stories, plays, rhymes and other things for children and childlike adults

Monday, April 11, 2016

Indian National Anthem Explained

All National Anthems connect citizens of a country and fill them with pride and respect for the country in which they were born. Ours does the same thing, but given that Independence came to us as late as 1947, the National Anthem still has, perhaps, greater emotional impact on us. After all, this was something our grandparents struggled to win the right to sing in honour of a motherland they wanted to free from foreign rule.

I asked my daughter this morning whether she knew what the words of the National Anthem mean. She didn’t. So for her and all the children of India who live in any part of the world, here’s my translation of Jana Gana Mana in English. I’ve tried to make the English true to the Anthem’s words but easy enough for you to undertand.

Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata


The leader of the people’s minds and hearts, we praise you
You determine the fortunes of Bharat

Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha
Dravida Utkala Banga
Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga
Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga


Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, the lands of Dravid, Orissa and Bengal;
the Vindhyas, the Himalayas, Yamuna and Ganga,
the chanting waves of the seas,

Tubh Shubha Name Jage
Tubh Shubha Ashisha Mange
Gahe Tubh Jaya Gata


all wake up to the sound of your name;
all ask for your happy blessings;
all sing of your victories.

Jan Gan Mangaldayak Jay He
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
Jaya He ! Jaya He ! Jaya He !
Jaya,Jaya,Jaya,Jaya He "


The benefactor of the people, we praise you.
You determine the fortunes of Bharat.
All praise; all praise, all praise.
We hail you.

This is just the first stanza of a 5-stanza song written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The song was first sung at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress on December 27th, 1911.

The first stanza was adopted as the National Anthem of India on 24th January, 1950 by the Constituent Assembly.

There are a lot of rumours about the anthem. A recent rumour says that UNESCO voted it the best National Anthem in the world. A very old one says that Tagore wrote the song Jana Gana Mana to felicitate King George V.

Both are untrue.

In India, we stand with our hands straight down our sides when the National Anthem is played and we sing our anthem with pride.

1 comment:

avdi said...

Nice meaning. It is a simple song and easy to learn as well.

I have started my day with this song for so many years. Even now everyone stands up when the national anthem is being played in a cinema hall.