Why is ‘Jana gana mana’ our national anthem?

[Update, Aug 18: The wikipedia post, link to which I did provide in the original post, suggests this theory that Tagore purposefully wrote a masterpiece that did not include any direct praise for the British Emperor. He wrote this poem to honour a certain god who is the Bhaagya Vidhata of Bharat. However this theory seems to have surfaced a lot later. And Tagore did sing this poem himself on Dec 28, 1911 to welcome the King.]

We were talking about independence last evening when my mom asked me a question. Why is “Jana gana mana” (or “Jan gan man”) our national anthem when it was written in 1911 to honour the King of England! She said there have been controversies around this, in late 1960s, and early 1980s.

I had never given it a thought, so I sang the anthem to myself, and pondered what it really means.

  • Jana gana mana adhinaayak jaya he: Who is this “adhinayak” (super hero) of “Jana gana mana” (in the minds of the people)?
  • Bharat Bhaagya Vidhata: Who exactly is our “Bhaagya Vidhata” (lord of destiny)?
  • Gaye tava jaya gaatha: Who is this “Tava” (your) whose “jaya gaatha” (story of victory) we all sing?

My mom then told me this story that it was originally written to welcome and praise King George V !! The “Adhinayaka“, our “Bhaagya Vidhata” is King Geroge V, and it is the King of England’s “Jaya Gaatha” that we sing every morning in our schools!

And then I jumped on to google. Internet search pointed me to a few posts with similar observations. Find one on mouthshut, and read another one here. This wikipedia note may be the source of all such thoughts though.

So is it worth an ask – why was this poem picked as our national anthem, and not “Vande Mataram“, or even “Saare jahaan se achha“? Is it because a Nobel Laureate wrote it? Or was it our (Nehru’s) last tribute to the British?

109 Responses

  1. […] /India/Bangalore/things Blog about a tech city, an emerging new country and things in between « Why is jana gana mana our national anthem? […]

    • history tells you that first stanza was sung as national anthem in the first session of congress(Indian National Congress) and all those references being pointed out can be easily seen being meant for Bharat the nation ! Why should we bother what anybody’s mom says! Who is she or you even to object if The Indian National Congress decided to have the first stanza as our national anthem!It gives me pride and is being sung by all of us with pride!

      • Mr. whoever u r…….u must be thorough with our culture.just search for the letter which rabindranath tagore wrote after writing this poem that he himself was ashamed of writing it. he was pressurised by british govnmnt to write it in george 5th praise. he urged in that letter to indians not to sing it.

      • Also proud on mechales ecucation system ,British laws which is our constitution and the western culture and forget what we are ( Bharteya)

      • I dun care if it’s a doctor’s view or not?!?!?..If you are blind not to accept the truth in front of you..please go ahead till the people call you a loser!!!Being a doctor doesnt make any human wise..So dun yap off and have respect for the word “mother”.Else someone(like me :P) will always there to dominate you. Bloody lalwani

      • Who is this Indian National Congress………..
        At that time only Gandhi and Nehru……..
        and now a large group of bloody corrupted morons who can’t do anything except praising Gandhi family……

      • who cares what anyone’s mom or uncle says.. does they know rabindranath better than a bengali.. have they read rabindranath thoroughly…. if not how dare anyone comment this rubbish about our national anthem .. first try to find out the difference between between NATIONAL ANTHEM and NATIONAL SONG.. ANTHEM must be about people of india, vande mataram praises india, not its people… first read rabindranath thoroughly then dare to comment against his writings….

    • i just came to know about this yesterday when i was talking to my uncle related to education and he suddnely ask me that did you know that to whom you address national anthem that u singing for last 12 years…and the obvious answer was big no…so m still thinking about it and in big confusion..so if anyone got update related to it please inform me,m all eager to know more about it.

  2. Point to ponder. Good thoughts.

  3. Note that the original Jana Gana Mana isn’t our national anthem, only the first verse is. Also, while Vande Mataram or Sare Jahan se Acha have their place in our chequered history, they don’t quite describe the nation [*] as Jana Gana Mana does. So I wouldn’t really be surprised if the song was made the national anthem for purely aesthetic reasons!

    [*]- Although, truth be told, I’ve always winced at all of south India being summarized as a generic ‘Dravida’. We’re all proud individual sub-nations, dammit! :-)

    • Let me give a small glimopse on the history behind the above situation:
      In Tagore’s collected works, it is mentioned that the INC ( 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.”
      Mahatama Gandhi called Janaganamana a religious hymn, not the national anthem, but he characterised numerous times Vandemataram as the national anthem.

      About Janaganamana, Humayun Kabir agrees with the view expressed by Gandhiji. “In a sense it is more a religious hymn for all mankind than a national anthem for any country.” (Rabindaranath Tagore, a Centenary Vol.p.152)

      It is therefore clear that Jana Gana Mana as expressed by Tagore himself was not written in praise of the King George as but was a hymn to the glory of the Paramatma.

    • u all south indian think other wise u r not a true indian u r just a bunch of stupido

    • second it

    • Yes we are

  4. Jana gana mana too doesn’t do a ‘diplomatic’ enough job of describing the nation. All of South as Dravid, no mention of North east (Kamrup?) and Northern most province Kashmir, no talk of relegious diversity or Vedic past. Now I will be blamed of nitpicking on Tagore.

    When they (the leaders of 1940s) knew who this poem actually praised, why did they pick it to be our national anthem? Aren’t you curious as well?

    • I agree to Silkboard…the crux is that it was written for praising some one..and obviously not our country…this itself defies the reason of national anthem since its more like an adoption of a good verse and fitment rather than the originality for the purpose- no matter the feelings and emotions by the great writer…if as a remonstration or as a requisition, it shall certainly not be out national anthem….”Vande Matram” is what would serve the purpose of National anthem!!!!!where every Indian would bow down to her and praise her for her courage and that each one would stand and sing in the hour or need!!Vande Matram!! Jai Hind!

  5. hey, why not start a PIL for this?

  6. Not PIL worthy RC. Why change this well established tune? I am only curious.

  7. This might help the cause of history and its intepretation! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jana_Gana_Mana

  8. Anasuya, I did read that Wikipedia note, in fact mentioned the link in the original post. “Tagore is said to have written it in honour of god”. Seems like that could be true. But this theory that Tagore fooled the King into thinking that he was praising him seems to have surfaced a lot later.

    If that is indeed the truth – I want to and do believe so – smart poem indeed.

  9. From Wiki…

    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.”

  10. There has been a debate going on on this same topic here.

    Even if we were to believe Tagore’s version that he wrote it in honour of God, but gave it INC/His Majesty’s government to be used to welcome the King, it still leaves some questions unanswered. He addressed it to a male (Adhinayaka, Bhagya Vidhaata etc) while it is natural for us to think of our land as female (Bharat Mata). Also, as Silkboard asked, who is this “Bharata Bhagya Vidhata”? I don’t think such an entity has ever been mentioned anywhere in any of our mythologies/vedas etc. We have the Vidhata aka Brahma, but he is believed to be Vidhata for the entire universe and it doesn’t make sense to think of him as determining only India’s destiny. So, since it is clearly not Brahma, it seems to be some entity/God of destiny that Tagore has thought up himself. In which case, it doesn’t make sense to say “the entire India, from Punjab and Sindh to Utkal and Vanga, its rivers and mountains and seas” are singing praise of his good name. I mean, if such an entity has never been referenced, then how can the people be singing praise of this nameless entity?

    The only way the song makes sense is when you think of this Bharata Bhagya Vidhata as King George. He was clearly guiding India’s destiny at that time being the sovereign head and it makes sense to tell him that the entire nation is singing his praise because that is exactly the kind of thing Kings want to hear.

    • In the following stanzas of the poem Gurudev even mentioned “sneho-moyi tumi mata”………”o caring mother”

    • If you read the full 5 stanzas Gurudev refers to an eternal charioteer and his conch calls, that can only mean God-Krishna in this case ,he is often referred to as the eternal charioteer. Gandhiji, himself regarded Jana gana as a religious and devotional song.

    • FYI, Tagore never believed in “sakaar roop” of god, but in “nirakaar roop” of the god who looks over us… who is always there around us, but never to be seen…

      In this light, if u read the verse. you will find some relevance….

  11. Adhinaayak vs Adhinaayaki thing is definitely worth noting. Bhaarat as Maata was an established idea at the time, as “Vande Maataram” (written much before J G M) indicates.

    Also, why “Tava jaya gaatha“? When you worship a God, you dont usually sing about God’s jaya gaatha except when you worship (in Hindu mythology) forms of shakti, as in Durga and Kaali. Then, it may be that jaya does not mean victory here, and reference is being made to general chants of jai (Jai ram types). Essentially, “Jaya gaatha” as a phrase has more of a conflict or war connotation.

    I am not turning this into a Tagore bashing thing though. For I have not read or researched him at all. I just think – going purely by the lyrics of our anthem – that he did write this in genuine praise of the King. But he may have done that because he didn’t want to displease the Raj by taking a hard stand of not writing anything for the INC/Raj in 1911.

    I do find this fact a bit puzzling though. An Indian poet ended up a getting a nobel prize (an award from the West) in a foreign language literature in those days. But the man who brought down the Raj without using a bullet never got any awards or recognitions from the West.

  12. Amazing! How unfamiliar many of us are about Tagore’s writing and the spirit of this great mind. In brief, Tagore was greatly against this “Puja” of “Bharat Mata” often done by many (particularly Bengali) nationalists in those days. A dialogue by Nikhilesh with Sandipan in Ghare Baire (Home and the World) novel, which perhaps most explicitly carries Tagore’s thoughts on nationalism, is most educative in this regard. I’m Quoting from memory, Nikhilesh: “You know Sandipan, the problem with your kind of nationalism is that you conjure up a certain moter-image of the nation in your mind and start doing Puja of that image. You forget that the real nation is among the millions of people who toil on the fields in the villages…” In Jana Gana Mana Tagore was appealing to the great Lord who controls the mind of all the people in the land, and certainly not referring to any “mother India”. Whether there is any such Lord I don’t know, and whether that Lord is a male or a female. But remember Tagore, despite being a Brahmo, was greatly influenced by the Upanishads, where the Supreme Power is Brahma — who is always referred as Noun Male in Sankrit. This apart, Tagore’s letter written to the Viceroy after the Jaliwanalla Bagh massacre denouncing his Knighthood speaks enough about his position vis-a-vis the British government.

  13. Nilanjan, no one is attacking Tagore here. History says he sang this song for the Brit king. Whether he wrote the song with “only” the nation in mind is definitely arguable.

    And BTW, the timeline is
    1911- Tagore ‘hails’ the King, creates our anthem in the process
    1913 – Tagore gets Nobel
    1919 – Jalianwala Bagh happens, Tagore gives up his knighthood

    So, one can argue that things do fit.

    But I do realize that it has now turned into an argument for the sake of it. Apologies if it hurt Tagore fans, that wasn’t the intent.

    Jaya he.

    • Mr. silkboard why do u came such silly comments and misslead my fellow country men without knowing history completely………
      in 1912 the british govn issued a order to all officials that their sons or daughters shouldnt be admitted to shantiniketan…..;.
      gurudev was an suspect in eye of the raj all through out his life………

      • To be honest , i don’t know anything accept a few things about the history of the INDIAN national anthem. The only thing i know is that instead of thinking what was in the poets mind while writing the song , we must think of what must be in our mind while singing the song. When i sing ‘Jana gana mana ‘ i think of my great nation . I thing the whole of India must do the same.

  14. I think along with undoing British Raj we should also get rid of these national songs which were sung during the Raj times and instead, we should make “mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ our new national anthem which is seculer in nature.

  15. On a visit to India, the poet Yeats
    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. That version,
    as presented in 1968 by the Indian Express newspaper, was this:

    “He (Tagore) got up very early in the morning and wrote a very beautiful poem…. When he came down, he said to one of us, ‘Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them.” [5]

    Thus, Tagore is said to have written the poem in honour of God

    • writing in the name of god and using for their selfishness seems to say frankly is thern’t another song to welcome the king

  16. Yes Vijay, I know that bit, read that on wikipedi and else where when I was writing this post. Tagore is “said” to have written the poem with ‘a God’ in mind, when the country was seen as Bhaarat Mata by most. If that bit from 1968 In Express is true (seems to be the case), Tagore did a very clever thing by writing a song that served both the purposes. Smart indeed. These background incidents seem movie or book worthy to me. Anyone listening?

    Purvi – partly agree with you. We should keep some history around. But you are right in observing that we haven’t created any “national symbol” (song, sign, art, monument or whatever) like thing after 1947. “Jai jawan jay kisan”, “Mera Bharat Mahaan” come close for slogans, but these are just one liners. “Aye mere watan ke logon” is another thing comes to mind.

  17. I see a lot of supposed Tagore ‘pundits’ blogging away. I am not sure if any of them have even bothered to read a few lines of his voluminous works.
    Its quite common among us Indians to talk at length on subjects little known to us. People who talk of Nehru in not so favorable terms, especially about his plans for India – have little knowledge of the socio-political situation of India at the time of Independence; his vast knowledge as exemplified by his two epics – ‘Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of World History'(which are one of the most authoritative works of history and regarded worldwide); and are unable to compare the two states – Pakistan & India liberated on the same ‘night’ but not having the IITs, SAILs, BHELs and the contributions (of these institutions established by Nehru) to India’s development. Similar is the case with Gandhi and Netaji. People just talk.
    Without knowing for example, that Tagore was the greatest writer in modern Indian literature, poet, novelist, educator, and an early advocate of Independence for India, was instrumental in setting up Universities (not limited to Santiniketan whose illustrious alumni include the other Nobel laureate of India – Amrtya Sen), and gave up his Knighthood to protest the Jalianwalabagh incident. Much of Tagore’s ideology come from the teaching of the Upahishads.
    I am not how many of the above even understand and appreciate poetry. Have anyone of you even attempted writing one in your chidhood? To imagine that the names of every Indian state should be captured in a poem to express the expanse of our motherland! Crib about Questioning the artistic ability of the only Indian blessed with a Nobel in literature! Its both irritating and amusing at the same time. I wonder who these critics are who have today tried to measure-up Tagore – a name revered by the greatest litterateurs of the world.

    Glorifying our pasts seems to be the favorite pastime for us , since we are a frustated lot without vision for the future – without a true attempt to research the real history of our civilization, dominated and enslaved by hundreds of years of Muslim and British rule. Today some religious radicals talk of racial conservatism without realizing how open our culture was before these invasions. They would cover the temple architectures with burkhas if they had their way. The best works on Indian history (atleast those easily accessible) are those written by the British – obviously through their looking glasses.

    I’d like to draw the attention of such frustated and ignorant Indians to the following :

    1. http://www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/pkDatta092004.html
    2. http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-chatterjee310803.htm
    3. http://www.lehigh.edu/~amsp/2004/09/national-anthem-throwdown-jana-gana.html
    4. Wikipedia entry on Jana gana mana
    5. http://rabindranathtagore.quickseek.com/

    Let me also repeat those golden words from Geetanjali:
    Where the mind is without fear
    and the head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been
    broken up into fragments
    by narrow domestic walls; …
    Where the clear stream of reason
    has not lost its way into the
    dreary desert sand of dead habit; …
    Into that heaven of freedom,
    my Father, let my country awake.
    Let not your reason and intellect be lost in the dreary desert sands…………Be proud to be Indian, but please try to know your country!

    • Gurudev was also instrumental in setting up Jadavpur university………..

      not only amartya sen but shantiniketan has given us indira gandhi, satyajit ray, mahasweta devi,…………..and lot more

    • Nice one!!!

  18. Indialover, who claimed Tagore expertise here? In fact, I didn’t know somethings about him, that is why I asked a question. I just put my ignorance up on the internet. And yes, got my answers (thanks guys for all the comments posted here).

    Why do our over-patriotic guys get all touchy and feely when anything is questioned about past? Ignorance is a function of time, I didn’t do my B.Tech. on Tagore Engineering. And no NCERT textboox ever told me this little ‘story’ behind Jan Gan Man.

    – another India lover

  19. […] With the recent controversy on Vande Mataram, some people startedwondering why did we chose Jana Gana Mana as our national anthem. One such instance is here at silkboard. Another one here at Amardeep’s Blog tries to analyze whether Tagore wrote this for King George or not. […]

  20. Rabindranath Tagore

    The Poet’s Letter to Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy , repudiating his Knighthood in protest for Jalianwallahbag mass killing.
    (The letter was published in The Statesman, June 3, 1919)

    Your Excellency,
    The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in the Punjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India. The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilised governments, barring some conspicuous exceptions, recent and remote. Considering that such treatment has been meted out to a population, disarmed and resourceless, by a power which has the most terribly efficient organisation for destruction of human lives, we must strongly assert that it can claim no political expediency, far less moral justification. The accounts of the insults and sufferings by our brothers in Punjab have trickled through the gagged silence, reaching every corner of India, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people has been ignored by our rulers- possibly congratulating themselves for imparting what they imagine as salutary lessons. This callousness has been praised by most of the Anglo-Indian papers, which have in some cases gone to the brutal length of making fun of our sufferings, without receiving the least check from the same authority, relentlessly careful in something every cry of pain of judgment from the organs representing the sufferers. Knowing that our appeals have been in vain and that the passion of vengeance is building the noble vision of statesmanship in out Government, which could so easily afford to be magnanimous, as befitting its physical strength and normal tradition, the very least that I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of the millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror. The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance , are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings. And these are the reasons which have compelled me to ask Your Excellency, with due reference and regret, to relieve me of my title of knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.
    Yours faithfully,

    6, Dwarakanath Tagore Lane,
    May 30, 1919

  21. For those bringing up the “Bharatmata” issue, note that Tagore was a Brahmo. If you don’t know what that means, ask yourself why are you questioning the motives of a polymath about whom u don’t know the most basic facts.

    • The idiots who r shouting that gurudev hav written “adhinayak” and therefore he had addressed it to any male who is none other than king george V, doesnt even knows the whole song………..please read the whole song……….in the following stanzas we mentioned “snehomoyi tumi mata”…..”u r the caring mother”……
      how can george V be called “mother”?

      and the other idiots remember that it is a song not an answer to any question of geography text book that u hav mention the names of each an every river and state of india.

  22. bigot – well, that did hurt. I am not going to defend myself though. Having read a lot more after I put my ignorance up on Internet last year, I feel bad at having written this post myself.

    First of all, this was not to de-mean Tagore (though my contempt for Nehru does come across in the last line there). Who am I for God-sake to do things like discussing or bashing Tagore!?

    I just didn’t know about the King George bit of history about the anthem – learning that odd bit did it. Though, I now know our anthem was a result of very smart and creative writing.

    It is a beautiful poem, and I love the wonderful tune more than the poem itself. Period.

  23. In fairness, the last word on the affair should really be given to the poet himself (incidentally he had composed the music for Bande Mataram). Answering a friend’s query about the origins of the Jana Gana Mana in 1937, Tagore said that a loyalist friend had requested him to write a song in praise of the King. He had felt anger at his friends presumption about his loyalism. It was this anger that led him to compose Jana Gana Mana. He had written a song to a superior authority, the “Dispenser of India’s destiny”. Tagore concluded. “That great Charioteer of man’s destiny in age after age could not by any means be George V or George VI or any George. Even my ‘loyal’ friend realized this; because, however powerful his loyalty to the King, he was not wanting in intelligence.” I may add here that we normally sing the first verse alone: the third verse of the song refers explicitly to the eternal lord.

  24. I agree with the points raised by Mohan and Silkboard. In fact I never found myself very enthused by the song, and tried to analyze why. And these are the very points that came to my mind. NiIlnjan Hazra’s point about Brhama being the supreme lord of the Brahmos does not wash. Because why should he be the supreme lord of Bharat alone? It is in fcat uncharacteristically narrow-minded of a poet of Tagore’s stature to think of a Lord guiding the destiny of a nation and not of humanity. And would the great lord be bothered about linguistic divisions like Punjab, Sindhu etc? The point about “Jayagatha” is very valid. What victories of the supreme lord one can allude to? You say Jai Rama because he was a warrior prince waging many battles. But you don’t say Jai Vishnu, let alone Jai Supreme Lord. The more you look at it you know it fits George V more than the Supreme Lord.

    My explanation is that he was asked to write this song in praise of Geroge V. He could not and did not refuse. But he wrote a song which could be interpreted as a paean to the lord, even if clumsily and less convincingly. As is recorded in all the articles, including the Wikipedia one, Tagore did not denounce the newspaper reports when they came out in 1911. Later in 1937 he is supposed to have to told his friend that how could he write such a thing about George V. Now this is understandable. Because times had changed. In 1911 it was nothing wrong to be pro-emperor. Even the congress was fighting for certain rights but under the British rule. Some people point out that he returned the knighthood so he must be a nationalist. But why did he accept the knighthood to start with? After Jaliwanawala, any sensible person would do what he did.

    But let me make it clear that all this does not make Tagore anything less than a great poet or a genius. But people like Gandhi or Tagore operating in the real world have to make some compromises that may not seem 100% honest. But that makes them human.

    • Mr. Mohanty, you r very very narrow minded!!! Perhaps, you should read some Tagore Literature to widen your perspective, not just about India, about the poet, but as philosophy of god, of love and what guides or runs this nature.. You r too stuck up in materialistic and divided world!!!

  25. I’m somwhat happy about the blogger’s patriotism. But i strongly disagree that Jana Gana Mana was written by noble Laurette Rabindranath tagore to praise british king George. how can he write praising british king yaar ? just think. there r some more stanzas as follow:

    Aharaha Tabo Awhbano Pracharito
    Shuni Tabo Udaro Bani
    Hindu Bauddho Sikho Jaino
    Parasiko Musalmano Khristani
    Puraba Pashchimo Aashay
    Tabo Singhasano Pashay
    Premoharo Hawye Gantha
    Jano Gano Oikya Bidhyaka Jaya Hey
    Bharata Bhagya Bidhata
    Jaya Hey, Jaya Hey, Jaya Hey,
    Jaya Jaya Jaya, Jaya Hey

    Patana Abhyudaya Bandhuro Pantha
    Jugo Jugo Dhabito Jatri
    He Chiro Sarathi, Tabo Ratha Chakre
    Mukharito Patha Dino Ratri
    Daruna Biplaba Majhay
    Tabo Shankha Dhwani Bajay
    Sankata Dukho Trata
    Jano Gano Patha Parichyaka Jaya Hey
    Bharata Bhagya Bidhata
    Jaya Hey, Jaya Hey, Jaya Hey,
    Jaya Jaya Jaya, Jaya Hey

    and more. c d 2nd stanza.
    hindu bauddha sikha jaino parasik musalmana kristani.
    do u mean to say dat king george’s wife was hindu, nephew was muslim, cousin was sikh, queen victoria was originally paarse ? dats wrong !! tagore wrote correct only. in india, all religons (hindu, mislim, sikh, jain, paarsee, christian) are found. dat is wat he describes in 2nd stanza. jana gana mana praises our india. i can prove it. vande mataram also praises our mother india. i agree. but i commented upon this blog just to prove that jana gana mana praises INDIA only & not bloody british king or queen.

    • Please read carefully and pass it on…..

      Know the Facts about “Jana Gana Mana” – Just a thought for the National Anthem!
      How well do you know about it?

      I have always wondered who is the “adhinayak” and “bharat bhagya
      vidhata”, whose praise we are singing. I thought might be Motherland India! Our
      current National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana” is sung throughout the

      Did you know the following about our national anthem, I didn’t.

      To begin with, India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, was
      written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen
      of England when they visited India in 1919. To honor their visit Pandit
      Motilal Nehru had the five stanzas included, which are in praise of the King
      and Queen. (And most of us think it is in the praise of our great

      In the original Bengali verses only those provinces that were under
      British rule, i.e. Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha etc. were mentioned. 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 bestower 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 naame
      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 O’ Queen, and glory to
      Rajeshwara (the King).

      This whole poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland but depicts a bleak picture. When you sing Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, whom are you glorifying? Certainly not the Motherland. Is it God? The poem does not
      indicate that.It is time now to understand the original purpose and the implication of this, rather than blindly sing as has
      been done the past fifty years. Nehru chose the present national anthem as opposed to Vande Mataram because he thought that it would be easier for the band to play!!! It was an absurd reason but Today for that matter bands have advanced and they can very well play any music. So they can as well play Vande Mataram, which is a far better composition in praise of our dear
      Motherland -India.Wake up, it’s high time! Shouldn’t Vande Mataram be our National Anthem

  26. Comment above is blog spam in (apparently) russian language

  27. “Aharaha Tabo Awhbano Pracharito
    Shuni Tabo Udaro Bani
    Hindu Bauddho Sikho Jaino
    Parasiko Musalmano Khristani”
    Why as per these lines do GKing George’s wives have to be HIndu and hsi cousibns Buddhist, etc? It simply says that : O kIng , your subjects who are Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Muslims and Christians, listen to your kind words and day an night your call is brodcast .

    Where is the problem? Where is the logical inconsistency in it being a song in praise of King Gerorge?

  28. I want the name of writer of vande mataram

  29. For as long as one can remember, in fact, from the very early decades of this century, there has been a stubborn mythology vis-a-vis the circumstances surrounding the writing of Jana Gana Mana by India’s greatest cultural figure, Rabindranath Tagore. Such stubborn mythologies often arise out of extremely limited knowledge of, or familiarity with, the life and works of a great man (a mahapurusha, to coin a more appropriate Indian term). Understandably, those not familiar with the Bengali language have the Herculean task of turning themselves into Tagore scholars in order to get a wider glimpse of the man and the scope of his accomplishments. This limitation, in many cases, leads them to narrow perspectives and hearsay, rather than the type of direct examination necessary to draw objective conclusions.

    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, measured by any standard anywhere in the world. As the great Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna would say metaphorically, “The vulture flies high in the sky, yet his sight is set upon the garbage heap upon the ground.” True to this aphorism, there is often a concerted effort to measure a man of Tagore’s magnitude by unjustifiable and contrived means which apparently make him more life-size and flawed, and therefore more everyday and run-of-the-mill. To critics who only sample certain minuscule outer trappings of this astonishing creative genius and extraordinary humanitarian, such forced finitude perhaps brings a measure of parity and comprehension against which one can safely stack everyday events and human tendencies in all their glorious mediocrity.

    I write this not as an apologist for flawed heroes, or the frailties imbedded within human greatness. I am quite aware of these realities, and feel as strongly as most about the need to not deify a great human being and in the process lose sight of his or her humanity (with its associated limitations) and its inspirational values. However, there is a rather meager “catch” when it comes to finding holes in the gigantic canvas of Tagore’s life (in this case, I am not considering scholarly evaluation of his literary works), and I have observed time after time recurrence of the same tired allegations, or even worse, presumptions applied to aspects of it observed through low-aperture eyepieces and tunnel vision. The Jana Gana Mana controversy, involving the time and circumstances of Tagore’s writing of the verse poem and song later chosen to be independent India’s national anthem, is one such rare, albeit convenient, “catch”.

    The mythology surrounds the 1911 visit to India by King George V. To commemorate the occasion, the Indian National Congress (INC) approached Tagore for a poem of welcome. As Yeats (his Irish admirer of many years) recalled later, Tagore was deeply troubled by the assignment. Early one morning, he composed a very beautiful poem and handed it over to his colleagues. He suggested that it was a poem addressed to God, and that they should give it to the Congress people. At the Calcutta Congress session which began on December 16, 1911, the second day was apparently devoted entirely to welcoming King George V. Jana Gana Mana was sung on this occasion. Thereafter, the newspaper reports maintained that it was sung as a salute to the King Emperor (George V). Since Tagore did not immediately refute the allegation, the perception spread that the song was a eulogy to the monarchy.

    Obviously nothing could be farther from the truth. As with many of his puja or devotional songs, if there was a divine entity to whom Tagore addressed many of his heartfelt yearnings for communion and eternal play, 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 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 is therefore India’s eternal guiding spirit, and could never be merely the king of a colonial empire. 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.

    To the copious writing and data that are extant with regards to this grossly over-amplified issue, I need hardly add any more information of my own. The fact that despite an extensive personal reflection on this matter by Tagore himself, whereby he has refuted beyond any controversy the “charge” that he had written the song to felicitate the King Emperor of England and her colonial empire, the gnawing doubts in certain quarters persist, only goes to show the severe problem associated with tunnel vision and the age-old problem of a blind person visualizing an elephant using vanishingly minuscule data.

    In Tagore’s collected works, it is mentioned that the INC 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.”

    Not only as an inveterate admirer of Tagore, but also as someone who believes strongly that allegations against extraordinary human beings deserve extraordinary care and a scrupulous contextual examination, I can only urge those who choose to join the Jana Gana Mana controversy to study Tagore more extensively before jumping on the bandwagon or making unsubstantiated pronouncements.

    Despite his noble birth and lineage, Rabindranath 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. I cannot even begin to cite examples of his wise and deeply insightful proclamations and pronouncements in this regard; suffice it to say that in each well-known episodic event, Tagore’s attempts and desire to align himself with the oppressed, the downtrodden and the diverse people of his beloved Motherland have a degree of consistency which is simply mind-boggling. Tagore was nurtured in the musical and mystical traditions of Vaishnavism and the Bengali Baul, and was close to the enlightened reformist views of Brahmo society. Yet, at no time in his life was he narrowly religious. His family initiated a tradition of Swadeshi Melas (National Fairs) as early as the late 1800s, and Tagore’s contributions to the cultural expositions at these Melas are legendary. We cannot forget his early dramatic work, Valmiki-Pratibha (The Genius of Valmiki), or his colloquial verse collection, Bhanusimher Padavali (The Verses of Bhanusimha Thakur). In these, as in others, Tagore shows signs of his deep understanding of India’s cultural treasures and literary heritage. Building upon these, and growing from strength to strength, Tagore became one of the most exceptional vehicles of Indian culture, perhaps in all of Indian history, in the subsequent decades of his life.

  30. Some quick points to ponder:
    1. Why did Tagore not repudiate the various newspaper reports stating that a song in praise of King George was sung that day? After all, these newsppaers were not insignificant papers.

    2. If Tagore was such a staunch opponent of the British Raj, why was he given the knighthood? Can you give an instance of an avowed an anti-British Indian getting the knighthood?

    3. . Why is it all that impossible that tagore wrote a song that could be interpreted in praise of either King George or God? That way he won’t anger his British friend, nor would he hurt his conscience or his future image.

    4. ‘my title of knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.’ This clearly indicates Tagore did admire the British monarch during the time he accepted the knighthood.

  31. The piece by Monish Chatterjee in Countercurrent.org is full of verbiage, and very little reasoning. It is full of typical Bengali arrogance, imputing that non_Bengalis cannot fathom the greatness of Tagore because of their ignorance of the language ( when almost all his major works have been translated). Also implying that because he is a ‘ mahapurush’ he cannot be practical. It is this tendency to deify hat differentiates an admirer of Gandhi from an admirer of Tagore. Admirers of Gandhi are ready to accept his human foibles. That is why there dozens of films and plays on Gandhi and almost none on Tagore. If you are talking of his being a literary figure, there are plays, and serials on Ghalib, Kabir, Rumi and Kalidasa. I guess we need a little more time to distance ourselves from this deifying tendency, when Tagore can be treated as a human.

    • Bengalese always think that they are superiors than others, only they can lead India, only they can sing, only they can rest and they think that rest are crap. just sick with their communal mentality. Thats why they want to save their god Tagore and expired ganguly the DADA.

  32. íà íîâîé ôîðóìå âû ìîæåòå áåñïëàòíî
    ñêà÷àòü ïîðíîôèëüìû è ïîðíîðîëèêè
    à òàêæå çàðàáîòàòü ñåáå 7 çíàê îñòàâèâ 10 ïîëåçíûõ ñîîáùåíèé

  33. It is truly ironic that Rabindranath Tagore, an outstanding genius non-pareil who towered over India’s cultural domain like few in history, wrote a hymn to his motherland (as he did countless other times) long before August 15, 1947- not remotely intending it to become India’s national anthem. And now, that song having been so selected by an independent India, it is Tagore’s lot to be impugned and vilified posthumously by “objective” thinkers who preach pragmatism and practicality.

    To have to defend Tagore for what is essentially a trumped-up non-issue, is a no-win, zero-sum game. Those bent upon humanizing icons as a matter of principle- will continue to discover a variety of ulterior motives behind the song. Those who have felt the essential Rabindranath in their heart (and this correspondent feels his life-giving presence like a gift from eternity virtually every day) will know that Rabindranath strove to break down “narrow domestic walls” from India and from the entire world. This is what made him a true Universalist – perhaps the first truly practising one in history.

    Rabindranath moved away from narrow Nationalism (which he rejected in words and deed from the early decades of the 20th century). While this did not in the slightest way diminish his interest in seeing his motherland become free from foreign occupation- he perceived the triumphs of the human spirit in every nation and every culture, and attempted to unite them at “Eyi Bharater Mahamanaver Sagaratirey.”

    Therefore, while opposing colonialism, imperialism and racism all his life, Rabindranath did not, indeed, could not, reject the British, or Europeans, per se. He saw much in the West that was worth emulating by the East. He established bonds with the greatest minds of the West (to a degree almost unmatched anywhere), hoping that these efforts will usher in a great cultural and spiritual re-awakening of India, and help that fabled land realize her great mission.
    Indeed, Gandhi has been celebrated (and continues to be) worldwide quite a bit more than Tagore. Realistically, this is likely because (despite what Mr. Mohanty asserts) Gandhi has become far more iconic in a world that more readily understands and relates to narrow, rigid definitions of “patriotism,”
    “nationalism,” and age-old “mass movements” than the kind of Universalism that Tagore envisioned and tried to create for human civilization.

    Thus, no matter how much Mr. Mohanty impugns a Bengali tendency to “deify” Tagore- I would maintain that Gandhi is deified a great deal more amongst his followers (and fortunately for him, has more effective defenders to assure his pages in history). I would even go as far as to say that a very large population of Bengalis are vocal detractors of Tagore, while in all likelihood having read very little of who he was, and what he had to say.

    That he strove to be a practising Universalist- in creativity, human relations, visions of the harmonious existence of science and humanities- these, to me, are precisely why Tagore is not celebrated yet quite as much as he ought to be. I am afraid his time has not arrived yet. The state of our 21st century world clearly demonstrates to me the follies of nationalism and patriotism, and the limited success of so-called mass movements (including the Gandhian model, which at its best I admire greatly). The world is not ready for the Tagorean vision, and I despair it may never be.

    If defending Tagore, and attempting to communicate his essential message makes this correspondent “an arrogant Bengali”- well, then, I have to live with it. I do predict, however, that if humanity does not destroy itself via its many instruments of narrow violence and zealotry- then Tagore will emerge triumphant in the centuries and millennia to come before an ascendant humanity as one of its first, perhaps greatest messengers. And this futile controversy vis-à-vis his intentions regarding Jana Gana Mana will appear to be utterly puerile and inconsequential.

  34. The series of posts on this blog have been an eye-opener for me. It has been an educational experience, in the sense that it has shown me how an issue can be distorted by the most puerile arguments to descend into the ridiculous. The arguments presented here with regard to the issue of who this ‘Bhagya Vidhata’ is — it cannot be Bharat Mata because she is female, and it cannot be Brahma because, though male, he is the lord of all humanity and not just India — seem to be nothing more than mental distortions that are deliberately trying to twist ‘facts’ to suit the poster’s own prejudices. In other words, somebody is convinced that the poem is about the British monarch George V, and he/she will do everything to force this idea on others, ignoring the actual facts and trying to attribute motives to the poet that have no basis whatsoever in fact.

    Monish Chatterjee’s article and his post above should settle this issue once and for all. Still, I can’t help but mention this — why must a poet, a creative genius, be constrained by what has gone before? Even if the image of the country in people’s mind was female, and even if the male creator was supposed to apply to all humanity and not just India, why could not a poet create in his own mind a ‘Bhagya vidhata’ of India and put his conception into a poem? A true scholarly analysis of this poem, done in the context of Tagore’s extensive body of work, would provide some answers as to the conception of this ‘vidhata’. Dr. Chatterjee’s article and post at least provide a measure of that.

    Many ridiculous comments are made about Tagore in other contexts, and he is certainly not universally ‘deified’. A few weeks ago, a Bengali gentleman opined that Tagore’s well-known song ‘Ami chini go chini tomare, ogo Bidheshini’ (I know you well, O lady foreigner) indicated that he had an affair with an Englishwoman during his trip to England, when he had a wife and family back in India. Is there any documented evidence of this? Earlier I had heard that this poem was written because he was in love with the Argentine poetess Victoria Ocampo (who admired his work). This ‘theory’ was finally put to rest after presenting the fact that he did not meet Ocampo till the 1920s, and this poem was composed in the 1890s. The tendency to vilify well-known figures appears to be widespread, and seen here too.

  35. Even “Saaray Jahan se” is not a national thing. Written by Mohammad Alaama Iqbaal, It has a a feeling of muslim land. This was a lengthy song, so as the JanGan Man, which has 5 stanzas. Here is one notable verse of SAARAY JAHAN SE….


  36. Praising the British invaders and writing psalms (Jan Gan Man) cannot be termed as Nationistic deed. They robbed us for more than 200years leaving only in 1947. And we are still singing psalms for them and preserving their landmarks like India Gate and Gateway of India. India gate has names of 50000 soldiers inscribed so called Indians. Yes ! they were obviously Indians, but those Indians who fought for Britons in the world war. Technically they were British soldiers. Talking about Gateway of India, It still has a text inscribed on it…..ERRECTED TO COMMOMORATE THE LANDING IN INDIA OF THEIR IMPERIAL MAJESTIES KING GEORGE V AND QUEEN MARY ON 2nd of DECEMBER MCMXI. Oh my fellow Indians ! Wake up ! think ! Are they our Imperial Majesties as on date. As an Independent country, cant we remove that inscription as on date. When we wil achieve the real Independence

  37. Your obeservationaare right but see with matters related to anthem all that matters is with what sentiment you sing.. the orgin of song hardly matters.. we sing for praising india and has been singing it since 6 decades so now its meaning has changed..

  38. To Satish Mehta: How is ‘ Saare Jahan Se achha’ in praise of Muslim motherland? which lines point in that direction? In fact there are lines saying ‘ religion does not teach us to nuture enmity amomg each other we are ‘Hindis’ and ‘ Hinduadtan’ is our homeland. ‘ Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna, Hnidi hai hum, vatan hai Hindustan hamara.”

  39. To Monish Chatterjee:

    I am not denying the universality of Tagore or the fact that he was not rabidly anti-British. In fact just the opposite. And as for Gandhi being acclaimed internationally because he is ‘more narrowly patriotic’, what can be more ridiculous? Why should the British the Americans, the German admire him because he is an rabid Indian patriot? May I suggest that it is because of his radical message of non-violence? In fact the world is quite far from realizing Gandhiji’s vision or acting on his ideals . In fact it is works that are critical of him, such as ” Gandhi vs GandhI that have been success as theater and film. Even films like Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ have treated him as a human and not tried to deify him.

    And Monish, yiu still haven’t answered the questions that i posed in my earlier posting:
    1. Why did Tagore not repudiate the various newspaper reports stating that a song in praise of King George was sung that day? After all, these newspapers were not insignificant papers.

    2. If Tagore was such a staunch opponent of the British Raj, why was he given the knighthood? Can you give an instance of an avowed an anti-British Indian getting the knighthood?

    3. . Why is it all that impossible that tagore wrote a song that could be interpreted in praise of either King George or God? That way he won’t anger his British friend, nor would he hurt his conscience or his future image.

    4. ‘my title of knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.’ This clearly indicates Tagore did admire the British monarch during the time he accepted the knighthood. and nothing wrong with that , in light of his universality and fairness towards all irrespective of his or her nationality, right?

  40. I have not suggested that Gandhi has greater appeal because he is “a rabid Indian patriot.” I have suggested that Gandhi’s message is far easier to grasp, perhaps especially among war-like people (as represented by the West). Sometimes it is either fashionable or perhaps “conscience-cleansing” to espouse non-violence (after all, the advanced West has hardly shown, even remotely, any intention of eschewing violence and militarism.

    Therefore, the Western espousal of Gandhian non-violence is, to me, intrinsically suspect.

    To cite Richard Attenborough’s film as an objective marker of Gandhi’s life is also highly questionable in my mind. I have written extensively on this topic (as far back as 1981, the year the film was released to much fanfare. Again, to have to depend on a British filmmaker to tell the story of Gandhi is another hallmark of mental slavery- something a very large population of formerly colonized people is afflicted with.

    I count myself as an admirer of Gandhi, incidentally- and have spoken at public forums to honor his unique ideas and the power of his intellect. Therefore, I have no intention of making this a pro-Tagore, anti-Gandhi debate in the slightest. Tagore and Gandhi were two exceptional figures during a transformative period in India’s history- I would rather leave it at that.

    I have already stated that writing words of defense trying to exonerate a larger-than-life figure in what is a contrived non-issue is futile, and I do not intend to prolong this exercise.

    However, since there is a “gotcha” attitude in the last part of UM’s comments above, here is my take on those four questions:

    (1) Tagore did repudiate the reports and allegations vis-a-vis George V – but it seems his words were not sufficient to appease the rumor-mill. Clearly, Tagore had far greater tasks on his hands to attend to (and I thank humanity’s lucky stars that he did) than be obsessed with this matter. Such ridiculous obsession is left for armchair critics and idle anglers. Truly, I am convinced that Tagore (perhaps naively) assumed that his explanation would put an end to the “controversy.”

    (3) If, suppose we accept for the pleasure of brilliant speculators, that Tagore wrote this song to simultaneously praise both George V and his Motherland. The deafening irony here is the brilliant speculators’ inability to see the ingenious satire that Tagore thereby inflicted upon the British or their admirers. That Tagore thereby provided a strong, backhanded repudiation of the British imperialists, and that JGM could easily be a truly Indian “Trojan Horse” is likely beyond the grasp of such speculators.

    (2) Let us see- during the colonial period, which Indians were given honorary titles by the British (all early 1900s):
    Srinivasa Ramanujan, FRS
    Jagadis Chandra Bose, FRS (early 1900s)
    Jamshedji Tata, KBE
    Pherozeshah Mehta, KBE
    Ashutosh Mukerjee, KBE
    Surendranath Banerjee, KBE

    and the list goes on and on. The last named, above, incidentally, was front and square in the struggle against British imperialism and occupation of India. I suppose these were all “supporters of the British?”
    Tragic, indeed, that a supremely sensitive and creative human being such as Tagore, will now have to “prove” his non-support of the British, because the King of England chose to select him a KBE. Even his renunciation of the KBE, at a time when even Gandhi barely uttered any vocal protest to the Amritsar massacre- is still insufficient for his detractors.

    (4) Tagore’s words of praise at the time of receiving the KBE is known, in most civil circles, as simple etiquette. I would further add (and this is my personal interpretation, since Tagore has left his imprint upon my psyche like few others in history)- that in his poetic vision, the ruler of England represented the high literary and artistic culture of that country. It was to that symbol that he offered those words of praise. I invite anyone to carefully read Tagore’s wonderful poem “Puraskar” to (I hope) partly understand the deeply visionary plane from where he spoke.

    I do not wish to entertain any further discussion on this matter. Let anglers and armchair critics continue this futile exercise.

  41. Gandhi is admired not only by the war-mongering British laso by the peace-loving Indians. and one did not need Attenborough’s film to recognise the greatness, he was already Mahatma and the Father of the Nation to us. Unlike Tagore whose Nobel made a distnict change in his stature in India and abroad. And there have been any number of Indian filmmakers, from Benegal to Raju Jirani who have created works on his life.
    1. Tagore repudiated the newspaper reports? Any records? He was a busy man, yes. But if he had the time to write thousands of letters on all and sundry subjects, didn’t he have the time to wrote a Letter to The Editor, just a line pointing out the error about the theme of the poem. Has he written about this anywhere else immediately after the newspaper reports?

    3. Trojan Horse? Maybe. That’s exactly what I am trying to say. His poem addressed on the surface to George V was actually was about someone else. Very smart. Except that this concept of Bharat Bhagya Vidhata does not sit very well with me, but that’s my personal aesthetics.
    4. I am not convinced that the KBE is awarded to people against the British Empire. About Surendranath Banerjee, who is the first Indian ICS, I quote from Wikipedia:
    “Banerjea supported the 1909 Minto-Morley reforms – which were resented and ridiculed as insufficient and meaningless by the vast majority of the Indian public and nationalist politicians. Banerjea was a critic of the proposed method of civil disobedience advocated by Mohandas Gandhi, the rising popular leader of Indian nationalists and the Congress Party. Accepting the portfolio of minister in the Bengal government earned him the ire of nationalists and much of the public, and he would lose the election to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1922 – ending his political career for all practical purposes. He was knighted for his political support of the Empire.”

    “the ruler of England represented the high literary and artistic culture of that country.” I agree, that’s what Tagore thought, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    Armchair critic? which other kind of chairs do critics usually use?

  42. Let me add fuel to the fire.
    Did India as a nation exist before the coming of the british. To the best of my knowledge different parts of India were ruled by different kings. Infact India as a nation that we see today is more the creation of the british.

  43. Hello every body,
    See Either You were not there or my self when It was written.or u cannot judge on one side.
    You people dont react for the Things happening Now and Stop all these politics,racisim,bribe,etc..,
    and ready for givng ‘bahashan’.
    First You people Think on the Black spot You have.
    Every body running abroad leaving the country.and working as a slave for some other country.First feel shame for not doing any thing for our countries development..
    What a people we are a person who has fought for our freedom is being made as an accused.
    We are becomming more cheaper than the Britishes.
    Really shame on our Part..
    Help the poor, develop our country.
    Make it world No 1.Make india proud.By talking about all this things You peole are making India in Worse Situation.
    So We are being resposible for making india in bad.
    Come on Guys..
    Make INDIA A good Nation
    “BE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN” Just Dont Be Your Self Proud to be and Indian
    “MAKE INDIANS PROUD TO BE AS INDIAN” —If Every one thinks in the way we are ahead in the race….
    JAI HIND…..

  44. While adoring Ranindranath Tagore as world class poet I some times ponder is it why he got the ‘Nobel’?

    • he got Nobel prise becos Khalil Gebran A great Poet of Lebnan was underground due to Ist world war……and he was against the war & activist for Syrian independence.
      That was his ‘Nobel’ which fortunatly declared to Tagor. Cos of his welcome song for George V in 1911.

  45. I think,

    Kadam kadam badaye jaa, khushee ke geet gaye jaa.

    The song from Azaad hind fauj be made the national anthem. Comments?


  46. @ Utkal Mohanty
    Do u know the full translation of all stanzas of Jana Gana Mana? U can find them in this page:-


    U can see the detailed discussion and interpretation there to dispel ur ignorance and stop brewing hatred and controversy about our national anthem. India is the only country I believe in which people can be so irrational because of regionalism and linguistic divide.

    A sample from there for other readers:-

    The supporters of the nationalist message of Jana Gana Mana claim that “King”,”Throne” and “chariot” refer to the Almighty (for e.g. Lord Krishna from Bhagvad Gita) who will lead India to freedom. “Ma” on the other hand is more likely to refer to “The Motherland” i.e. India, than King George V’s mother- The Queen. In Amar Sonar Bangla, the national anthem of Bangladesh, Tagore has used the word “ma” and “mata” numerous times to refer to the motherland. In his deeply mystic book “Gitanjali” (an offering of songs to the God) Tagore has used the same metaphor of God as “King”:-

    Poem #50: “I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and i wondered who was this King of all Kings!”

    Poem #51: “The King has come- but where are lights, where are wreaths? Where is the throne to seat him?….. Open the doors, let the conch-shells be sounded!”

    The following phrases ignored by the proponents of the King George V controversy strengthen credibility of Jana Gana Mana’s patriotic message:-

    Stanza 1:”Jana gana mangaldayako” The saving of all people waits in thy hand. Saving from what? Obviously British imperialism.

    Stanza 2: The call of the Lord (not the King or Queen)is announced in every Indian home continuously in their prayers. He brings “Oikyo” i.e unity of the people to gain freedom.

    Stanza 3: “Jugo Dhabito Jaatri”(Pilgrims of the ages)are those who follow the path leading to god, not to some King or Queen of British Empire. Similarly “Biplabo” i.e. fierce revolution is our freedom struggle and “Shankhodhwoni”(conch-shell sound) in mythology announced the start of a “battle”, here- nationalist struggle against the Empire. This is a path of sacrifice and only God can protect from fear and misery (Sankato Dukho).

    Stanza 4: Through nightmares and fears, our mother i.e. motherland protected us in her lap, not the Queen.

    Stanza 5″Nidrito Bharato Jaagey” (Sleeping India awakens). This phrase has been used at least once by every nationalist poet to awaken the masses for revolution against British Imperialism. The “Supreme King” makes a mockery of King George V in the sense that the protector of India is a king above all mortal kings.

    If you think Tagore wrote only 1 patriotic poem, let me show u a sample of wat he was capable of when it came to awakening the masses:

    Gitanjali; Poem #35

    Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action …
    Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.

    CAN ANYONE CLAIM THAT THE ABOVE POEM WAS WRITTEN FOR GEORGE V TOO? Or for the matter, all the devotional songs in “Gitanjali”? DO YOU KNOW WAT “GITANJALI” MEANS?
    It means “Offering of songs” just like “Pushpanjali” means “offering of flowers” to the God.


    First of all, Nobel prize is awarded by SWEDEN, NOT BRITAIN. Second, Gitanjali was an English translation of Indian mysticism and perception of God which appealed not only Britain, but entire west. Same can be said about Swami Vivekananda and Aurobindo Ghosh who had popularity in the west too. WERE THEY UNPARTIOTIC TOO? Tagore’s winning the Nobel was a victory for Indian culture and mysticism striking a chord in thehearts of the west. so my request:-


  47. guys wat ever said and done though it is written for a british king or god wat we knw deep within our hearts is dat we are proud to be singing our country’s anthem and we sing for whom we think is our adinayaka not wat tagore thought..it hardly makes a difference now..wat is imp is we include every part of our country while singing d anthem though every place is not mentioned..(actually only d places ruled by d british are mentioned)…

    ANYWAYS!!! and im proud of my national anthem…JAI HIND!!

  48. Jan Gan Man Adinayak jai hey,
    Bharat bhagya vidhata
    Punjab Sind gujrat maratha
    dravid utkal bang
    vindya himachal jamuna gunga
    utaal jaaldi tarang
    tav shubna mai jagey
    tav shubh ashish mangey
    Ga hey sub jayo gatha
    jan gan mangal daya jai hey
    Bharat bhagya vidhata
    jai hey jai hey jai jai jai jai heyyyyy……..

    Thanks guys.now stop it .This is our national anthem and thats it. close your brains. by. JAI HIND

  49. Oye kar di na sardaron wali baat…. Yehan hum apni morning gulami se start kar rahey hain… or aap kethay ho kay aab bus… Thi is not country pride…this is foolishness

  50. In my childhood I did not understand the meaning of the anthem but had the curiosity about our anthem. Later on, it appeared that this is not in praise of bharat mata since some “adhinayak ” finds mention in it. After going through the posts it is felt that the controversial anthem should be replaced by something which is secular, motivating to the citizens and with only clear meaning. Nobody should get a feeling after singing the anthem that one started the day by praising our erstwhile rulers. Nobody should also feel left out like- Kashmir, Northeast etc. Let the beauty of the poem be praised as of a poem without bringing the great creator Tagore to controversy.

  51. A song or a word has no master.. Who ever sing the song, its belongs to that person..Our nation anthem may be targated to a person or may not be before 80/90 years, but when we sing today we always target to our country, having our own emotions.. The ‘adhinayak’ in the national anthem is the common people of ‘Bharat’/’India’ who are really the adhinayaka of the country..”Gahe tava jaya gatha”.. a country always sings the vijaya gatha of its own people.. A country never get success by its own, its the common people (we) who live there, make the country proud.. & the world says the counry is a successful country..

  52. Dev Ji. Thats great. Then we can assume any meaning out of anything without caring for what it actually mean. You are really a genius. Then take up Munni Badnam Hui and assume a meaning. This anthem is a real shame to the people and the nationhood and intelligence( those who have it) of the Indian people. Vande Matram should be adopted as the anthem and this shameful verse should be gifted to the British whose glory it sings.

  53. why do like to sing a song which is prepared for well come tune to our rulers?We live in freedom adopt any one national anthem which is dedicated for india >

  54. This theory is being bulit up by RSS and BJP that national anthem was written in praise of king George .

    Simply put there is no evidence for the same that this was the case .

    All attempts to prove this theory are mere conjectures and inferences and not based on facts.

    This is debateable and no conclusion can be drwan ever.

    BJP and RSS like vande mataram over jan gan man .

    The pro BJP / RSS guys are being indoctrinated subtly by these theories .

    Why should we waste our time on this.

    There is no british name or place in the anthem .

    No britisher has ever ratified that this was done in the emperor’s praise.

    I do not hero worship Tagore also .

    To conclude things without proof just on suspicion and waste our time on this is futlile.

  55. In hindi dictionary the word use in first line of NA adhinayak means tanashah,dictators. then who is adhinayak bhagya vidhata of bharat. punjab_ sindh_ ……………… after indipendent sind is not a part of india. this is simply a political move by pandit Nehru to make happy the bangalies and ignoring the Netaji repotation by adopting this as a national anthem.

  56. I wanna erase my comments, can’t do it ?

  57. If you read the wikipedia article “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jana_Gana_Mana_(the_complete_song)” under the Controversies setction there are some newspaper headlines. This looks like a solid proof to me that our national poem was originally written to praise the king and not god (neither the mother India).
    The fact that the anthem didnt give proper respect to south Indian (i am a south Indian; from kerala) is not of much importance as we are all Indians and should not have two voices between us.
    But yeah, we are so unlucky that our leaders chose this poem as our national anthem. “Vande matharam..” is clearly the best choice for the anthem. The two words “vande matharam” is more than enough to show the respect and love we have towards our mother India. It depicts our culture; the culture which considers ‘mother’ equivalent to god.
    But again, since we have already made our choice (or rather, somebody else made it for us), let us make sure that when we sing the anthem, we think only about mother India.

  58. Using “Capability Manager” I have allowed contributors to upload media to the media library of my wordpress website.. . At the moment, however, they can still see the uploads that have been submitted by other users.. . I need to be able to moderate the uploads, so if everyone can see them before I do, it defeats the object!. . Therefore, how do you set wordpress so that a contributor can only see the content that they contribute?. . Thanks!.

  59. […] are many online discussions about it, which can be summarized in the same way all internet discussions can be summarized […]

  60. Jana Gana Man was written in 1911 but it was not written in praise of George Pancham.
    The ‘vidhata’ or ‘adhinayak’ is also referred as Rajeshwar(i.e lord of the ishwer or lords) and Charioteer(i.e Krishna)
    Rabindranath did not sing it himself to welcome the king
    The poem was first sung at The Indian National Congress Session in 1911 and Rabindranath only recited it for the first time at a college gathering.

    It was adopted as our national anthem instead of Vande Mataram because Vande Mataram is an ode to goddess Durga who is seen as a personification of India, so it was centrally hindutva.

    As a cumulative evidence I would also point that Rabindranath was a nationalist poet. His poem Amar Shonar Bangla(now the Anthem of Bangladesh) was written in 1905 against the British action to divide Bengal.
    In 1919 Rabindranath translated this poem into English in which it is clearly seen that it is directed to almighty or an ultimate heavenly force which is the ‘dispenser of India’s destiny’. This was done at a point when there were no questions regarding who this ode was attributed to.

  61. I think you all should watch this video by Rajiv dixit, a scientist which was murdered last year, he was social activist.. you will get o know the history….

  62. […] Why is ‘Jana gana mana’ our national anthem? « /India/Bangalore …Nov 16, 2008 … But, we’ve seen that religon and faith still play a part in the Trek Universe. …… I just finished Neal Stephenson’s Anathem about another World … […]

    • Do you really believe its speech has any significance or historical base?

      • Yes, it is true and has historical base as well. You may not find it in our educational curricula but in House of Commons, all the writings are well preserved.

  63. If it was written to praise king george v are we
    Still supposed to sing the song and still welcome the king.very sad we still follow the British .we have to overhaul our country.

    • I don’t know what makes you feel like this but it would be great if you please go through full version of our National Anthem and the history of “Jana Gana Mana”.

  64. Ur conscience, ur thought( ur aatma)…..ur capability to decide right from wrong ( or Brahma) the god within u….shapes u…ur destiny, ur families destiny, this nations destiny..worlds destiny. Tagore was saying that the adhinayak is u.
    If u read Richard Dwakins theory of Neo Darvanism he says the same thing…..natural selection is not a random process…v decide what v r evolving into…every moment.
    This concept of evolution was not new to India. Tagore just brought it back in young minds. That is why our renaissance was called Puna Jaagran…n not revolution.
    If u have played any sports up to a good level…u will realize that to win u have to defeat ur weaknesses.
    People ruled us and troubled us only because v were weak…v were divided……
    Not any more….says Tagore to the King in the most classy and educated way…and it was not because of ur English…it was because we looked within ourselves for weakness and we have become one.
    Tagore defeated the king without even fighting….with natural Indian immense class, just with a poem.
    “V have ignited minds” he said….think about it!!…coz it was also a msg to us……

  65. Jan Gan Man history and Rabinder Nath Tagore’s character.

  66. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.

    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back in
    the future. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great work, have a nice day!

  67. its so bad for Indian ,we have adopted that song for National Anthem , which was sung by Tagor in praise for George Pancham, there was so many option were there to adopt Anthem , Mohamad Iqbal written song SARE JAHAN SE ACHHA , HINDOSTAN HAMARA, was better to this one , but that was ignored by the selectors , because written by Iqbal , whenever that song was recommended by Gandhi …….jsr

  68. Rabindrath Tagore was not a Santan Brahmin instead he was a Bramho Samaji so he might have considerd a निराकार ब्रम्ह।

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: