India's National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana'

Indian flag
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The national anthem of India, "Jana Gana Mana," is sung on many occasions, but particularly on two national holidays—Independence Day (August 15) and Republic Day (January 26). 

The song includes the lyrics and music of the first stanza of the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore's "Jana Gana Mana," written in praise of India. Below are the words of India's national anthem:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

This full version of the anthem is about 52 seconds long. There is also a shorter version, which includes only the first and last lines of the full version. The short version of India's national anthem is 20 seconds long:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Tagore translated "Jana Gana Mana" into English as follows:

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
Dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bengal;
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 Sea.
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, victory, victory to thee.

By rule, whenever the anthem is sung or played live, the audience should stand at attention. It cannot be indiscriminately sung or played randomly. The full version should be played accompanied by mass singing on the unfurling of the national flag, on cultural occasions, at ceremonial functions, and on arrival of the president of India at any government or public function and also immediately before his departure from such functions. 

The National Song of India

Equal in status with national anthem is the national song of India, called "Vande Mataram." Composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, it inspired the people of the nation in their struggle for freedom from British Rule. This song was first sung at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress and is as follows:

Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Vande Mataram!
Shubhrajyotsna pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram!

Hindu guru, patriot, and litteratteur Sri Aurobindo translated the song into English prose:

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly watered, richly fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

Song's Role in Independence 

"Vande Mataram" was first published in Bankimchandra's novel Ananda Math in 1882 and was set to music by Tagore, the composer of the national anthem. The first couple of words of the song became the slogan of India's nationalist movement. "Vande Mataram" was the war cry that inspired those working for India's freedom from British rule.

In September 2005, the centenary of "Vande Mataram" was celebrated at the Red Fort in Delhi. As part of celebrations, an exhibition of rare portraits of martyrs was opened in the Red Fort. Tributes were paid to Madame Bhikaiji Cama, who unfurled the flag of Indian freedom with "Vande Mataram" inscribed on it at the International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart in Germany in 1907.

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Your Citation
Das, Subhamoy. "India's National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana'." Learn Religions, Sep. 21, 2021, Das, Subhamoy. (2021, September 21). India's National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana'. Retrieved from Das, Subhamoy. "India's National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana'." Learn Religions. (accessed June 2, 2023).