Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Concerns about the origin of the Indian national anthem

I just read something about India's national anthem (a forwarded email; yes, sometimes I do actually open them). Here it is:

Facts about "Jana Gana Mana" - Just a thought for the National Anthem!

How well do you know about it?

I have always wondered who/what is the "adhinayak" and "bharat hagya vidhata", whose praise are we singing. I thought might be the Motherland India – our Mahan Bharat! Our current National Anthem "Jana Gana Mana" is sung throughout the country.

Did you know the following about our National Anthem; well, I didn't: -

To begin with, our National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen of England when they visited India in 1919. To honor their visit Pandit Motilal Nehru had the five stanzas included, which are in praise of the King and the Queen. (And most of us think it is in the praise of our great motherland!!!

In the original Bengali verses only those provinces that were under British rule, i.e. Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha etc. were mentioned. None of the then princely states which are now an integral part of India, like Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore or Kerala find any place! Also neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea were included since they were directly under Portuguese rule at that time.

The Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka implies that King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata is "the bestower of good fortune". Following is a translation of the five stanzas that glorify the King:

First stanza: (Indian) People wake up remembering your good name and ask for your blessings and they sing your glories. (Tava shubha name jaage;tava shubha aashish maage, gaaye tava jaya gaatha)

Second stanza: Around your throne people of all religions come and give their love and anxiously wait to hear your kind words.

Third stanza: Praise to the King for being the charioteer, for leading the ancient travelers beyond misery.

Fourth stanza: Drowned in the deep ignorance and suffering, poverty-stricken, unconscious country? Waiting for the wink of your eye and your mother's (the Queen's) true protection.

Fifth stanza: In your compassionate plans, the sleeping Bharat (India) will wake up. We bow down to your feet O' Queen, and glory to Rajeshwara (the King).

This whole poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland but depicts a bleak picture. When you sing Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, whom are you glorifying? Certainly not the Motherland. Is it God? The poem does not indicate that. It is time now to understand the original purpose and the implication of this, rather than blindly sing as has been done over the past fifty years.

Nehru chose the present national anthem as opposed to Vande Mataram because he thought that it would be easier for the band to play!!! It was an absurd reason but Today for that matter bands have advanced and they can very well play any music. So they can as well play Vande Mataram, which is a far better composition in praise of our dear Motherland - India.Wake up, it's high time!

Shouldn't Vande Mataram be our National Anthem????????

Personally, I've always loved our national anthem; not just because of patriotism, but because I always found it to be a beautiful composition, as far as the melody goes. I also love the way the language sounds (I'm somewhat of a linguist). This, however, is shocking to me, and I still haven't fully digested the new information about our song. One argument against the complaint presented above is that whatever it may be for which the song may have been originally composed, today that purpose is no more. Today, the words "jana gaNa mana adhinaayaka jaya hae | bhaarata bhaagya vidhaataa ||" incite strong patriotic emotions in the heart of those with whom the above is concerned. Though the song itself may not have been meant to praise bhaarata (India), the act of singing it does indeed, through what is felt in the heart.

I'd like to hear someone else's comments on this matter though.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Reader/Original Post Auhtor,

Here is my opinion about the posted comment.

Offcourse there are certain facts about our National Anthem, Rabrinath Tagore wrote this poem in the hounour of God and then presented as Welcome to king, to please them.

We need to consider the, "ROOTS and RICH CULTURE OF INDIA". From the ages, we have been following the tradition of "ATITHI DEVOBHAV", which means, "The Guest came to our Home(Her is is India), is equivalent to God". and we give all that respect and welcome to our guest and treat them/serve like god.

More over there are so many referance from Shstra and Puranas of anicient books that People have done so many scrifice just to keep the respect/honour of the guest who have some our home. (Sacrifice of own son named "Chilaya" by his mother.).

Even though the poem is presented as Welcome message to the King, Each every word of praise had been actually devoted to the God, And according to most supreme knowldge of this world "ADVAITHA", which means "THERE ARE NO TWO" and "SOHAM" which means, "THE ONE IN YOU AND THE ONE IN ME IS SAME", That consiousness in you and the consiousness in me is. The god in you and the god in me is same. With this understanding of knowledge, We can welcome our guest as if they are god for me.

And Rabrinath Tagore was among these people who have understood this spiritual knowledge.

With Love,

Someshewar Koshti

12 March, 2006 04:32  
Blogger Ishan Saxena said...


I myself am a avid fan of National Anthem, and have been promoting it a lot lately. (Please read my article "National Anthem" at celestabeats.blogspot.com... )

Your hypothesis comes as quite a shock to me.. Are u sure Nehru chose it only bcoz of its playability? Where did u read that man?

26 March, 2006 04:42  

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