Tuesday, September 14, 2004

National Anthem Throwdown: Jana Gana Mana vs. Bande Mataram

A really informative piece by Pradip Kumar Datta has just been posted on SACW, on the history of India's national anthem. The current anthem is Rabindranath Tagore's "Jana Gana Mana." (See the entry at Wikipedia for the text and translation of the song)

The Hindu right has been casting aspersions on it recently (Datta cites Sadhvi Rithambara's "hate cassette" as well as websites like www.freeindia.org). The reason: it was composed by Tagore on the occasion of King George V's visit to the Indian National Congress in 1911. Tagore was famously ambivalent about the commission, and wrote the song as he did as an act -- he thought -- of subversion. But I suppose it's also possible to say that the song, written to celebrate the visit of the English king, loses some autonomy through that history. Still, the details are worth pursuing, and the virtue of Datta's article is that he has access to the original coverage of the event in the English-language press of the day:

The confusion about the song was stirred up by the ineptness of the pro-British Anglo-Indian press. Their inefficiency was not surprising (The Sunday Times once ascribed the authorship of Bande Mataram to Tagore and described Jana Gana Mana as a Hindi song!) On this occasion the Anglo-Indian press -- led by The Englishman - almost uniformly reported that a Tagore song had been sung to commemorate George V's visit to India. The reports were based on understandable ignorance since the Anglo-Indian press had neither the linguistic abilities nor the interest to be accurate. Actually, two songs that had been sung that day. The Jana Gana Mana had been followed by a Hindi song composed specially for George V by Rambhuj Chaudhary. There was no real connection between the composition of the Jana Gana Mana and George V, except that the song was sung -- not written - at an event which also felicitated the king. The Anglo-Indian press [luckily for Hindutva enthusiasts and unfortunately for secularists!] heard Indian songs much in the way they looked at foreign faces: they were all the same!

In short, the English press was clueless, but that cluelessness might have actually slowed the adaptation of the song amongst Indian nationalists. Whatever the case, eventually the song would become strongly identified with the nationalist movement. It was even eventually adapted by Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army. You can't get more nationalist than that.

The critics of "Jana Gana Mana" would prefer to see it replaced by "Bande Mataram," also sometimes spelled "Vande Mataram") composed by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, also sometimes spelled as Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. "Bande Mataram" (see the song here, with translation by the poet Sri Aurobindo) treats India as a Goddess to be worshipped. It was demoted from official anthem status, Datta says, because orthodox Indian Muslims (probably also Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, and Christians) would have had a hard time worshipping a "Goddess" of any form, even if, in the song, the "Mataram" isn't named as specifically Hindu.

[And if that's sexism, well, it probably is. But keep in mind that woman-as-Goddess isn't always a pro-feminist image -- it depends what kind of Goddess. But I digress.]

Finally, Datta makes a great point about the differences in the image of India in the two anthems:

But there is also an underlying reason that is really responsible for the controversy popping up at regular intervals. The words of Bande Mataram feature India as a homogeneous Hindu nation. Jana Gana Mana evokes the country as composed of a multiplicity of regions and communities united in a prayer to a universal lord. After all, Bande Mataram was composed by a colonial administrator who could only visualize the nation in Hindu terms: religious identity was the only available idiom for conceptualizing the nation then. In contrast, Tagore had seen the riots that broke up the Swadeshi movement and had divined the obvious: religious nationalism easily divided anti-colonial struggles. Jana Gana Mana can be seen as one of the fruits of Tagore's search to find an alternate inclusivist definition for the nation. Incidentally, it was one of the harbingers of a decade that was to see Hindu and Muslim politicians draw together. In short, the two songs embody different ideas, histories and aspirations of the country.

Well said.

Personally, I prefer Mohammed Iqbal's "Sare Jaha se Achcha." I find it easiest to understand (after all, the other two are Bengali songs originally), and easier to sing than either of the others.

But then, I didn't grow up with any of these songs. Rather, the national anthem I grew up singing (badly, without much comprehension), was written by one Francis Scott Key: "O say can you see..."

18 comments:

Assorted Observations and Thoughts said...

Just wish to say that I like your blog. Came to it through http://www.lbc.typepad.com/ about which I read in the Sunday Indian Express.
Good Wishes
Manoranjan

thinkpad said...

Hi,

I typed "Hatterr - Desani" in google search and I was at your page. I am pursuing literature at the University of Delhi and forgot all about my search after I hit this page.

I really enjoyed exploring your site and appreciate the effort you have put in.

I found help on HD as well, and this particular write-up about the national anthem was the eye-catcher.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Before reading this article I too thought that our national anthem was composed for GeoegeV but I was still searching for alternate views and your article is very convincing and well researched.
Good job

Raghvendra said...

Dear Sir, Thank you
You have done excellent job.
Now there is no controversy behind regarding Jana Gana Mana in my mind.

Thanks Again for your efforts...
Raghvendra S. Raghuwanshi
Pune Bharat

Shumon Sengupta said...

“Glorious History” and “Dynamic Present”

In this article I challenge the article on Vande Mataram on freeindia.org (http://www.freeindia.org/vmataram/)

It is worth noting that Freeindia.org is a right wing nationalist forum. Not that I have any problems with that – in fact I find them useful because the more I read about their arguments, the more I am convinced of my own! It is important to understand the underlying agenda of this part of our political spectrum - their agenda is to create a so called Hindu India.

To give it to Freeindia, the article is epistemologically more or less defendable. They have largely stuck to historical facts (as established by reputed historians). What is however not defendable are some of the basic premises of the article, which are essentially repugnant to the pluralistic and multi-cultural character of a country like India.

1. Please note that Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was a nationalist (apart from being a towering figure of Bengali literature) and also a Hindu revivalist. The same can be said with other eminent personalities mentioned in the article - such as Pandit. V.D. Paluskar (I have a very old recording of his on CD and he is amazing) and Rishi Auribindo. Bamkim Chandra’s picture of India was essentially “Hindu India”, with other religious groups on the fringes.

I therefore reject this tunneled vision of India – a vision that is narrowly defined primarily on “Hindu” terms and with “Hindu idioms”. To me India is a large and hugely diverse country (and I emphasize not a Hindu country as Freeindia would like to believe) with “many distinct pursuits, vastly different convictions, widely divergent customs and a feast of viewpoints” and I am proud of this.

2. As a Bengali (with a fairly good understanding of the language), I can well appreciate the lyrical beauty, divine serenity, depth and intensity of Vande Mataram as well as the amazing visual imagery that the song portrays. It is indeed a picture of some parts of southern and Bengal (as well as Bangladesh) that I have personally experienced – a picture of mother nature at her generous, glorious and beautiful best.

To quote from the freeindia article: "When the objection was raised to the adoption of VM as the national anthem on the ground that it was full of idolatry, Aurobindo said Durga to whom it paid homage was none other than Bharata Mata symbolising Knowledge, Power, Greatness and Glory." (Resurgent India, p.191)”

At a personal level it is OK to associate one’s country with god / goddess - but to view “Mother India” in the form of “Durga”, “Lakshmi” or “Saraswati” in a national anthem, that is expected to be sung by all religious denominations, is outright communal and exclusionist in its conception.

As a Hindu I reject the depiction of India exclusively in terms of Hindu goddesses and condemn such sectarian Hindu arrogance.

3. To quote another section form the article: “It came as a great shock to the people that Maulana Md. Ali should object the singing of Vande Mataram (at the INC session). There was no doubt that this was an indication of a mentality of separatism which refused to identify itself with the mainstream of national life”.

This statement is nothing short of being outrageous because it indicates that anyone who doesn’t associate himself / herself with “Hindu” symbols is not a part of the national main-stream. If Maulana Md. Ali was communal, so is the author of the article.

Further - Freeindia writes – “The opposition of Muslim League to Vande Mataram, however, continued to wax and they started putting pressure on Congress leadership against the singing of this song. It was the height of irony on the part of the Muslim League, which was bent upon breaking the unity of India, emotionally, geographically, and in all other ways, to express its concern about 'the growth of genuine natinalism'. Those in Congress who were eager to pander to every slightest wish of the League were agitated, and a feeling developed that unless Muslim League is dissatisfied and it was won over the unity of the country would be imperilled. In such a situation CWC in 1937 decided to maim and curtail the national song.”

The politics of the Congress and the Muslim League does not bother me (and is not the main issue here) as much as does the conception of “Genuine Nationalism” by the Hindu right wing. “Genuine” Nationalism according to freeindia actually means “Hindu” Nationalism.

I reject this construct and condemn such fascist tendency of the “Right-wing Hindu Nationalists” as dangerously anti-national and sinister.

4. The Cambridge History of India rightly puts it: "The greatest and most enduring gift of the swedeshi movement was Vande Mataram, the uncrowned national anthem."

Vande Mataram was relevant at that point of time and did inspire patriotism during the swedeshi movement and probably afterwards as well . But lets us also not forget that it was conveniently abused by Hindu rioters and they shouted “Vande Mataram” while engaging in rioting. In my view, the political and social relevance of Vande Mataram limited in the present context.

As Dr. Rajendra Prasad put it at the Constituent assembly on 24 January 1950 “…and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honored equally with Janaganamana and shall have equal status with it.”

For me Vande Mataram represents glorious past and of course is a magnificently beautiful and wonderfully lyrical song of significant literary value. I cherish it and honor it as such. However for me Vande Mataram is “glorious history”.

On the other hand, Jana Gana Mana for me is about that eternal collective guiding spirit that guides India - a country that is composed of a multiplicity of regions and communities. It is about India united in a prayer to a universal lord. For me, Jana Gana Mana is the “dynamic present” and the future of this glorious country.

I therefore oppose the move to foist Vande Mataram as our national Anthem in place of Jana Gana Mana.

Shumon Sengupta
Hyderabad
July - 06

Shumon Sengupta said...

A friend of mine recently forwarded me a email chain that aims at mobilizing support to substitute Jana Gana Mana with Vande Mataram as India’s National Anthem.

And as far as the contrived Jana Gana Mana controversy is concerned, I would urge everyone to study Tagore more extensively before jumping on the bandwagon or making unsubstantiated pronouncements.

1. The email chain that I am referring to, ill motivated as it might be by crass jingoism and “Hindu” right wing propaganda, has as its basis extremely limited knowledge of, or familiarity with, the life and works of Tagore. It also reflects the intellectual impotence and establishes beyond doubt that this particular end of India’s political spectrum just does not possess the capacity to grasp Tagore, his life, work and contribution as one of the most articulate spokesmen of modern India.

2. Further it also reflects a false reading / understanding of history – rather I fear a deliberate attempt at distorting it.


I shall take up the two issues one after the other and for this, I refer to writings by Dr. Monish R. Chatterjee (University of Dayton, Ohio), Dr. Pradip Kumar Datta (Delhi University). Prof Amardeep SIngh and writings of Prof Amartya Sen and host of other Tagore Scholars.

1. About Tagore:

Anyone even moderately informed about the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore cannot have the slightest doubt about the greatness of this towering figure of human civilization and culture, measured by any standard anywhere in the world.

Despite belonging to probably the most “elite” family and lineage of his time, Tagore used every fruitful moment of his long creative life to understand, empathize with, and defend the history, culture, and people of India. His sincere belief in India's crying need to be freed of colonial oppression has been expressed profoundly and eloquently in vast and profuse areas of his writings, some of which can be traced back to his late teens and early twenties! Further, Tagore was a very proud (including of his heritage) man and he could well afford to be so. He had deep-seated disdain and contempt for colonial rule and rulers, although he had the highest regards for European civilization and culture.



Who is this “Bhagya Vidhata”?

Those of you who have read Tagore’s poetry and lyrics on “devotion” (Gitanjali for example) will know that if there was a divine entity to whom Tagore addressed many of his heartfelt yearnings for communion, it was a “Monarch” infinitely greater than any mortal King Emperor could ever aspire to be.

The Lord of India's Destiny, to whom Jana Gana Mana is officially addressed, is in Tagore’s conception the perennial Bhagya Vidhata of India who has, from the very dawn of civilization, guided India through great triumphs and tragedies. The Lord of India in Tagore’s conception is therefore India's “eternal guiding spirit” (a totally secular idea) and could never be merely the king of a colonial empire!

I can understand that one needs some bit of the intellectual orientation and some sense of refinement to appreciate this subtlety – which I am afraid is not necessarily the hall marks of the right wind, Hindu Nationalist propaganda machinery.

It is hardly necessary to point out that if Tagore had the slightest weakness towards, or preference for the British monarchy, his staunch and steadfast opposition to British rule would seriously contradict any such deeply guarded fantasy. His relinquishing of the Knighthood honor (received at the hands of the very same monarch to whom, according to the detractors, he supposedly offered such unabashed tributes) in protest against the Amritsar (Jallianwallah Bagh) massacre in 1919, is likewise a study in stark contrast.

B) Now let me take up the second issue – the history of Jana Gana Mana from an epistemologically sound perspective:

The main cause for confusion as per historical records:

The charge that Jana Gana Mana was composed for George V actually rests on false evidence given by the pro-British press. The song was first sung in a session of the Congress in 1911. This session had decided to felicitate George V since he had announced the abrogation of the partition of Bengal, thereby conceding the success of the Swadeshi agitation, the first modern anti-colonial movement that had started in 1905. The day after the session the nationalist Indian papers normally -- and accurately -- reported that a Tagore composition had been sung. The Bengalee -- along with other Indian newspapers as well as the report of the Indian National Congress - reported that it was a "patriotic song". The following year the song was published as "Bharat -- Vidatha". A contemporary commentator in the vernacular Bharati described the song as one in "Praise of the Dispenser of human Destiny, who appears in every age." He probably came closest to capturing its spirit. This song was to later become known as Jana Gana Mana.

The confusion about the song was stirred up by the ineptness of the pro-British Anglo-Indian press. Their inefficiency was not surprising (The Sunday Times once ascribed the authorship of Bande Mataram to Tagore and described Jana Gana Mana as a Hindi song!) On this occasion the Anglo-Indian press -- led by The Englishman - almost uniformly reported that a Tagore song had been sung to commemorate George V's visit to India. The reports were based on understandable ignorance since the Anglo-Indian press had neither the linguistic abilities nor the interest to be accurate. Actually, two songs that had been sung that day. The Jana Gana Mana had been followed by a Hindi song composed specially for George V by Rambhuj Chaudhary. There was no real connection between the composition of the Jana Gana Mana and George V, except that the song was sung -- not written - at an event which also felicitated the king.

Initially the controversy seemed a non-starter. Contemporaries obviously found it hard to associate Tagore with servility. Tagore was known for this opposition to the government.

What we know from Tagore’s works and limited correspondence on this:

In Tagore's collected works, it is mentioned that the Indian National Congress requested that Tagore write a felicitation to the King Emperor as an appeasement gesture to the British monarchy in response to the annulment of the Bengal Partition Act.

Not only was Tagore troubled by the request, he was downright offended by it. It is said that Jana Gana Mana was written more out of protest and rebellion than adoration towards the monarchy. An objective reading of the song should make it eminently clear as to whom the poet decided to offer his worship.

In a letter to Pulin Behari Sen, Tagore later wrote, "A certain high official in His Majesty's service, who was also my friend, had requested that I write a song of felicitation towards the Emperor. The request simply amazed me. It caused a great stir in my heart. In response to that great mental turmoil, I pronounced the victory in Jana Gana Mana of that “Bhagya Vidhata” of India who has from age after age held steadfast the reins of India's chariot through rise and fall, through the straight path and the curved. That Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George. Even my official friend understood this about the song. After all, even if his admiration for the crown was excessive, he was not lacking in simple common sense."

Tagore said that he felt too pained by the unjustness of the charge to come out with a public refutation. Well there was really no need. There are many around who understand Tagore enough, not to require a public refutation.

Intellectual impotence of tragic consequence / indifferent scholarship combining with a distorted ideology

Epistemology and intellectual enquiry (done on a scientific basis) I am afraid, has never been the hall mark of the Hindu right wing. Professor Amartya Sen writes in “The Argumentative Indian”:

“ Following the electoral victory of the coalitions led by the BJP in 1998 and 1999, various arms of the government of India were mobilized in the tasks of arranging ‘appropriate’ rewritings of Indian history” in what was a blatant case of “abuse of temporal power”…” The rapidly reorganized NCERT became busy from shortly after the BJP’s assumption of office, not only in producing fresh textbooks for Indian school children, but also in deleting sections from books produced earlier by NCERT itself (under pre-BJP management), written by reputed Indian historians”…. “The speed of the attempted textbook revision had to be so fast that the newly reconstituted NCERT evidently had some difficulty in finding historians to do the tasks who would be both reasonably distinguished and adequately compliant” … “The Hindu, a leading daily, put the gravity of the problem in perspective when it pointed to the ‘havoc that indifferent scholarship combining with a distorted ideology could cause in school education’ ”.


How / why Jana Gana Mana was chosen over Vande Mataram

In a survey made just before the poet’s death in 1941 in Mumbai, respondents felt Jana Gana Mana to have the strongest "national characteristics" although Bande Mataram was found superior on some other criteria. The dirt thrown by the pro-British press seemed to have been completely wrung out when Netaji Bose's Indian National Army adopted it as the National Anthem; this was followed by Gandhij’s declaration in 1946 that "the song has found a place in our national life": that it was "also like a devotional hymn".

The critics of "Jana Gana Mana" and the initiator of this email chain would prefer to see it replaced by "Vande Mataram," composed by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, the another literary giant (and a Hindu revivalist) from Bengal.
"Bande Mataram" - sublime and lyrical as it is, treats India as a Goddess to be worshipped. The words of Bande Mataram feature India as a “homogeneous Hindu” nation (on the other hand India today is a proudly heterogeneous nation and a secular democratic republic) and the lyrics understandably controversial since its invocation of the nation as a “Goddess” goes against Islamic theology which forbids the worship of any God other than Allah. Further the Bande Mataram had been successfully (and very tragically) converted into a sign of communal antagonism by Hindu communalists (with the enthusiastic participation of their Muslim counterparts, who regarded the song as a horrible provocation) and even chanted it as a slogan in riots, with the Muslims responding with “Allah ho Akbar”! Despite being a Hindu revivalist, Bankim Chandra would have been horrified at this grotesque use of his beautiful creation by Hindus, if this happened during his life time.
On the other hand, Jana Gana Mana evokes the country as composed of a multiplicity of regions and communities united in a prayer to a universal lord. After all, Bande Mataram was composed by a colonial administrator who could only visualize the nation in Hindu terms: religious identity was the only available idiom for conceptualizing the nation then. In contrast, Tagore had seen the riots that broke up the Swadeshi movement and had divined the obvious: religious nationalism easily divided anti-colonial struggles.
Jana Gana Mana can be seen as one of the fruits of Tagore's search to find an alternate inclusivist definition for the nation. Incidentally, it was one of the harbingers of a decade that was to see Hindu and Muslim politicians draw together. In short, the two songs embody different ideas, histories and aspirations of the country.
Jana Gana Mana was chosen as anthem in 1950 over Bande Mataram as well as Iqbal's Sare Jahan Se Accha - although Bande Mataram was given "equal status". One of the reasons (and certainly not the most important one) apparently was that Bande Mataram could not be played by bands. Additionally Jana Gana Mana enjoyed an international reputation. It had been greatly appreciated in the United Nations at New York where it was first played as an orchestral arrangement in 1947. Many said that it was superior to most national anthems in the world. Within the country the overwhelming majority of the provinces supported its nomination.
I would conclude by asserting that the anti-Jana Gana Mana campaign is at best ill informed and ignorant and at worst sinister in its jingoistic inspiration.
I detest sectarian and identity politics and fear the sinister movement to shape India as a Hindu nation based on exclusion and denial of our pluralistic character and identity. Therefore I condemn the very motive behind this email chain and the move to foist Vande Mataram (beautiful as it is) in Jana Gana Mana’s place.
Shumon Sengupta
July - 06

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between the right wing agenda and the article opposing it. Fundamentally they are the same: ignorant of the history of India that didn't begin arbitrarily in 1947 or 1757 or 1100 AD.

To ignore the secular (which actually means atheistic, not all religions are equal) and theistic philosophies of ancient India, and their cutural extensions spanning millenia is neither scholarship, nor honesty.

How is a policy secular when no one is willing to even study the history between 1000-1947AD with honesty, or the history and language that archive the vast expanse of the history that preceded from 5000BC?

Why should one be offended only selectively by a certain period of history, and remain ignorant or dismiss another period of the history of India?

Is anyone offended by the history between 1000 and 1900AD when India was under invasion forces? If the citizens have assimilated the history and became secular, why no one would display the destruction of India over a thousand years by non-hindu religious bigotry in the museums and books with vidid evidences? After all these are also the shared history of everyone in the secular India that must not entertain any "religious" agenda.

In secular India, both hindu or non-hindus should also take great pride in learning the sanskrit language and learn the history of India since the beginning. Nothing should offend no one when we are talking about the history. Sanskrit/proto-sanskrit/ancient-tamil should not be compared with Urdu or English in "secular" politics. Ancient India's history is not written in the modern language and therefore ancient languages have different privileges on secular grounds. But we witness the opposite, the secular is not secular but "religious" politics-- left, right or otherwise.

Over emphasis on "pluralistic" is nothing but a direct influence of the very rich and openminded "Hindu" tradition, and not any other culture. There need not be an allergic reaction to everything that may be "hindu". Afterall Indic civilization has been shaped by centuries of "hindu" trials, be they hindu icons, philosophies, intelligence or ignorance for millenia.

It was this open-ended ever-assimilating "janagana" "pluralistic" yet singular societty that was misunderstood, invaded, and almost destroyed, and looked down upon for over a thousand years by the "non-hindu" mono-limited traditions. That is also a history.

On one hand, one has to trouble with disposing everything hindu on religious ground, or to not offend the other mono-limited traditions in the badly translated "secular" religious framework, and on the other hand the necessary celebration of plurality cannot be denied its uniquely "Hindu" origin that indegenously developed through the hindu iconography, art, music, food, philosophy, rituals over millenia.

Precisly this paradox created the polarized religious politics of today ("secular" is essentially a religious politics) and dishonesty from all sides makes it harder to maintain the true secular unity in diversity that lasted for millenia without the modern deformed interpretation or ill-informed scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sengupta, do you think the minority holy book is relevant to today's society? However, people do follow it, quite blindly too. So I do not think VM has lost its relevance. Also, I agree with some previous posts that not everything hindu needs to be taken out for the sake of being secular. You can't make everyone happy all the time. Isn't it time India realize and concentrate on this idea?

ABDUS SHUKUR said...

I HAVE READ ALL YOUR ARTICLES;MR. SUMAN DASGUPTA HAS GIVEN A VERY BALANCED VIEW OF THE ENTIRE SCENARIO.THE VIEW OF ONE'ANONYMOUS' IS DANGEROUS HE WANTS THAT SECULAR FABRIC OF THE COUNTRY BE REPLACED BY A HINDU NATION.HOWAVER I MAY ADD SOME NEW POINTS,I THINK,THERE WERE SOME OTHER SONGS WHICH DESERVED MORE ATTENTION PARTICULARLY 'SARE JAHAN SE ACHHA HTNDUSANTHA---'WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER SELECTION.ASONG BY POET D.L.ROY OF BENGAL MAY ALSO BE CONSIDERED.ANYWAY AT THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES 'JANA GANA MANA --' IS IRREPLACABLE.
MR. A. SHUKUR

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the explanation here. I greatly admired both songs in Khabi Khushie Khabie Gham, and knew that there had been controversy concerning their juxtaposition in the film. Though I still don't understand the issues fully, I can certainly understand and appreciate the issues a little more after reading all this. Again, thanks from this New Jersey girl.

Anonymous said...

Can we perform classical dance on Jan gan man, Music produced by A.R. Rahman

Kappo said...

Thank you Amardeep. Your blog is an enormous wealth of information.

I would like to contribute the following:

I think all the controversy regarding the origins of Our national anthem is devoid of any meaning other than an activity arousing intellectual curiosity. Once debated and finally endorsed by the Constitutional Assembly, both masterpieces of literature are finally and eternally embedded in the fabric of free India. It really doesn't matter whether they were composed in the praise any king, or a goddess.

It is THE NATIONAL ANTHEM ! It is our NATIONAL SONG ! They bridge the souls of people and the nation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Amardeep
Thank you for this article. I share your views and am happy that you have put them down in such an organised way.
Thank you.
Mitra

praveen said...

thankyou for providing accurate information about national anthem...now am fully convinced and i dont have a second thought regarding naational anthem.

Suresh said...

Thank you Amardeep...woderfully written...you are such a genious that you were able to find that all the median during Britih were wrong (because you got one example also) and that is why Jana gana mana was understood wrongly...In that way all medais are wrong, because all of them had reported some thing wrong at some point of time (including BBC).
Also, you are in a function were you are welcoming a rler who is ruling you as a slave and in that function you are singing a song where you say...you are jan man nayak, you are Bharath bhagya vidhatha etc. and you still say that it is against him...wonderful idea...

Raju said...

Do not forgot "Vandamatram" is word By chanting give enromas energy to freedom fighters. vandamatram never never never replace any national song.

Tommy Hilfiger said...

I think all the controversy regarding the origins of Our national anthem is devoid of any meaning other than an activity arousing intellectual curiosity. Once debated and finally endorsed by the Constitutional Assembly, both masterpieces of literature are finally and eternally embedded in the fabric of free India. It really doesn't matter whether they were composed in the praise any king, or a goddess.

Manu said...

I have read the entire blog and all the comments there on so far. It is surprising that words "Vande Mataram" has been described as the 'praise of goddess'. None, including the so-called secularists, has mentioned or objected that the word "Mataram" means mother and not goddess. It is the 'Mother India' and not the 'Goddess India' which has been praised here. Sikhs, Jains, Christians and other Indian minorities had never ever objected to singing of VM, it's only Muslim who object because for them a mother is nothing but a woman (read object of pleasure) and does not evoke veneration. In fact, Indian army is constituted mostly of Sikhs and they feel proud in singing VM.

At another place Shumon Sengupta says that Gurudev Rabindranath had said, quote, "It caused a great stir in my heart..." while asked to wrote a piece by a high official. If that was the case, the Gurudev should have altogether rejected the request but he went ahead and wrote and wrote in such a way that it indeed sounded in the praise of the King Emperor George V. don't you see a paradox here Mr. Sengupta?

As for his relinquishing 'Knighhood', there is nothing in contrast. The 'Jalianwalabagh' happened more than 4 years later of George V's visit and he returned the 'Knighthood' in protest. If Gurudev Tagore had any aversion to the King, he would not have accepted it in the first place.

Come on out of your shell, you all so-called 'secularists', and accept the reality. Anything can be justified by twisting the facts and words.

Personally, I also believe that "Sare jahaan se achchha..." is a better rendition and reflects the true Indian spirit but it was unfortunate that Allama Iqbal, the writer of this beautiful song, later turned anti-India and migrated to Pakistan and this song lost the chance of being our National Anthem.