January 26, 2013

The National Anthem of India

The singing of the national anthem along with the hoisting of the national flag is principal activity in any Republic Day event. On the occasion of the 64th Republic Day, I have tried to track down some unusual renditions of this very interesting song.

The anthem as we know it today, in the words and tunes of Rabindranath Tagore is not the first official version of the anthem even though it was unveiled for the first time at the 1911 convention of the Indian National Congress.

Many of us recognise the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind or the Provisional Government of Free India, set up by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Singapore on October 21, 1943 as the first post-colonial Indian government with its own currency, courts of law and civil code. Subhas Bose recognized Tagore's song as the anthem but because he wanted to give it a national flavour he had the sanskritized Bengali transcreated by  Col Abid Hassan as "Sabh Sukh Chain" and set to tune by Capt Ram Mohan. This was published in the form of gramophone records from Tokyo and sung at all Government events including Bose's tragic farewell from his officers in the closing days of the WWII.

Here are the lyrics taken from Wikipedia
--First stanza--
Subh sukh chain ki barkha barse,
Bharat bhaag hai jaaga.
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha,
Dravid, Utkal, Banga,
Chanchal sagar, Vindh, Himaalay,
Neela Jamuna, Ganga.
Tere nit gun gaayen,
Tujh se jivan paayen,
Har tan paaye asha.
Suraj ban kar jag par chamke,
Bharat naam subhaga,
Jai ho, jai ho, jai ho,
Jai, jai, jai, jai ho.
--Second stanza--
Sab ke dil mein preet basaaey,
Teri meethi baani.
Har sube ke rahne waale,
Har mazhab ke praani,
Sab bhed aur farak mita ke,
Sab god mein teri aake,
Goondhe prem ki mala.
Suraj ban kar jag par chamke,
Bharat naam subhaga,
Jai ho, jai ho, jai ho,
Jai, jai, jai, jai ho.
--Third stanza--
Subh savere pankh pakheru,
Tere hi gun gayen,
Baas bhari bharpur hawaaen,
Jeevan men rut laayen,
Sab mil kar Hind pukare,
Jai Azad Hind ke nare.
Pyaara desh hamara.
Suraj ban kar jag par chamke,
Bharat naam subhaga,
Jai ho, jai ho, jai ho,
Jai, jai, jai, jai ho.

For a variety of reasons, the Constituent Assembly in 1950 decided to revert to the original lyrics of Tagore and the same was formally accepted as the National Anthem of India. Here you have Rabindranath Tagore himself singing the song.

There is another video with Tagore's voice but I think it is a fake. But here is the link anyway.

Here is another unusual and touching rendition of the anthem by deaf children.

The anthem played by a rock band ! In tune with the times I suppose

The anthem being played by the Indian Army at Siachen, the highest active battlefield in the world

And here is the anthem by the veritable A list of the India's musicians

But in all this, let us not forget the first song that was used to raise the banner of revolt against colonial rule and created the slogan that became the rallying cry for the Indian independence movement. Written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and inserted into his classic novel, Ananda Math, it was sung with great fervour by every Indian nationalist patriot on every occasion and even while being led to the gallows of a British jail. Its words "Vande Mataram" is the standard greeting used in any event of the Indian National Congress party and many others.

Here is a rather jingoist rendition of the song from the movie Ananda Math

and here is the official version of the same

Unfortunately it lost out to the current national anthem because of its referral to the country as being equivalent to the divine fell foul of the politically correct interpretation of secularism. But because of its intimate association with the nationalist movement it is officially accepted as the National Song of India.

Here is another contemporary rendition of the same song arranged by Bickram Ghosh
Jai Hind


Unknown said...

Great Concept. Whenever the anthem is sung or played live, the audience should stand in attention position. It cannot be indiscriminately sung or played randomly. Hence sahara people are putting their best effort to make the work record. We should also participate to achieve the world record. Today we live amid a sea of corruptions but tomorrow, through creativity and struggle, win the fight to free all of our heart and minds. Let’s get creative. Let’s win.
Bharat Bhawna Diwas

Ananth said...

Interesting..thanks for sharing....by the way one of the video is not playing