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‘Jana Gana Mana‘ – Just a thought for the National Anthem! How well do you know it?
Our national anthem, ‘Jana Gana Mana’, is sung throughout the country. Did you know the following about it? I didn’t. I have always wondered who is the ‘Adhinayak’and ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’, whose praise we are singing. I have always thought it might be Motherland India!
To begin with, Jana Gana Mana, was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen of England when they visited India in 1919. To honour their visit, Pandit Motilal Nehru had five stanzas included that are in praise of the King and Queen. (And most of us think it is in praise of our great motherland.)
In the original Bengali verses only those provinces that were under British rule, i.e., Punjab, Sindh,Gujarat, Maratha, were mentioned. None of the princely states, which are integral parts of India now, such as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore and Kerala, were recognized.
Neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea were included because they were directly under Portuguese rule at that time.
Jana Gana Mana implies that King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata, or ‘the bestower of good fortune’.
Here is a translation of the five stanzas that glorify the King.
Stanza 1: The (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)
Stanza 2: Around your throne, people of all religions come and give their love and anxiously wait to hear your kind words.
Stanza 3: Praise to the King for being the charioteer, for leading the ancient travellers beyond misery.
Stanza 4: Drowned in deep ignorance and suffering, this poverty stricken, unconscious country? Waiting for the wink of your eye and our mother’s (the Queen’s) true protection.
Stanza 5: 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 of it. When you sing Jana Gana Mana, 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 the past 60 years.
Maybe we should shift to Vande Mataram or Saare Jahan Se Achcha, which are far better compositions in praise of India.
Please — let’s see how many people get to know about this.
In Aurobindo Ghose‘s translation: in IAST: Bengali romanization:
I bow to thee, Mother,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
Her nights rejoicing
in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully
with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter,
sweet of speech,
giver of boons, giver of bliss!
BE PROUD TO BE INDIAN.
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