Jana Gana Mana

Did you know that our national anthem was composed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911 in honour of King George the fifth and the queen of England? (Some historians say it was 1919 -will have to verify this one) The entire national anthem is in honour and praise of the King and queen of England!!

It implies that King George the fifth is the lord of the masses (bharata Bhagya) and (Vidhaata) ie bestower of good fortune

Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya he
Bharata Bhagya Vidhata
Punjab Sindh Gujrat Maratha, Dravida Utkala Banga
uchchala jaladhi tiranga
Tava Shubha naame Jaage
Tava Shubh aashish maage, gaaye tava jaya gaatha
Jana Gana mangaldayak jaya he
Bharat bhagya vidhaata
Jaya He Jaya He Jaya He
Jaya jaya jaya jaya he

Translated it means the following

Thou art the ruler of the minds of the people, thou dispenser of India’s destiny. Thy name rouses the hearts of the Punjab Sindh Gujrat and Maratha. The Dravid Orissa and Bengal
People wake up remembering your name and ask for your blessings and sing your glories.
Around your throne people of all religions come and give their love and pray for your blessings
Praise be to the charioteer for leading the ancient travellers beyond misery
In your compassionate plans the sleeping Bharat will wake up. We bow down to your feet Oh queen and glory be to the King

Apparently Nehru chose this over Vande Mataram because he thought it would be easier for the band to play.

Now I’m a great patriot and love my national anthem like any other Indian. My heart swells with pride everytime i hear it and i send dirty glances to those that fidget or whisper or refuse to stand when it plays.
I have been singing the national anthem blindly without ever questioning its origin or meaning all my life. Like most of us. So i was surprised by this above  information

I was also dissapointed though this time around not surprised, when Ram Gopal Varma’s revisionist version  of the national anthem was banned by the Supreme court from playing on the channels. Its for his forthcoming movie Rann-based on the media. Me personally thinks that it was a brilliant use of the tune to depict the current crisis our nation is enveloped in. Trust the maverick director to come up with something so ‘Hatke’

Check out the following video and decide for yourself if it desecrated our national anthem in any way

However the best and most brilliant version of the national anthem I have ever heard was recently sent to me by a friend. I am posting it below. It is an audio only file. Please click on the triangle  on the right to hear it

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hope the zealots at the centre do not ban this version too.

After all freedom of expression is our fundamental and constitutional right.

Enjoy  :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

37 thoughts on “Jana Gana Mana”

  1. This is the most adorable version of jana gana mana i have ever heard in my life :-)))))))

    is that your daughter kaveri’s voice?

  2. WOW … loved the version of RGV..kudos to him, and really we are still praising the King and Queen by making this our national anthem???? that’s shocking news…loved the kid’s version tooo…so so cute :)))

  3. The little girl is **absolutely** adorable.

    Yes, it is a well known song that ‘Jan gana mana’ was written for the occasion of the Delhi Durbar in honour of King George. This controversy has been raging for decades. Internet searches reveal that the bard himself was questioned about it and he said he had written it with God in his mind.

    As far as tampering with the national anthem is concerned, it is a sticky topic. The reason they don’t allow you to tamper with it is because once you open it, it is a pandora’s box. Your definition of legitimate would be different from mine. A lot of sensibilities hurt and in a culture like ours that centers around reverence it will not work. Better to leave it sacrosanct.

    Looking at it however as in independent piece of music that is based of another existing piece of music, I will say that the idea is great (many poets like Sahir Ludhianvi have done that in the past for film music), but somewhere down the line it becomes forced and gimmicky. It is great to take an existing piece and then rework your poetry around it. But the ultimate piece should be coherent without a person needing to refer back to the framework of the original piece. This piece sounds incoherent. So I would say good attempt but does not work.

    P.S For seeing how well a good poet can weave a theme around an existing song check out ‘Chin-o-arab hamara’ from ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ (based off Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ ) Sahir takes from Allama Iqbal’s ‘Tarana-e-hind (from which ‘Saare jahan se achcha’ was culled) and gives his own cynical commentary on that misplaced sense of pride. Check it out here, it is brilliant


  4. This was composed in honour of king George the Fifth on his
    arrival at the Gateway of India,when even what is Pakistan today
    was also included.The tune suited the country and the music
    was lilting.Although Ram Gopal Verma has used the song with
    high theatrical effect,it had to be cut as our National Anthem is
    more sacred and cannot be “misused”
    Another similar song can be coined in with slight variations.
    will Varma do it?

  5. Ritu

    thank you for reminding us of the brillaince of Rak Kapoor

    the original is a bit of a dissapointment tho

  6. Pretty cool post. I just came by your site and wanted to say
    that I’ve really liked browsing your blog posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you write again soon!

  7. Cheen-o-Arab Hamara – Phir Subha Hogi will be a good example for Ramu’s lawyers to fight back and try and get the song passed by the censor.

  8. Hi Suchitra,

    Thank you for sharing both the trailor of Rann (the song is so true and like all truth, tastes bitter) and the child’s rendition of the Anthem is so adorable !


  9. Hi Suchitra,

    this is to say that u remind all of us that we r INDIAN & proud 2 b. but u know u wrtten the song line wrongly,

    Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya he
    Bharata Bhagya Vidhata
    Punjab Sindh Gujrat Maratha, Dravida Utkala Banga

    ?????????????????? wht about the line
    bindha himachal yamyna ganga
    uchchala jaladhi tiranga
    Tava Shubha naame Jaage
    Tava Shubh aashish maage, gaaye tava jaya gaatha
    Jana Gana mangaldayak jaya he
    Bharat bhagya vidhaata
    Jaya He Jaya He Jaya He
    Jaya jaya jaya jaya he

    Agar sab hi bharat basi ye mante to aaj desh ka yeh halat nehi hota, koi humse takrata nehi jaise 26.11.08 mumbai & sum other palce. Actualy our corrupt politician who chewing our system.

    Hey Suchitra, NOW we r standing obey to the song & sang for all INDIAN ARMY who protect our country.

    Take care & god balss.:)

  10. hi rupesh! ur reproduction of the national anthem is phonetically also very correct1
    Jaya hey bharat bhagya vidhata!
    these lines should stay etched in our memory throughout our life!

  11. Tagore was asked to compose a song praising George V, but we of all
    people should know that this Nobel Laureate was very good with the words.
    He composed a song referring to “Bharath Maata”, but still kept it
    ambiguous to fool the Englishmen….

    “Vande Mataram” was not chosen as National Anthem as the full song
    referred to India as Durga (Hindu Goddess) which could have offended the

    RGV’s take on the National Anthem was good, hoping that the movie is better than this.

  12. the childs version of the national anthem is too good

    better than the rann version or the original for that matter :-0

  13. why not Vande Matram can be ??

    why have we to decide everything on the basis of being muslim offending even on slightest issue,
    we hindu not offend when we hear song “Saare Jahan Se Achha” sung by iqbal (artitect of pakistan)
    or when our history textbooks call “Akbar the Great” despite his massacres of innocent hindus

    but whenever thing comes to nationalism everything start offending muslims !!

  14. It pains me to see the ignorance of our fellow Indians who after 60 years of independance does not know the significance of the National Anthem. BharataBhagyavidhata is the Supreme God who will decide India’s destiny. The poet is asking for God’s blessings

  15. A very interesting post! Though, I cannot believe, even in the wildest of my imagination, that Tagore would do such a thing. Even if he did verbally ‘say’ that the anthem was in praise of the King and Queen, I am most certain, that he wrote this with the Supreme being in mind. People in those times had a lot of self-respect and loved the nation. Which is quite unlike us today.

  16. And I definitely am against RGV or any Tom Dick or Harry tampering with the National Anthem. As Indians, we must take pride in SOMETHING atleast!! We might not know our religion or our culture … but the least we can do is protect our anthem. Had this taken place in any other country, the perpetrator would have been beheaded by now.

    This reminds me of Hussain painting the Godess Saraswathi nude. How dare he?!
    Why didn’t he paint his Allah in the nude? Because they would have massacred him.

    So yes, as Indians, we have got to stand for something that we believe in. Or else, we will be stamped all over, like we have been over the centuries.

  17. It has been a fashion nowadays to tamper what is good and classic , we see classic novels by eminent writers filmed in distored manners to gain cheap popularity.
    Tagore gave up his Knighthood as a mark of protest of Jalianwallabag massacre and he wrote a letter regarding this which is a classic one.
    His patriotic songs inspired the freedom fighters of our country.
    He was againsts any type of narrowness , in the poem Where the mind is without fear he prays to God to lead India in a heaven where the mind is without fear , the head is held high, where the knowlege is free , whrer the people are not divided in terms of religion , cast and creed.
    He wanted universal brotherhood, not fanatism in the name of blind patriotism.
    So without knowing about such a great personality it is highly objectioable to comment that he wrote our National Anthem to praise some people of a foreign country who had oppressed India for 250 long years.

  18. Sorry there are some typological mistakes in my previous mail like fanaticism , objectionable , protest against etc.

  19. Whew!

    Just a passerby here and quite an interesting post.
    I remember reading somewhere, that the tune for our national anthem was composed by a Frenchman.

    Can someone clarify??

    But then, it is quite a tune….

    Also, there have been email forwards that our national anthem was chosen as THE BEST by the UN.
    How correct is this??


  20. this is a nice way to show hiow patriotic u r.
    i have been seriously looking for our National Anthem via google search & by accident i hard this. .

    plz don’t do these things.

    ur fan……

  21. Hi,
    I would like to quote following:
    Gidwani was satisfied that Jana Gana Mana was the soulful creation of Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore and was concerned with India’s cultural & spiritual presentation and destiny – and, there was absolutely no truth in the frivolous hoax that Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana was intended to honor King George V. As to petty remarks on various websites which may carry this canard, Bhagwan Gidwani quoted Gurudev Tagore’s words: “I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind.”

    From site: http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_050424.htm

  22. It is appalling to find that indian people can so easily be misled even 60 years past out freedom. Yes it may be true that Tagore may have written the poem, after being requested to write one for King George in 1911, but does that mean he is praising King George in it? Definitely not and it is something I could make out just be going through the words when I was a kid (long before wikipedia).

    Anyway for all others who still need enlightment here is the following (from wikipedia):

    On a visit to India, the poet Yeats received a visit from an Indian admirer who was also, in Yeats’ words, “an Indian devotee” of Tagore. In a letter to a lady friend, Yeats quoted this unnamed devotee as giving him a ‘strictly off the records’ version of events dealing with the writing of Jana Gana Mana. Thus, Tagore is said to have written the poem in honour of God. In a letter to Pulin Behari Sen, Tagore himself 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 [ed. God of Destiny] 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.”

    All Tagore wanted to say (poetically) was India’s destiny is not something the British or any other empire can shape. It is our own and forever will be. Use your common sense and try and respect the brave man who had the guts to recite it in 1911 to the highest ranking british officer.

  23. @ Ra
    ITs so typical.. bengalis jumping with all the dhals and talwars to protect the parochial image of ‘Indias Greatest Man’ RabindraNath Tagore who did nothing better than sucking up to the British. It was sung in the honor of King george and the Queen. Period!Its a proven fact! however, regardless of its history we are proud of our national anthem

  24. I was shocked to see our NATIONAL ANTHEM in such a version here. Please, let’s have an official version if you really take pride in being an Indian.

  25. I loved the kid’s version of jana gana mana too…..atleast she completed it in 52 seconds…..far better than one that is shown in PVR theaters where the elite singers of India rape the song with their stupid emotions and disorder (well to stand fit and straight is the way I was taught to respect it and I grew up with it….but if some one sings it in his own way for god knows how long with all their dramatic expressions….I could probably dance to this song to show my respect… a modern free style hip hop choreography for jana gana mana….. that will be my way of respecting the nation….)

    I absolutely loved RGV’s version of jana gana mana for rann….atleast it has some feel for it and used to express the movie’s emotion rather than broadcast it for a bunch of movie going pimps and bitches searching for corner seats in dark movie theaters like PVR cinemas do…..I can’t control my laughter when guys try hard to stand straight in cinema theater just to show off their patriotism…..

  26. This kids song is not national anthem. It is the national spirit. Look at the sincerity. Look at the faithfulness to correct herself when she thought she was wrong. All just to show, “I too am there for us”. That is the bright future I saw in her spirited performance.

    There is one big doubt in my mind – politics apart I adore Tagore as a great poet – as the one who taught us the true meaning of freedom. But in politics it took a Jallianwala bagh for him to realize the importance of Swadesh. This is clear from what he wrote before that and after. I have no right to comment on such great poet’s life but if only this doubt be cleared…
    ak rajarajan

  27. Dont think you should be posting unvalidated stuff on the blog. There is no point in promoting such speculation. If you can validate it share that too.

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