[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?