The controversy over saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai, just like the controversy over love jihad or beef, will not die down. It might disappear from the headlines – not just yet, considering chief ministers are still telling people who refuse to say the slogan to leave India – but it will continue to simmer in the background. Like the other attempts at defining a more Hindu nation, Bharat Mata ki Jai disguises itself as an attempt to unite, while turning the meaning of the country into something not all would be comfortable with.
But where did Bharat Mata ki Jai come from? You can read all about it here, starting with its Bengali origins and then growing to inspire Bande Mataram and the revolutionary movement, but in a very specific way. Or you could just watch the video above, which quickly recaps how the nation turned into a goddess who could still exclude people from her fold, even today.
"That Aurobindo considered Bharat Mata worthy of navavidha bhakti or nine-fold worship is a good indicator as to how the image of India as a mother goddess had already taken root in 1905. That in 2016, a Muslim MLA was punished for not chanting a slogan for “Bharat Mata” shows just how far popular Hindu nationalism has become."