Sare Jahan se Accha
Sare Jahan se Accha (Hindi: सारे जहां से अच्छा; Urdu: سارے جہاں سے اچھا) Sāre Jahāṉ se Acchā; formal name: Tarānah-e-Hindī or Tarānah-i-Hindī (Hindi: तराना ए हिंदी; Urdu: ترانۂ ہندی – Anthem of the People of Hindustan", alternate name: Hindustan Hamara), is one of the enduring patriotic poems of the Urdu language. Written for children in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry by the poet Muhammad Iqbal, the poem was published in the weekly journal Ittehad on 16 August 1904. Recited by Iqbal the following year at Government College, Lahore, now in Pakistan, it quickly became an anthem of opposition to the British rule in India.
The song, an ode to Hindustan—the land comprising present-day Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan—both celebrated and cherished the land even as it lamented its age-old anguish. As Tarana-e-Hindi, it was later published in 1924 in the Urdu book Bang-i-Dara.
Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College, Lahore at that time, and was invited by a student Lala Har Dayal to preside over a function. Instead of delivering a speech, Iqbal sang Saare Jahan Se Achcha. The song, in addition to embodying yearning and attachment to the land of Hindustan, expressed "cultural memory" and had an elegiac quality. In 1905, the 27-year-old Iqbal viewed the future society of the subcontinent as both a pluralistic and composite Hindu-Muslim culture. Later that year he left for Europe for a three-year sojourn that was to transform him into an Islamic philosopher and a visionary of a future Islamic society.
Iqbal's transformation and Tarana-e-Milli
In 1910, Iqbal wrote another song for children, Tarana-e-Milli (Anthem of the Religious Community), which was composed in the same metre and rhyme scheme as Saare Jahan Se Achcha, but which renounced much of the sentiment of the earlier song. The sixth stanza of Saare Jahan Se Achcha (1904), which is often quoted as proof of Iqbal's secular outlook:
Maẕhab nahīṉ sikhātā āpas meṉ bair rakhnā
Hindī haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai Hindūstāṉ hamārā
Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves
We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.
contrasted significantly with the first stanza of Tarana-e-Milli (1910) reads:
Cīn o-ʿArab hamārā, Hindūstāṉ hamārā
Muslim haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai sārā jahāṉ hamārā
Iqbal's world view had now changed; it had become both global and Islamic. Instead of singing of Hindustan, "our homeland," the new song proclaimed that "our homeland is the whole world." Two decades later, in his presidential address to the Muslim League annual conference in Allahabad in 1930, he was to support a separate nation-state in the Muslim majority areas of the sub-continent, an idea that inspired the creation of Pakistan.
Popularity in India
In spite of its creator's disavowal of it, Saare Jahan Se Achcha has remained popular in India for nearly a century. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have sung it over a hundred times when he was imprisoned at Yerawada Jail in Pune in the 1930s.
In the 1930s and 1940s, it was sung to a slower tune. In 1945, while working in Bombay with IPTA (Indian Peoples Theater Association), the sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar was asked to compose the music for the Abbas Mastan movie Dharti ka Laal and the Chetan Anand movie Neecha Nagar. During this time, Ravi Shankar was asked to compose music for the song Saare jahan se accha. In an interview in 2009 with Shekhar Gupta, Ravi Shankar recounts that he felt that the existing tune was too slow and sad. To give it a more inspiring impact, he set it to a stronger tune which is today the popular tune of this song, which they then tried out as a group song. It was later recorded by the singer Lata Mangeshkar to an 3rd altogether different tune. Stanzas (1), (3), (4), and (6) of the song became an unofficial national song in India, and the Ravi Shankar version was adopted as the official quick march of the Indian Armed Forces. Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian cosmonaut, employed the first line of the song in 1984 to describe to then prime minister Indira Gandhi how India appeared from outer space. Former prime minister, Manmohan Singh, quoted the poem at his first press conference after becoming the Prime Minister.
सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोसिताँ हमारा
ग़ुर्बत में हों अगर हम, रहता है दिल वतन में
परबत वह सबसे ऊँचा, हम्साया आसमाँ का
गोदी में खेलती हैं इसकी हज़ारों नदियाँ
ऐ आब-ए-रूद-ए-गंगा! वह दिन हैं याद तुझको?
मज़्हब नहीं सिखाता आपस में बैर रखना
यूनान-ओ-मिस्र-ओ-रूमा सब मिट गए जहाँ से
कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी
इक़्बाल! कोई महरम अपना नहीं जहाँ में
Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan,
We are its nightingales, and it (is) our garden abode
If we are in an alien place, the heart remains in the homeland,
Know us to be only there where our heart is.
That tallest mountain, that shade-sharer of the sky,
It (is) our sentry, it (is) our watchman
In its lap where frolic thousands of rivers,
Whose vitality makes our garden the envy of Paradise.
O the flowing waters of the Ganges, do you remember that day
When our caravan first disembarked on your waterfront?
Religion does not teach us to bear animosity among ourselves
We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.
Such is our existence that it cannot be erased
Even though, for centuries, the time-cycle of the world has been our enemy.
iqbal! We have no confidant in this world
What does any one know of our hidden pain?
Notes and references
- Pritchett, Frances. 2000. "Tarana-e-Hindi and Taranah-e-Milli: A Study in Contrasts." Columbia University Department of South Asian Studies.
- Gupta, Shekhar (5 December 2009). "Walk the talk - Interview with Pandit Ravi Shankar". NDTV. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- Iqbal: Tarana-e-Milli, 1910. Columbia University, Department of South Asian Studies.
- Although "Chin" refers to China in modern Urdu, in Iqbal's day it referred to Central Asia, coextensive with historical Turkestan. See also, Iqbal: Tarana-e-Milli, 1910. Columbia University, Department of South Asian Studies.
- Pritchett, Frances. 2000. Tarana-e-Hindi and Tarana-e-Milli: A Close Comparison. Columbia University Department of South Asian Studies.
- A look at Iqbal; The Sunday Tribune – May 28, 2006
- Times of India: Saare Jahan Se..., it's 100 now
- Indian Military Marches.
- India Empowered to Me Is: Saare Jahan Se Achcha, the home of world citizens
- "Here they are to be pronounced not Hindūstāṉ and gu-lis-tāṉ, respectively, as usual, but Hindositāṉ and gul-si-tāṉ, respectively, to suit the meter." From: Pritchett, F. 2004. "Taraanah-i-Hindii" Columbia University, Department of South Asian Studies.
- Pronounced "tiray" to suit the meter, in contrast to the usual "tayray." From: From: Pritchett, F. 2004. "Taraanah-i-Hindii" Columbia University, Department of South Asian Studies.
- Iqbal bibliography
- Amar Shonar Bangla
- Jana Gana Mana
- Vande Mataram
- Qaumi Tarana
- National Pledge (India)
- "Best Indian Poems"