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National anthem of India: a brief on 'Jana Gana Mana'


Last Updated: August 14, 2012, 15:18 IST

National anthem of India: a brief on 'Jana Gana Mana'

"Jana Mana Gana" was originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore.

"Jana Gana Mana" is the national anthem of India. Originally written in Bengali, it is the first of five stanzas of a poem written and later set to notations by Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on December 27, 1911. It was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian national anthem on January 24, 1950.

Though written in Bengali, the language used was sadhu Bengali or tatsama Bengali which was heavily sanskritised. Many of the words exist with the same meaning in different Indian languages and thus, all Indian people understand the words and meaning of the national anthem. A formal rendition of the same takes 52 seconds. A shortened version consisting of the first and last lines takes bout 20 seconds to play.

The words:

Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he

Bharata bhagya vidhata

Punjab Sindhu Gujarata Maratha

Dravida Utkala Banga

Vindhya Himachala Yamuna Ganga

Uchhala jaladhi taranga

Tava subha name jage

Tava subha ashisha mage

Gahe tava jaya gatha

Jana gana mangala dayaka jaya he

Bharata bhagya vidhata

Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he

Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he.

Some people said Tagore had penned the words to welcome King George V who arrived in India the day the song was first sung i.e. December 27, 1911.

Tagore's own statement however refutes the belief that the song was written in praise of George V: 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 [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."

first published:August 14, 2012, 15:18 IST
last updated:August 14, 2012, 15:18 IST
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