The year was 1911. India, particularly Bengal, had just come out of the political crisis of Partition and was coming to terms with the British decision to shift the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. In the middle of all-round protests against the Partition, the people of the country were recharged once again to fight for ‘freedom’, and then, quietly, a song took birth at a corner of Calcutta, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya Hey, penned by Rabindranath Tagore. Remember, when we all sang our National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, in our school assembly every day? We were asked to stand and give respect to the National Anthem. But did you think about the reason behind respecting it so much? The answer is a big ‘No’.
The fact is we don’t care. We have a tendency of doing and respecting the things which we are told, without knowing the actual reason behind it. If we tell you the reason and the meaning of our National Anthem, you may not respect it the way you used to do.
To begin with, India ‘s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, was written in the honour of King George V and the Queen of England when they visited India. To honour their visit, Pandit Motilal Nehru had the five stanzas included, which are in praise of the King and Queen, and not of our motherland, India.
In the original Bengali verses only those states are mentioned in the Anthem, that were under British rule, that is Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha etc. None of the princely states were recognized which are integral parts of India now Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore or Kerala. Neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea was 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 present 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 Queen, and glory to Rajeshwara (the King). This whole poem does not indicate any love for India. On the other hand, if we talk about Vande Mataram, which was written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1882, it clearly depicts the true love for our motherland. The first line of the song itself says ‘Mother, I salute you’.
Pandit Nehru chose the present national anthem as opposed to Vande Mataram because it would be easier for the band to play, which is an absurd reason. Today for that matter bands have advanced and they can very well play any music. So they can play Vande Mataram, which is a far better composition in praise of our Dear Motherland – India.
So here’s the thing. Is it really too late to influence a change? Will it make sense to do so now? Will it not expose the politicians, who may have known all along but kept quiet?
Let’s hear what you think.
Saluting our Heroes, VANDE MATARAM!