Jana-gana-mana: Mera Bharat, Meri Jaan ?

A song that instills national pride and patriotism, a song that echoes in the hearts of every Indian ?

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The National Anthem for any country is a reflection of how its people perceive their home to be. It is not just a song that we sing but rather a bond that unites us all.

Jana-Gana-Mana, written by Rabindranath Tagore was adopted as India’s national anthem on 26th December, 1911 when it was first sung in the Indian National Congress meeting in Calcutta.

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Originally written in Bengali, historians claim that the hymn praises King George V (being referred to “Bharat Bhagya Vidhata”) since the time the song was written coincides with his visit to India. A lesser known fact is that it was composed as a song with 5 stanzas but only the first stanza got adopted as the anthem. Literally, the anthem translates into :

Indian Flag Fist

Oh! the ruler of the minds of people, Victory be to You,

Dispenser of the destiny of India!

Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,

Dravid (South India), Orissa, and Bengal,

The Vindhya, the Himalayas, the Yamuna, the Ganges,

And the oceans with foaming waves all around.

Wake up listening to Your auspicious name,

Ask for Your auspicious blessings,

And sing to Your glorious victory.

Oh! You who impart well being to the people,

Victory be to You, dispenser of the destiny of India!

Victory, victory, victory to You!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh26zOjIh9I

However, beyond the etymology of the anthem itself, what deserves notice is how the Indian Penal Code defines any violation or disregard to the anthem as a punishable offence. Yes, no kidding.

The past has witnessed controversial cases wherein the people refused to stand up or sing the national anthem. Disregarding the term ‘freedom of religion’, the government penalized the accused under Sec 6, IPC. But why did I mention this ?

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Given the above mentioned situation, it makes me anxious to understand the purpose behind singing the anthem. This article began with a question about what the anthem signifies. But is an anthem what it really takes for us to love our country? I think I’ll differ.

An anthem is only the song of glory that gleams of the joy one feels towards his country. By making someone sing the anthem, you cannot possibly make them love the country. By forcing someone to stand up as a matter of respect, you cant make them honor the nation.

In the quest for new avenues, somewhere between political and economic conflict, the anthem seems to be losing it’s real meaning and purpose. It is a metaphoric symbol of love for your home and it is meant to be a song that every Indian feels united with. As a kid, we need to make them feel the beauty and harmony of togetherness instead of just telling them to memorise the lines.
The next time you hear the anthem, you should first feel a proud Indian and be grateful for your home and then sing along, willingly.

 

 

 

Picture Credits- Google images
By Pratishtha Khattar

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