Skip to main content

Those who say Jana Gana Mana was composed in veneration of King George V are parroting bogus allegations

Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh recently created a huge flutter by demanding that the national anthem's wordings "Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He" be replaced by "Jana Gana Mana Mangala Jaya He", because Adhinayaka stands for King George V. Well-known commentator Kanchan Gupta traces the origin of Jana Gana Mana to refute the argument*:
What is now the National Anthem of the Republic of India is the first stanza of a five-stanza Brahmo Sangeet or psalm.
It was composed by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on December 11, 1911, in adulation of Param Brahma -- He who is the True, the Good, the Infinite; the Eternal Lord of the Universe; the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent; the Formless, Changeless, Selfcontained and Perfect Almighty.
For the Brahmo Samaj, whose members adhere to Adhi Dharma, anchored in the dazzling enlightenment of the Upanishads, Param Brahma is the only Ishwar, the One Supreme Spirit, the Author and Preserver of our existence, the Eternal Light that guides us when darkness descends, the Lighthouse that guides us through the stormy sea of life. He presides over the destiny of our wondrous universe, hence also the destiny of Bharat.
This brief background is necessary to understand the context of the song composed by Tagore, its spirit and its lofty ideals. In veneration of Him, the splendours of Bharat are celebrated. The message transcends region and border; it unites us in a universal psalm in praise of He who bestows us with life and everything that is Righteous, Virtuous and Illuminating in life. The indiminishable principles of Equality, Fraternity and Justice, the three pillars on which the majestic Republic of India stands today, flow from the core of the song composed by Tagore.
The first time 'Jana Gana Mana' was sung before an audience was in Calcutta on December 28, 1911, during the 27th session of the Indian National Congress which had a tradition of beginning its proceedings with a song. (Tagore sang Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's 'Vande Mataram' at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.) Subsequently, 'Jana Gana Mana' became one of the anthems of the freedom movement, the other being 'Vande Mataram' which was both a soul-stirring call and song.
Next year 'Jana Gana Mana' was sung during Maghotsab. There are records which tell us it was the opening hymn at the Foundation Day of Adi Brahma Samaj of which Tagore was the mentor and guiding spirit. Such was the response to the song that it was formally included in the list of Brahmo Sangeet sung as part of Brahmo liturgy.
In 1919 Tagore went on a tour of the southern provinces of Bharat. He spent some days at Theosophical College in Madanapalle as a guest of its principal James Cousins. Tagore sung 'Jana Gana Mana' at the college Assembly and explained its philosophical meaning to the students and teachers. An ecstatic Cousins adopted it as the college prayer.
Tagore knew the limitations of a liturgical psalm composed in Classical Sanskitised Bengali in a land as linguistically diverse as Bharat. He spent the next few days translating 'Jana Gana Mana' and writing down the notations of its tune, a task in which he was helped by Margaret, wife of James Cousins, trained in Western classical music. He called the translated version in English 'The Morning Song Of India'.
Tagore's translation of Jana Gana Mana
After Bharat's independence when a National Anthem had to be chosen for the Republic of India, the choice was between Tagore's 'Jana Gana Mana' and Bankim's 'Vande Mataram', both of which had by then become symbols of the freedom movement, inextricably woven into the soaring spirit of Bharat.
What weighed in favour of 'Jana Gana Mana' is that it had already been set to a martial tune by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose who had used a Hindustani version of Tagore's song, 'Subh Sukh Chain' as the Anthem of his Provisional Government and INA. On august 15, 1947, when Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the Tricolour on the ramparts of the Red Fort, Capt Ram Singh Thakur and his orchestra played 'Subh Sukh Chain' to the INA's tune.
'Vande Mataram', on the other hand, was, and continues to be sung, as a hymn to the Motherland. Setting it to a martial tune would rob it off its spirit and denude its soul.
On January 24, 1950, President Babu Rajendra Prasad made the following statement in the Constituent Assembly:
"There is one matter which has been pending for discussion, namely the question of the National Anthem. At one time it was thought that the matter might be brought up before the House and a decision taken by the House by way of a resolution. But it has been felt that, instead of taking a formal decision by means of a resolution, it is better if I make a statement with regard to the National Anthem. Accordingly I make this statement. The composition consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it."
Thus did Tagore's 'Jana Gana Mana' become the National Anthem and Bankim's 'Vande Mataram' the National Song of the Republic of India.
***
Apart from some minor elaboration of the guiding faith of Brahmos to make the language more contemporary and comprehensible, all of this is based on published material available in the public domain. I have merely put it together to present a comprehensive and brief comment.
I wish stalwarts of Bharat's politics and commentariat, the intelligentsia and the naive who are easily persuaded by bunk like 'Jana Gana Mana was composed in veneration of King George V', would care to check facts before parroting bogus allegations. Google Guru is always there to teach them in a few minutes what should have been a lifetime lesson taught in schools.
Unfortunately, when children are taught to venerate the Nehru Dynasty and worship dynasts as the custodians of Bharat's destiny, it is not surprising that little or no popular knowledge exists of all that is sacred, among them the National Anthem and National Song of the glorious Republic of India.
---
*Excerpts. Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/Coffee.Break

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.