There are some writings which remain in the pages of books, and then there are some exceptional writings which come out of the pages and enter our life. The song Vande Mataram is of that exceptional kind. When we look back to that song published 130 years ago in 1882 and written even earlier, many questions crowd our mind. What accounts for the fact that it holds its place in national psyche so many years later? How did that song become a battle cry in the freedom struggle and part of national life in the pre-independence period? What inspired poets to translate it into all major languages and music makers from Rabindranath Tagore to A.R. Rahman in our times to set it to music? How was it recognized as a ‘national song’ after independence? Why has it been a subject of communal controversy in the decades preceding independence as well as today? Sabyasachi Bhattacharya revisits the fascinating story he told in a widely acclaimed book he wrote in 2003.