Anthem of Indian Souls

Various sources say that there are more than 30000 freedom fighters alive in this great nation. The veterans’ eyes would be the right spectacles to see the free India evolving into the new India. This jubilant nation is beautiful in many senses; be it the culture, the vernacular, nature, people etc., it is known for its unity in diversity. The sons of the soil have toiled so to knit this stunning sense of unity in the soul of every Indian; national anthem is one key ingredient that holds all the souls of this nation in harmony.

Every nation of the globe has a national anthem, and it is special to the natives. Likewise, Indian national anthem is an integral part of every Indian’s patriotic spirit, commitment to the growth of the nation and the very existence of the people. Togetherness is emphasised, whilst singing of its diversity; that is the most special attribute of the Indian National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana”, penned by the multi-faceted Bengali poet, writer, music composer, painter, and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

When was it written, and why?

Just Google it and it throws the date 11 December 1911. Surf a still deep you’ll get to read about the arrival of King George V and the penning of Jana Gana Mana happened to be coincidental. There was a rumour that the song was written as an ode to the British sovereign. Later on 10 November 1937, the same was clarified when the poet himself wrote in a letter, which reads

“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..” [1]

Evolution of the Anthem

Originally, the song was a Brahmo hymn in Bengali with many Sanskrit words. The song reflects India’s freedom struggle, culture, and values. Later, the song was rendered with Hindi-Urdu version by Captain Abid Hasan Safrani, an INA (Indian National Army) Officer. The Hindi-Urdu version titled ‘Subh Sukh Chain’ was given the melody by Captain Ram Singh Thakur. All these contributions establish the spirit of Indians towards glorifying the nation’s valiance beyond any barriers like religion, cast, or ethnicity.

There is also an English version rendered by Tagore, done with the help of Margaret Cousins, is referred to as ‘The Morning Song of India’.

On 27 December 1911, Jana Gana Mana was sung for the first time on the second of the INC’s (Indian National Congress) annual conference held at Calcutta.

Later in 1942, on 11 September the first-ever musical opus was performed at Hamburg. Later, even though the song had not any formal status, was pronounced as the national anthem of the “Free India” by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.

Who sang it first?

Tagore’s niece Sarla Devi Chowdhurani intonated the song in company with a few friends, while Tagore set the notation of the song in 1919, which is conformed to until today.

How long should the national anthem last when sung?

52 seconds is the official duration of singing the national anthem completely; it should not extend beyond that. Nevertheless, there is also a shorter version of the anthem, which comprises the first and last lines of the song that takes about 20 seconds to play.

What rule stands?

There is no law to state singing the national anthem is mandatory. Moreover, if a person just prefers to stand up in silence when the national anthem is sung, it isn’t considered to be rude or insulting in any way. But, if someone intentionally causes any sort of disruption while it is being played, it obviously raises eyebrows and he/she is liable for punishment, as stated in law. [1]

India is a fabric of cultures that is vibrant in its spiritual essence. The nation and its people have been inseparable by spirit and patriotism. Every time the national anthem is sung or aired, it kindles such sense of unity and reinstates the sense of brotherhood in the heart of the millions of people that make this nation. Breathe the scent of the soil, and the scent is in this Brahmo hymn penned by Rabindranath Tagore.

Jai Hind! Jai Ho!



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