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The Jana Gana Mana controversy

by williamgurumayum
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Still remembering those days when the feeling of anti-India among the Manipuri youths during late 80s reached its peak. It was during our schooldays where our teacher compelled us to sing the National Anthem … Jana Gana Mana. I never learnt the song by hard and for that my teachers would certainly canned me at my leg for murmuring and not singing the song. Then come the daily prayer as it was Christian missionary school, at which I never remember fully except for the first line … Our father in heaven, holy be your name and … blah blah blah…. I still remember my teacher punishing me for not able to learnt the morning prayers. I sometimes regret for not able to remember the prayers as I thought I was never a good student.
Recently, I am happy to come across a facebook post by Justice Markandey Katju, at which he justify that Tagore wrote the National Anthem ‘ Jana Gana Mana ‘ in honour of the British King George the Fifth who visited India in 1911. After reading the post I now have no regrets to my failure to learnt the song.
Justice Markandey Katju light up a controversy on whether the Indian National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana ‘ was written by Rabindra Nath Tagore in praise of God, or as sycophancy in praise of the British King George the Fifth.
In his opinion the evidence is strongly in favour of the second view.
The Engish translation of the song … Jana Gana Mana is produced here:
“ Victory to thee, O ruler of the minds of the people,
O Dispenser of India’s destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida, Odisha and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
We get up with your blessed name on our lips
We pray for your auspicious blessings
Thou dispenser of India’s destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to thee.”
Now a few things must be noted about this song :
1.The song was composed at precisely the time of the visit of the British King George the Fifth and Queen Mary in December, 1911
2.The poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland.
3. The ‘ Adhinayak ‘ ( Lord or Ruler ) is being hailed. Who was the ruler of India in 1911 ? It was the British, headed by their King-Emperor.
4. Who was the ‘ Bharat Bhagya Vidhata ‘ ( dispenser of India’s destiny) at that time ? It was none but the British , since they were ruling India in 1911.
5.The song was sung for the first time in India on the second day of the Calcutta Conference of the Congress Party in December 1911. This Conference was held specially to give a loyal welcome to King George the Fifth, and to thank him for annulling the Partition of Bengal in 1905.
6. The agenda of the second day of the Calcutta Conference , in which the song was sung, was specially reserved for giving a loyal welcome to George the Fifth, and a resolution was adopted unanimously that day welcoming and expressing loyalty to the Emperor and Empress.
7. It was only as late as in 1937, when he wanted to show himself as a patriot, that Tagore denied that he had written the song to honour the British King
The above facts almost conclusively prove that ‘ Jana Gana Mana ‘ was composed and sung as an act of sycophancy to the British King.
I now have no regret for my weak memory in singing the national anthem. As for the prayer, I now learnt that that was not my destiny and have nothing to do with my life as a meitei.

Jai Ho !
Denish Yengkokpam
[email protected].

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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