Jana Gana Mana
|English: Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People|
|Jônô Gônô Mônô
Jana Gaṇa Mana
Sheet music for "Jana Gana Mana".
National anthem of India
|Lyrics||Rabindranath Tagore, 1911|
|Music||Rabindranath Tagore, 1911|
|Adopted||24 January 1950|
|Music of India|
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
|Media and performance|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
|National anthem||Jana Gana Mana|
Jana Gana Mana" (Bengali: জন গণ মন)[α] is the national anthem of India. Written in Bengali, the first of five stanzas of a Brahmo hymn composed and scored by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Underlying message of the Jana Gana Mana is pluralism. A formal rendition of the national anthem takes fifty-two seconds. A shortened version consisting of the first and last lines (and taking about 20 seconds to play) is also staged occasionally. Tagore wrote down the English translation of the song and along with Margaret Cousins (an expert in European music and wife of Irish poet James Cousins), set down the notation at Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh, which is followed only when the song is sung in the original slow rendition style of singing. However, when the National Anthem version of the song is sung, it is often performed in the orchestral/choral adaptation made by the English composer Herbert Murrill at the behest of Nehru. An earlier poem by Tagore (Amar Sonar Bangla) was later selected as the national anthem of Bangladesh.
- 1 Lyrics
- 2 Musical composition and English translation
- 3 Code of conduct
- 4 Controversies
- 5 See also
- 6 Footnotes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The text is written in a literary register called Sadhu bhasa. The song has been written almost entirely using nouns that also can function as verbs. Most of the nouns of the song are in use in all major languages in India. Therefore, the original song is quite clearly understandable, and in fact, remains almost unchanged in several widely different Indian languages. Also as quasi-Sanskrit text, it is acceptable in many modern Indic languages, but the pronunciation varies considerably across India. This is primarily because most Indic languages are abugidas in that certain unmarked consonants are assumed to have an inherent vowel, but conventions for this differ among the languages of India. The transcription below reflects the Bengali pronunciation, in both the Bengali script and romanisation. The following are officially recognised versions of the national anthem by the Indian government, in some of the officially recognised languages.
|জন গণ মন (Bengali)||Bengali romanisation|
জনগণমন-অধিনায়ক জয় হে ভারতভাগ্যবিধাতা!
Jônogônomôno-odhinayoko joyo he bharatobhaggobidhata!
जनगणमन-अधिनायक जय हे भारतभाग्यविधाता!
पंजाब सिन्धु गुजरात मराठा द्राविड़ उत्कल बंग
विन्ध्य हिमाचल यमुना गंगा उच्छलजलधितरंग
तव शुभ नामे जागे, तव शुभ आशिष मांगे,
गाहे तव जयगाथा।
जनगणमंगलदायक जय हे भारतभाग्यविधाता!
जय हे, जय हे, जय हे, जय जय जय जय हे।।
The following translation, attributed directly to Tagore, is provided by the Government of India's National portal: 
Thou art the ruler of the minds of all great people,
Dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Odisha and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
Thou dispenser of India's destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to me.
Lyrics of all 5 stanzas
|Lyrics in Bengali||Bengali Romanization||English translation|
জনগণমন-অধিনায়ক জয় হে ভারতভাগ্যবিধাতা!
Jano gano mono odhinayoko jayo he,bharoto bhaggo bidhata
Oh! the ruler of the minds of people, Victory be to You,
Musical composition and English translation
Jana Gana Mana was written on 11 December 1911. Rabindranath Tagore translated the song from Bengali to English and also set it to music in Madanapalle, a town located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh state, India. Though the Bengali song had been written in 1911, it was largely unknown except to the readers of the Brahmo Samaj journal, Tatva Bodha Prakasika, of which Tagore was the editor.
During 1919, Tagore accepted an invitation from friend and controversial Irish poet James H. Cousins to spend a few days at the Besant Theosophical College situated at Madanapalle of which Cousins was the principal. On the evening of 28 February 1919 he joined a gathering of students and upon Cousins' request, sang the Jana Gana Mana in Bengali. The college authorities, greatly impressed by the lofty ideals of the song and the praise to God, selected it as their prayer song. In the days that followed, enchanted by the dreamy hills of Madanapalle, Tagore wrote down the English translation of the song and along with Cousins' wife, Margaret (an expert in Western music), set down the notation which is followed till this day. The song was carried beyond the borders of India by the college students and became The Morning Song of India and subsequently the national anthem.
Code of conduct
The National Anthem of India is played or sung on various occasions. Instructions have been issued from time to time about the correct versions of the Anthem, the occasions on which these are to be played or sung, and about the need for paying respect to the anthem by observance of proper decorum on such occasions. The substance of these instructions has been embodied in the information sheet issued by the government of India for general information and guidance. The official duration of the National Anthem of India is 52 seconds.
Controversy shadowed Jana Gana Mana from the day of its first rendition on 28 December 1911 at the twenty-seventh session of the Indian National Congress at Calcutta. Emperor George V was scheduled to arrive in the city on 30 December and a section of the Anglo-Indian English press in Calcutta thought – and duly reported – that Tagore's hymn was a homage to the emperor.
The poet claims in a letter written in 1939: "I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity." In another 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."
In Kerala, students belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses religious denomination were expelled by school authorities for their refusal to sing the national anthem on religious grounds, although they stood up respectfully when the anthem was sung. The Kerala High Court concluded that there was nothing in it which could offend anyone's religious susceptibilities, and upheld their expulsion. The Supreme Court reversed the High Court and ruled that the High Court had misdirected itself because the question is not whether a particular religious belief or practice appeals to our reason or sentiment but whether the belief is genuinely and conscientiously held as part of the profession or practice of a religion. "Our personal views and reactions are irrelevant" The Supreme Court affirmed the principle that it is not for a secular judge to sit in judgment on the correctness of a religious belief.
Supreme Court observed in its ruling
"There is no provision of law which obliges anyone to sing the National Anthem nor is it disrespectful to the National Anthem if a person who stands up respectfully when the National Anthem is sung does not join the singing. Proper respect is shown to the National Anthem by standing up when the National Anthem is sung. It will not be right to say that disrespect is shown by not joining in the singing. Standing up respectfully when the National Anthem is sung but not singing oneself clearly does not either prevent the singing of the National Anthem or cause disturbance to an assembly engaged in such singing so as to constitute the offence mentioned in s. 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act".
Historical significanceThis poem was composed in December 1911, coinciding with the visit of King George V at the time of the Coronation Durbar of George V, and "Bharat Bhagya vidhata" and "Adhinayaka" was believed to be in praise of King George V as per the British newspapers. The composition was first sung during a convention of the then loyalist Indian National Congress in Calcutta on 26 Dec 1911. It was sung on the second day of the convention, and the agenda of that day devoted itself to a loyal welcome of George V on his visit to India. The event was reported thus in the British Indian press:
"The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor." (Statesman, Dec. 28, 1911)
"The proceedings began with the singing by Rabindranath Tagore of a song specially composed by him in honour of the Emperor." (Englishman, Dec. 28, 1911)
"When the proceedings of the Indian National Congress began on Wednesday 27th December 1911, a Bengali song in welcome of the Emperor was sung. A resolution welcoming the Emperor and Empress was also adopted unanimously." (Indian, Dec. 29, 1911)
Many historians aver that the newspaper reports cited above were misguided. The confusion arose in British Indian press since a different song, "Badshah Humara" written in Hindi by Rambhuj Chaudhary, was sung on the same occasion in praise of the monarch. The nationalist Indian press stated this difference of events clearly:-
"The proceedings of the Congress party session started with a prayer in Bengali to praise God (song of benediction). This was followed by a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V. Then another song was sung welcoming King George V." (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Dec.28,1911)"The annual session of Congress began by singing a song composed by the great Bengali poet Ravindranath Tagore. Then a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V was passed. A song paying a heartfelt homage to King George V was then sung by a group of boys and girls." (The Bengalee, Dec. 28, 1911)
Even the report of the annual session of the Indian National Congress of December 1911 stated this difference:
"On the first day of 28th annual session of the Congress, proceedings started after singing Vande Mataram. On the second day the work began after singing a patriotic song by Babu Ravindranath Tagore. Messages from well wishers were then read and a resolution was passed expressing loyalty to King George V. Afterwards the song composed for welcoming King George V and Queen Mary was sung."
On 10 November 1937 Tagore wrote a letter to Mr Pulin Bihari Sen about the controversy. That letter in Bengali can be found in Tagore's biography Ravindrajivani, volume II page 339 by Prabhatkumar Mukherjee.
"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."
Again in his letter of 19 March 1939 Tagore writes,
"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 Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind." (Purvasa, Phalgun, 1354, p738.)
Moreover, Tagore was hailed as a patriot who wrote other songs too apart from "Jana Gana Mana" lionizing the Indian independence movement.He renounced his knighthood in protest against the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The Knighthood i.e. the title of 'Sir' was conferred on him by the same King George V after receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature for "Gitanjali" from the government of Sweden. Two of Tagore's more politically charged compositions, "Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo" ("Where the Mind is Without Fear" :Gitanjali Poem#35) and "Ekla Chalo Re" ("If They Answer Not to Thy Call, Walk Alone"), gained mass appeal, with the latter favoured by Gandhi and Netaji.
The proponents of the controversy stress the usage of the following words and phrases to claim that Jana Gana Mana was written for the King and the Queen of England-
Stanza 1: (Indian) People wake up remembering your good name and ask for your blessings and they sing your glories.
Stanza 2: Around your 'throne' people of all religions come and give their love and anxiously wait to hear your kind words.
Stanza 3: Praise to the 'King' for being 'the charioteer'.
Stanza 4: Drowned in deep ignorance, and suffering, poverty-stricken, this unconscious country waits for the wink of our eye and your mother's (Earth's) true protection.
Stanza 5: In your compassionate plans, the sleeping Bharat (India) will wake up. We bow down to your feet O Queen(Earth), and victory come to Rajeshwara(the lord of the lords).
The supporters of the nationalist message of Jana Gana Mana claim that "King","Throne" and "chariot" refer to the Almighty 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!"
Poem #35: "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high...Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."
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. The saving referred to here, could be from 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. motherbhumi 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.
Another controversy is that only those provinces that were under British rule, i.e. Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravid (South India), Odisha and Bengal, were mentioned. None of the princely states – Kashmir, Rajasthan, Hyderabad, Mysore or Kerala – or the states in North-East India, which are integral parts of India now, were mentioned. But opponents of this proposition claim that Tagore mentioned only the borders states of India to include complete India. Whether the princely states would form a part of a liberated Indian republic was a matter of debate even till Indian Independence. 'Dravida' includes the people from the south (though Dravida specifically means Tamil and even then, the same consideration is not given for the south since there are many distinct people whereas in the north each of the distinct people are named) and 'Jolodhi' (Stanza 1) is Sanskrit for "seas and oceans". Even North-East which was under British rule or holy rivers apart from Ganges and Yamuna are not mentioned to keep the song in its rhythm. India has 29 states, 7 union territories.
In 2005, there were calls to delete the word "Sindh" and substitute it with the word Kashmir. The argument was that Sindh was no longer a part of India, having become part of Pakistan as a result of the Partition of 1947. Opponents of this proposal hold that the word "Sindh" refers to the Indus and to Sindhi culture, and that Sindhi people are an integral part of India's cultural fabric. The Supreme Court of India declined to change the national anthem and the wording remains unchanged.
- Vande Mataram, a poem by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee adopted as the national song of India
- Subh Sukh Chain, national anthem (Qaumi Tarana) of the Provisional Government of Free India
- Bengali: জন গণ মন, Jônô Gônô Mônô
- National Anthem – National Symbols – Know India. Nation Portal of Government of India.
- "The Morning Song of India". K. Ramanraj.
- "English Translation of the anthem as meant by tagore". www.poetandpoem.com. 11 Feb 2015. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- "All 5 stanzas of Jana Gana Mana with Bengali script".
- Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi (2011). Rabindranath Tagore : an interpretation. New Delhi: Viking, Penguin Books India. p. 206. ISBN 978-0670084555.
Incidentally a myth regarding this song needs to be refuted and laid to rest. It is on record that the song was written on 11 December 1911. On December 12 1911 the Delhi Durbar met to honour King Emperor George V. Obviously a poem written on 11 December could not be intended for an event the following day. The song was actually sung at the twenty-seventh session of the Indian National Congress, Calcutta on 28 December 1911 as the opening song at the beginning of the day’s proceedings. Thereafter it was also sung at the foundation day anniversary of Adi Brahma Samaj in February 1912 and included in their collection of psalms, Brahma Sangit.
- Vani Doraisamy (19 March 2006). "India beats: A Song for the Nation". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- "English Translation of Janaganamana". Manjula Bose. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "BBC News – Indian anthem Jana Gana Mana turns 100". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "Controversy Surrounding The Indian National Anthem". Rare India Fact. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "To sing or not to sing Vande Mataram". Indian Express. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors V. State of Kerala & Ors  INSC 167". indiankanoon.org. 11 August 1986. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- "Tagore and Jana Gana Mana". Monish R. Chatterjee.
- "India: Are we still singing for the Empire?". Pradip Kumar Datta.
- "Gitanjali Poem#50".
- "Gitanjali Poem#51".
- "Gitanjali Poem#35".
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Jana Gana Mana
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|Media from Commons|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Data from Wikidata|
- Know India: National anthem, Government of India website
- The Morning Song of India. Wikisource. English translation of the of hymn "Jana Gana Mana" in Tagore's handwriting