As World War II drew to a close, it was clear that Indian Independence was no longer a distant dream. And with freedom came a discussion about a national anthem. Vande Mataram was among the foremost candidates, even though some Muslims found the cultural impulses of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's poem to be Hindu. Several versions of Vande Mataram were cut, both for commercial release and as test records, to convince the parliamentary committee set up to choose India's national anthem to pick the poem over Tagore's Jana Gana Mana and Iqbal's Saare Jahan Se Aacha.

Several unusual collaborations came about.  Among them was this version of Vande Mataram by Dilipkumar Roy of Bengal and M. S. Subbulakshmi of Madras.

In 1948, VD Ambhaikar of Mumbai, a musician of repute, composed several versions of Vande Mataram in different ragas. Here is a version sung by him in raga Khambavati.

This disc was played to the parliamentary committee, which asked Ambhaikar to cut a version with a female voice. That's how this recording by Moghubai Kurdikar, the mother of Kishori Amonkar, came to be released commercially.

However, the tune, in a high pitch and with a slow tempo, prove too difficult for most people to sing.

Around same time, Hindi film music director Vasant Desai made two discs of Vande Mataram on Young India label, one with Western instruments and another with Indian instruments. He is leading the song followed by chorus.

Finally, in January 1950, the first stanza of Rabindranath Tagore's Jana Gana Mana was chosen as the National Anthem, while the first stanza of Vande Mataram as the National Song. One important consideration was that Vande Mataram did not sound impressive when played by a band, an important requirement for any national anthem. Nonetheless, both the songs are played every day on All India Radio.

This is the concluding part of a four-part series on Vande Mataram. Read the other pieces in the series here.