Songs to Commemorate India’s Republic Day



Nanna Munna Raahi Hoon – Patriotic Songs for Republic Day

by Anandini Sekhar @amaluu & online at:

Email Anandini at:


January 26th marks India’s Republic Day – a celebration of India coming under the rule of its own constitution following freedom from British rule. In India this will be celebrated with parades, speeches and special programs. But outside of India Republic Day is generally celebrated with a small cultural program, if at all. Even at those cultural programs, you are more likely to see yet another dance performance of “1234 Get On The Dance Floor” or “Badtameez Dil” than anything relating to India becoming a Republic. Those performances are definitely fun, but if you are looking to also expose your kids to a few patriotic songs that will invoke the spirit of the holiday, here are some suggestions!

The Classics:

These are everyone’s favorite patriotic songs, full of heart and emotion.

Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon is the quintessential patriotic song – sung by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by C. Ramachandra (lyrics by Pradeep). This song was famously performed live by Lataji in honor of soldiers that perished in the Sino-Indian War on Republic Day in 1963 in the presence of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

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Saare Jahan Se Achha was penned by Urdu poet Muhammed Iqbal and later set to music by sitarist Ravi Shankar. It’s pretty much the unofficial national song of India.

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Vande Mataram is considered the official national song, although separate from our national anthem Jana Gana Mana. It was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay as a poem in his 1882 novel Anandamath. Though criticized by some for references to a Mother Goddess in some of the later stanzas, the first few verses of the song are widely used for patriotic occasions. Take your pick from the ever-popular Lata Mangeshkar version   or the softer, sweet version from A.R. Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam album:


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The Greats – from Hindi films:

These popular songs from Hindi cinema fire up everyone’s national pride.

Mere Desh Ki Dharti from the 1971 film Upkar which was directed by and starred Manoj Kumar is a lush love poem to the land of our birth. The film won Manoj Kumar numerous awards and made him the leading patriotic actor of Bollywood.

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Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai from the 1960 film of the same title is an ode to the values that should be upheld by every Indian – openness, value for all life, generosity and truth. The film starred Raj Kapoor and Padmini, and the song numerous awards including Best Male Playback Singer for Mukesh.

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Mere Watan Se Achha from the 1953 film Ladki starred Dancing Queen Vyjayanthimala and showcases many of the great leaders and artists as well as the varied cultures of India. Kids will enjoy seeing the many costumes and styles of dance Vyjayanthimala portrays.

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The Children’s Songs:

These songs are particularly themed around or focused on children.

Nanna Munna Raahi Hoon is definitely the first song any Bollywood aficionado would think of when grouping children’s songs and patriotic songs. The song appeared in the 1962 film Son of India and is often performed on stage by children for Republic Day or Independence Day celebrations.

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Aao Bachcho Tumhe Dikhaye from the award-winning 1954 film Jagriti takes children on a virtual train ride through India to learn about the various landmarks and notable political figures and martyrs that make up India’s history.


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Bringing it into more modern times, Mera Mulk Mera Desh from the 1996 film Diljale is admittedly not a children’s song – though the early part of the song does have the chorus sung by a child. The song shows a father transfering his national pride and love to his son and the son going on to carry on that passion.

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The Silly Songs:

These songs are admittedly pretty ridiculous, but definitely a good way for the kids to let loose the sillies and still be patriotic!

Suno Gaur Se Duniya Walon from the never-released 1997 film Dus is pretty funny, but hey, if the Princes of Cool Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt are patriotic then why shouldn’t we be? I’ve actually seen this one performed quite a bit at Independence Day and Republic Day functions. Sabse Aage Honge Hindustani!

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Salman is back in this super silly number from the 1997 comedy caper Judwaa called East or West India is the Best. Yes, totally ridiculous, but it does mention quite a lot of India’s most famous people and cultural landmarks and is unfortunately catchy. You’ll find it running through your head even when you wish it wasn’t.

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Funnily enough, most of the ridiculous songs are from the mid-nineties. I Love My India from the 1996 film Pardes starring Shah Rukh Khan and Mahima Chaudhary is certainly a weird song, but there’s no denying the patriotism!

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The Performance Songs

Try one of these theme-appropriate songs for your next Republic Day performance!

The beautiful Des Rangeela from the 2006 film Fanaa features Kajol with a host of backup dancers and speaks of the diverse cultures of India. There’s lots of opportunity here to showcase the different classical and folk dance styles of India and it’s a fun, upbeat number.

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Have a young singer or budding musician in the house? Try teaching them the lilting number Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara Hai from A.R. Rahman’s famous Roja soundtrack (1993).

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Need an exciting, pumped up number to get the crowd moving? The title song of Chak De India!  (2007) or Rang De Basanti (2006) may be the perfect thing to get everyone into the spirit of Republic Day.

Honorable mention to Kashtiyan Bhi Ladh Gayi from Hindustani (1996) for the celebratory beats, haunting flute and weaving in of patriotic theme songs — but mostly for the display of costumes that Kamal Hassan and Sukanya morph in and out of at the end of the song. It’s a very cool cross-section of the diverse costumes and cultures of India.

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There are a great many famous patriotic songs I haven’t mentioned, for example the great and very graphic/disturbing Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo from Haqeeqat (1964), Ae Watan Ae Watan from Shaheed (1965), Dil Diya Hai from Karma (1986), and many more. I’m sure everyone has their favorites.

Please do share yours in the comments!


More About Anandini Sekhar



Entertainment Contributor

Anandini is a classical Bharata Natyam dancer and teacher, a singer in a New England based Bollywood band called Din Check, a marketing professional, a Bollywood blogger and a mom of two. You can visit her blog at or follow her on twitter under the name ‘amaluu’.

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