A few facts on India’s National Anthem

Malabika Bisharad

Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore created  his famous  national song  ‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’ which was sung  for the first time at the twenty – six season of the Indian National Congress on 27th December 1911 held in Calcutta under the leadership of Tagore’s grand-nephew Dinendranath Tagore. Sarala Devi Chowdhurani, Tagore’s niece intonated the song along with a few friends.

‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’ originally composed in Bengali,it is an adoption from song ,’Bharata Bhagya Vidhata’/ “Dispenser of the destiny of India”, written by Tagore.The complete song consisted of five stanzas in Sanskritized Bengali that reflects India’s Culture, values and independence  struggle and was first published in Tattabodhini Patrika in 1905.

The news of the 26th session of Indian National Congress was published in ‘Bengali Patrika’ on 28th December 1911 along with the English translation of the song.

‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’ was first published under the title “Bharat Vidhata” in January 1912 in the ‘Tatvabodhini Patrika’.

Margaret Cousins wrote the musical notes for Tagore’s lyrics in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh in February 1919 titled “Morning Song of India”. Tagore sung the song at a session in Besant The Theosophical College in Madanapalle on 28th February 1919.

In 1938 A.I.C.C endorsed Tagore’s view on the portion of the “Vandematram” song which could be adopted as the National Anthem of India. But some controversies were aroused with ‘Vandematram’.

During that time Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose wanted ‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’  to be the  the National Anthem of India and he came forward with the proposal.

‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’ was first performed [not sung] in Hamburg, Germany on September11, 1942.

“Subh Sukh Chain”/ “Auspicious Happiness” was the National Anthem of the ‘Provisional Government of Free India’ established by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.  The song ‘Subh Sukh Chain’ was based on Tagore’s “Bharata Bhagya Vidhata”. It was first sung on 5th July 1943 in Singapore in Hindustani language. It became highly populared   in South East Asia and in India.

On 15th August 1947 it was sung when India’s tricolour was hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru in Lalkella for the first time in the first independence day of India.

The members of the Indian delegation to the general Assembly of the United Nations held at New York in 1947 gave a recording of Jana Gana Mana as the country’s National Anthem. The song was played by the house orchestra in front of a gathering consisting of representatives from all over the world.

When the question of which song (Vandematram or Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka) to use as National Anthem came up in the constituent Assembly on 26th August 1948, Jawaharlal Nehru,the first Prime minister of India announced that until a final decision was reached, Jana Gana Mana would be used. Nehru explained that it “had been adopted as a National Anthem by the Indian National Army (INA) in South East Asia and had subsequently attained a degree of popularity in India also”.

‘Jana Gana Mana adhinayaka’, the hindi version was officially proclaimed as India’s National Anthem by the constituent Assembly of India on January 24th 1950.

On 24th January 1950 in his address  Dr Rajendra Prasad the then President of Constituent Assembly and later the President of India  said, ” The composition consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is National Anthem of India, subject to such alternations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vandematram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it…”