Indians around the world are set to celebrate their country’s 71st Independence Day and everyone’s busy painting the town saffron, white and green with shades of blue. Those who aren’t feeling the vibes just yet or have any grudges, remember the popular dialogue from the film, Rang De Basanti? In case you don’t, here you go: “Koi bhi desh perfect nahin hota… usse bana na padta hai” (No country is perfect… you have to make it). While we work together towards rectifying our flaws, here’s a playlist of patriotic songs that will surely make your day. Hear them out and you won’t be able to resist showing your love for the country.

Mera Rang De Basanti Chola

We can never understand the hardships that the freedom fighters underwent for an Independent India. What we can admire is their ordeals and be inspired by songs such as this one written by Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil along with other freedom fighters. This version was sung by Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar and Rajendra Mehta for the film Shaheed in 1965.

Mere Desh Ki Dharti

Written by Gulshan Bawra and sung by Mahendra Kapoor, this song is a classic for many reasons. India was called ‘Golden Bird’ for its abundant resources and was a point of interest to many countries. We may not have the same resources now but our country is home to many jewels around the world.

Ae Watan Ae Watan

There’s a reason why the saying, ‘Old is Gold’ holds true. Sung by none other than the legendary singer Mohammad Rafi, ‘Ae Watan Ae Watan’ can bring you to tears within seconds. The song makes it clear in the first stanza itself, “Jeena toh ussi ka jeena hai, jo marna watan pe jaane.(The only living worthwhile is living for the country).”

Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo

Written by Kavi Pradeep, the song honours the martyrs who have time and again sacrificed everything for the nation. The song was first performed live by Lata Mangeshkar, two months after the Indo-China war ended in 1962. What our soldiers face every day is perfectly summed up by this line, “Jab hum bethe the gharon mein, wo jhel rahe the goli (We were safe in our houses, because the soldiers were facing the bullets).”

Maa Tujhe Salaam

A song that every 90s kid has grown up listening to is AR Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam. One can’t just stop humming the lyrics when you talk about this song. Rahman released this song in 1997 as a part of the album, Vande Mataram. Since then, the song has become immortal.

Sandese Aate Hai

One for the soldiers and their families. This song accurately portrays what they and their families go through when they are miles apart. The only thing that keeps them going are the letters that they get from their dear ones while they are guarding the borders. The heartfelt rendition was written by Javed Akhtar and sung by Roop Kumar Rathod and Sonu Nigam.

Kandhon Se Milte Hain Kandhe

When the Indian armed forces gear up for a task, consider it done no matter what the challenge is. This song not only reiterates the same but also cautions those who threaten our motherland. Sung by Kunal Ganjawala, Sonu Nigam, Roop Kumar Rathod, Vijay Prakash, Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan, the song was a part of the film Lakshya in 2004.

Chak De! India

Considered as India’s sports anthem, the song became synonymous to India and its citizens whenever, wherever India was competing. So much so, that the crowd was chanting the song during the Cricket World Cup finals in 2011. Written by Jaideep Sahni, the song was sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Salim Merchant and Marianne D’Cruz.  

Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyaara Hain

Yes, we are plagued with issues related to religion, caste and oppression of women but that doesn’t mean that we can blame it all on our origin and get rid of our responsibilities. It is our diversity and culture that makes us unique despite all the troubles. This song by Hariharan highlights the same. We should celebrate our diversity and not divide further.

I Love My India

For all those settled abroad or planning to go in the future, hear out what late Amrish Puri has to say in this song. “London dekha, Paris dekha aur dekha Japan… saare jag mein kahin nahin hai dusra Hindustan!” (There’s no place like India in the entire world). The song has been sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hariharan and Aditya Narayan.