The CSF Memo to Prime Minister and Union Government on National Anthem

December 27, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

JANA GANA MANAMumbai, December 27, 2011: 100 years of Jana Gana Mana – Let it now reflect the aspirations of all
Need to update and translate national anthem to reflect Indian reality

On the occasion of the centenary of the Indian national anthem, The CSF would like to request you to consider changing the the Jana Gana Mana in its present form and have lyrics reflecting the new reality that is India today. The country today is vastly different from the one visualized by Rabindranath Tagore, a 100 years ago, when it was first sung on this day in 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. The anthem is written in highly Sanskritized Bengali, which is better identified with the Hindu Brahmin upper caste and a single state, that was the elite class of the day. We today need to reflect the aspirations and myriad identities of disparate castes, religions, cultures, languages, that make up modern India, comprising 28 states, 7 union territories and 22 officially recognized languages. One cannot understand the national anthem, which currently is archaic and needs to be in Hindi, which is the national language. This and multiple translations will make singing it more meaningful”.
Besides, only those provinces that were under British rule, i.e. Punjab, Gujarat, Maratha etc. were mentioned. None of the princely states or those which are integral parts of India now, such as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Kerala or those under the Portuguese rule, such as Goa or the Arabian Sea were included. Rather, territories like Sindh which is now part Pakistan, find a mention, as India’s Sindhi community jointly opposed the deletion, claiming the word Sindh to be representative of their community. But, the North East, which is an integral part of India, has not been included. Since such small token unifying factors are ignored, the people feel neglected, resulting in insurgency and secessionist tendencies in the region.

Further, “Jana Gana Mana is only the first of five stanzas of a hymn composed and scored by Tagore, at the time of the Coronation Durbar of George V. Some consider it to be in praise of King George V and not god or India, our motherland. A view held by states that Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka implies, King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata is “the bestower of good fortune”. This is needless controversy and the records need to be set right. Rabindranath Tagore never stated, who he was referring to, when he penned the national anthem, which in today’s changed Indian scenario, with India not being a monarchy, but a secular democracy, with different religions and even atheism thriving, we need to specify.
In view of the above, we urge you to consider our proposal, which is in the interest of a united and strong India, which should be different from that of our neighbours and reflected in the national anthem.
– joseph dias, the csf general secretary

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