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Jana Gana Mana

"Jana Gana Mana"[1] (, ) is the national anthem of India. Written in highly Sanskritized (Tatsama) Bengali, it is the first of five stanzas of a Brahmo hymn composed and scored by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung in [2] Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. "Jana Gana Mana" was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian national anthem on January 24, 1950. 27 December 2011 marked the completion of 100 years of Jana Gana Mana since it was sung for the first time.[3][4]

The original poem written by Rabinder Nath Tagore was translated into Hindi by Abid Ali. The original Hindi version of the song Jana Gana Mana, translated by Ali and based on the poem by Tagore, was a little different. It was "Sukh Chain Ki Barkha Barase, Bharat Bhagya Hai Jaga....". Jana Gana Mana was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian national anthem on January 24, 1950.[3][4][5] [6][7][8][9]

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.[10] Tagore wrote down the English translation[11] 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 done in the traditional grandiose Martial Style of music, as scored by Captain Ram Singh Thakur in 1943.[12]



The text, though Bengali, is highly sanskritized (written in a literary register called Sadhu bhasa). 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 romanization.

Bengali script Bengali phonemic transcription NLK transliteration
- .

, , ,
J nog nomono-odhinaeoko j e he
P njabo Shindhu Gujora o M ra ha
Drabi o Utk lo B nggo
Bindho Himach lo Jomuna G ngga
Uchchh lo j lodhi toronggo
T bo shubho name jage
T bo shubho ashish mage
Gahe t bo j eogatha
J nog nomonggolodaeoko j e he
J eo he, j eo he, j eo he,
j eo j eo j eo, j eo he

Translation into English

Rabindranath Tagore The following translation, attributed to Tagore, is provided by the Government of India's national portal:[10]

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, Dispenser of India's destiny. Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Shindhu, Gujarat and Maratha, Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bangla; 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 Ocean. 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 forever.

This English translation by Tagore is known as The Morning Song of India and continues for four more stanzas.

Musical Composition and English Translation

Courtyard in Madanapalle where Jana Gana Mana was first sung.

Rabindranath Tagore translated "Jana Gana Mana" from Bengali to English and also set it to music in Madanapalle,[12] 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 February 28, 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[11] and subsequently the national anthem.

Today, in the library of Besant Theosophical College in Madanapalle, the framed original English translation of Jana gana Mana, titled as The Morning Song of India in Tagore's handwriting, is displayed.[13]

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.[10]


Controversy shadowed Jana Gana Mana from the day of its first rendition in 1911 at the Congress session in Calcutta. King 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 anthem was a homage to the emperor[14].

The June 3rd edition of Indian Express reported the following. The Indian National Congress asked Tagore for a poem of welcome for King George. He tried to write it, but could not. He got up very early in the morning an wrote a very beautiful poem, not one of his best, but still beautiful. When he came down, he said to one of us, 'Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them. They will think it is addressed to the King.' All Tagore's own followers knew it meant God, but others did not.

The poet rebutted such 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."[15]. Continue reading the Conclusion section for more facts.

In July 1985 in the state of Kerala, some of the Jehovah's Witnesses' children were expelled from school under the instructions of Deputy Inspector of Schools for having refused to sing the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana. A parent, V. J. Emmanuel, appealed to the Supreme Court of India for legal remedy. On August 11, 1986, the Supreme Court overruled the Kerala High Court, and directed the respondent authorities to re-admit the children into the school. The decision went on to add: "Our tradition teaches tolerance, our philosophy preaches tolerance, our Constitution practices tolerance, let us not dilute it".[16]

A controversy swirls around the claim by Captain Ram Singh Thakur, an associate of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, that he, and not Rabindranath Tagore, wrote the score for the national anthem on Netaji's behest.[6][7][8] An advertisement released in Calcutta newspapers by the Gorkha Hill Council to mark the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose centenary on January 23, 1997 plunged him into controversy.[9] The advertisement hailed him as the Gorkha who set the national anthem to music, following sharp reactions that such a claim was never made before. Capt. Ram Singh Thakur intended to write a letter to President Shankar Dayal Sharma[9] claiming that his contribution in composing the score of the national anthem is being refuted just because he is a Gorkha. Netaji's nephew, Dr Sisir Bose, said that Captain Ram Singh Thakur had composed the band-score of a Hindi song, Subh Sukh Chain similar to the national anthem, but not identical. Tagore is widely believed to have himself set the lyrics of "Jana Gana Mana" to music as early as 1919,[12] like he had done to Amar Shonar Bangla, now the National Anthem of Bangladesh,[17] Ekla Cholo Re, another favorite song of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and his numerous other musical compositions, famous as Rabindra Sangeet. The credit to Tagore for the music of "Jana Gana Mana" is also upheld by the Government of India.[10]

Another controversy around Indian National Anthem is that the lyrics were composed to honor George V to mark his visit to India during the British Rule. Here is some more details of the same:

Translation in detail

Line 1:Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he Bharata-bhagya-vidhata Translation: O lord of our destiny you are the captain of our souls and of the people of Bharat (India).

Line 2: Punjaba-Sindhu-Gujarata-Maratha, Dravida-Utkala-Banga Translation: Your name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindhu, Gujarat and Maratha.

Line 3: Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga Tava shubhaname jage Tava shubha asisa mage. Translation: "Tava shubha name jage Tava shubha asisa mage" Your (the eternal charioteer of India) auspicious names echo in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalyas, mingle in the music of Jamuna and Ganga and are chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.

Line 4: Gahe tava jaya gatha Translation: They pray for your blessing and sing your praise (unknowingly or knowingly they chant your names and are blessed.)

Line 5: Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he Bharata-bhagya-vidhata Translation: "The saving of all people waits in your hand, thou dispenser of India's destiny".

Line 6: Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he! Translation: Victory, victory, victory to thee Victory Victory Victory to you our God of destiny, because you are ruling us, and we are your servants. So you always win.


Jana Gana Mana is India's national anthem written in Sanskrit by poet Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Prize Winner)

"The National Congress people asked Tagore for a poem of welcome. He tried to write it, but could not. He got up very early in the morning an wrote a very beautiful poem, not one of his best, but still beautiful. When he came down, he said to one of us, 'Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them. They will think it is addressed to the King.' All Tagore's own followers knew it meant God, but others did not." (The Indian Express, June 3, 1968)

The Calcutta Congress session began on December 26, 1911. The proceedings on the first day began with Vandemataram. The second day was entirely devoted to things connected with the welcoming of King George V, and this day the song Janaganamana was sung.

Tagore's own statement however refutes the belief that the song was written in praise of George V: In a 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."[18]

See also




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External links

with The Complete English Translation

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