knowledge about Islam is very marginal, I think that I can never accept Islam as my religion. However, IT IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR TO UNDERSTAND , RESPECT EACH OTHER and GIVE SPACE TO EACH OTHER instead of living like perennially fighting spouses. Certainly information as contained in this post is important to correct certain wrong perceptions. I visit this site often to have a better understanding of my fellow citizens.

  8. Hello,
    I belong to Pakistan
    I found this page while searching on the topic “muslim, india and music”.
    Im really glad to see Muslim’s contribution in patriotism and Hindus way to encourage them..
    Good job Inam..

  9. When people like Naushad composed music, they were doing as Indians.
    The Muslim identity is incidental.

    Perhaps we will remember this.

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