Indian National Anthem in the News? Well, It’s Not the First Time
The Indian national anthem has been mired with controversies since its conception. One school of thought believes that it was written as an ode to the only British king who visited India, George V while another believes that it addresses the almighty God as ‘Bharata Bhagya Vidhata’, and not George V.
Written in December 1911, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was chosen as the national anthem on January 24, 1950, over ‘Bande Mataram’ and ‘Sare Jahan Se Achchha’.
1. January 1997: Who Composed the Score for 'Jana Mana Gana'?
Rabindranath Tagore has been attributed with not only writing the national anthem but also composing the tune it’s sung to. But one Ram Singh Thakur Gorkha claimed that the music score was his, and not Tagore’s. A Kolkata-based Rabindra Sangeet exponent Subinoy Roy had to face a defamation suit for claiming it is unimaginable for Gorkha to have composed such a tune.
2. January 2005: Sindh Should Be Replaced by Kashmir
Sanjeev Bhatnagar filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court asking the court to delete the word ‘Sindh’ from the national anthem and replacing it with ‘Kashmir’. Supreme Court rejected Bhatnagar’s petition.
3. April 2007: Infosys Chief Felt National Anthem Embarrasses Foreigners
In a ceremony at Infosys, where then President APJ Kalam was also invited, an instrumental version of the national anthem was played. On being asked by the media about this decision Murthy said, “We had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners on board here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem.” Murthy later apologised for his comment.
4. September 2008: UNESCO's Spam E-Mail
In September 2008, an e-mail circulated by UNESCO announced that UNESCO had declared the Indian national anthem as the best national anthem in the world. The e-mail turned out to be spam.
5. December 2008: Shashi Tharoor 'Disrespects' the National Anthem
In a petition filed at the Ernakulam District Court, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was accused of disrespecting the national anthem. In a function in Kochi, Tharoor interrupted the singing of the national anthem and urged the audience to put their hands on their chest, like the Americans do, while singing national anthem. Tharoor was exonerated of all charges.
6. April 2015: Katju Claimed Tagore Was British Stooge
Former Supreme Court judge Katju called Rabindranath Tagore a British stooge and claimed that the song doesn’t show any love for his motherland. He said it only praises the colonial rulers.
7. July 2015: BJP Leader Kalyan Singh Wanted 'Adhinayak' Removed
When veteran BJP leader Kalyan Singh was made Rajasthan Governor, he decided to rake up an old controversy to keep himself in the public eye. He claimed that Indian national anthem praises British emperor, George V and asked for the word ‘Adhinayak’ to be removed from the song.
8. March 2016: Shiv Sena MP Wants 'Sindh' to Be Omitted
Last but not the least, Shiv Sena MP on Tuesday demanded the word ‘Sindh’ to be removed from the national anthem, in Parliament.
The history of India’s national anthem is rife with controversies. It’ll be interesting to see what people come up with next.
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