In Bharatavarsha, for sure we never lacked for dieties. Whether these were forces of nature(Indra, Agni) or representations of philosophical ideas(Vishnu, Shiva, Kali etc) there was always a constant churn of gods,goddesses being born, dying and reborn under different names as our ancients were always trying to understand the world, physical,metaphysical and spiritual, around us.
Earth dieties were usually feminine whether Prithvi or kul devata(goddesses of the grove) and therefore hardly unfamiliar to the ancients. Curiously we have here a macro goddess(indeed the entire earth) and micro(associated with sacred groves).
Curiously while we certainly had a concept of a nation -Bharatavarsha named for Bharata muni, we never sought to deify this idea as we did with so many others. Why was that?
It is really hard to get an answer to non action even more so when it comes to the history of ideas. However there is strong circumstantial evidence in the plularism of Vedic society. That no enlightened being insisted on national unification except in the case of rare individuals like Sagara, Bharata, Rama and the Pandavas may well imply sans the presence of spiritually attained individuals like aforementioned, religion under a centralized nationalism is more likely to suffer as religion may get tainted with politics
The examples for these are legion. The close relationship between the Sassanids and the Zorastrianism quickly led to its downfall. Similarly with Islam and the Caliphate, it barely last a few hundred years before quickly falling to foreign Turks and Mongols.
No sooner had King Solomon monopolized the Temple and its associated priesthood by filling it with people from his own tribe(Judah) and thereby built a strong centralized empire, than the empire fell apart after his death and the kingdom split in two under less spiritually accomplished kings thereby becoming rife for the Assyrian invasions.
Certain people go on and on about the negative effects on Euro colonialism and yet go ahead and eulogize Bharat Mata in the same breath!
And yet there was no Bharat Mata until a semi Westernized Bengali patriot Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay invented her out of whole cloth. The purpose of this essay is not to disparage Bankim and his immense contribution to the nationalist movement as well as the rich Bengali literary tradition.
Bharata Mata was a necessary diety which was created by "Rishi" Bankim at the time in order to fight the Asura British. And Vande Mataram was the mantra.But let us not forget that Bankim himself was exposed to Western ideas including representation of nations as women , the most famous of whom is the iconic Columbia representing United States as seen regularly when we go to the movies produced by Columbia studios
Columbia on a war memorial
But Bankim would undoubtedly be more familiar with Britannia above due to his exposure to British education.
However please note that in our national personification we are missing the male equivalent of Uncle Sam and the British Bulldog.
One wonders if this is why Indians are currently such mama's boys! Please note that ancient Hindus refer to the homeland as both matru bhumi (motherland) , pitru bhumi(fatherland) and punyabhumi(land of righteous action)
The diety of Bharatmata is as we know an incomplete diety since the other aspects of the homeland were ignored. This is again not to disparage Bankim's immense contribution but let us keep in mind that his effort was overwhelmingly political and not religious in nature even as Anandamath was about Hindu ascetics battling the East Indian company. Their hostility to the British stemmed from mundane issues such as taxation and other exploitation rather than outright religious bigotry.
Often in our culture, a diety is often felicitated as a great force to be reckoned but when its time is due and it is relegated to patala loka.
Seeing as how I would rather have a decentralized and a more localized Hindu nation, Im afraid Bharatamata's good works are behind her and due to the tyranny of the Indian central government she is now to be considered an asura
However seeing as how even Asuras are accorded the proper respect due to their past deeds, the most famous being Bali, I would not mind saying VANDE MATARAM every now and then!