National Anthem: Not quite sure what it means


It is that time of the year again - when we celebrate our freedom and feel patriotic. After all, freedom is now taken for granted and August 15 is just another holiday and patriotic feelings are best expressed during a cricket match.

Nevertheless, bravehearts from Metrolife stepped out to speak to youngsters on the occasion to figure out a very simple thing. 

Do the college and school kids know what Jana Gana Mana our national anthem means? Written by Rabindranath Tagore Jana Gana Mana was adopted as the national anthem on 24 January 1950 just ahead of India being decl­a­red a Republic, though the song had been sung as early as December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of Indian National Congress. 

It is interesting to note that tho­u­gh the national anthem has been written in Bangla partially, it can be understood by those who do not know the language. It uses a lot of Sanskrit words, which are also found in a majority of other Indian languages. 

Last year, specifically, 27 December 2011 marked the completion of 100 years of Jana Gana Mana since it was rendered for the first time.

A formal rendition of the national anthem takes 52 seconds while a shortened v­e­r­s­ion comprising the first stanza and last lines lasts 20 seconds.

But do you really want to know what Gen Y knows about Jana Gana Mana?

Avik Mitra, a III year student of Motilal Nehru College, Delhi University has no clue about the meaning of the words contained in Jana Gana Mana. “I sang the song for more than 12 years but nobo­dy has ever explained to me the meaning of the anthem. Frankly, we never asked also. It was like a ritual during the school assembly and we followed it like good students,” he adds with a smile.

Same is the case with Rinki Negi, a III year Maitreyee College student. “All I know is that it was written by Rabind­r­a­nath Tagore, that’s it. Now that we have passed out of school, it is completely out of our lives. It was only till school that we sang the national them. Today, I have even forgotten the lyrics of Jana Gana Mana.” If this was the situation with the college students, then schools students are also no better, just worse. Aviral Mukherjee, a Std X student from Cambridge School, Noida shared his feelings about the national anthem. “We sing it every day as we have to sing it. It is compulsory for all of us, even if we don’t know the meaning of the song. Our music teacher also has never explained to us the meaning of the song. It’s not our mistake.”

Then there is Ansh Verma, a Std VIII student of Somerville School who goes a step further. “I at times do not even sing the anthem during our morning assembly and the prayer meetings as I am one of those who stands at the end of the line. 

“I, at times, just wait for the meeting to get over so that we can go to our respective classes. The question of knowing the lyrics of the song does not even arise,” he says with a touch of scorn.  

Did someone say patriotic?

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