Rishi Bankim is one among Bengal’s men of supreme genius. Time will never be able to diminish or bring to a standstill his authority on Bengali language and literature. Needless to say, creators like him can never be counted as the monopoly of any province. Bankim is entitled, by his wonder-genius and master-works, to rank among those who have easily transcended all limitations of language, race and continent. His song “Bande Mataram” was the mantric incantation-fire of Mother India. It was the battle-cry of freedom-fighters. Thousands of people sacrificed their lives while singing this song. To them, it was not a mere sound, but a living force; not words, but a fiery inspiration; nay, the vision of an apocalypse. Thousands and thousands of people received inspiration from this source of patriotism. Many people had to go to jail just because they sang this particular song, and all of them went happily and cheerfully. It was not an ordinary song but the mantra of mantras, which inspired them to fight against the English.
E xcerpt from India, My India by Sri Chinmoy.