Saturday, July 11, 2015

National anthem controversy

Copied from Facebook friends post.
Indranil Banerjie
5:29 PM (2 hours ago)


There is a popular conspiracy that has been around forever that claims Rabindranath Tagore composed his 'Jana Gana Mana' to welcome George V to India, the same Emperor which he later denied writing his anthem in the honor of.

These conspirators who think Tagore a British stooge poses a very rudimentary knowledge of history and are unfamiliar with Tagore's contributions to improvements in rural education and efforts in the uplifting of tribal people in India and are definitely oblivious to the 4th stanza of our national anthem which has the words "Snehomoyi tumi mata" which means "Oh Loving Mother!" clearly stating it was not written for King George V.

Furthermore, in his letter of 19 March 1939, Tagore writes, "I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind." (Purvasa, Phalgun, 1354, p738.)

Some even say that he renounced his knighthood to falsely show his patriotism and to make amends for glorifying a callous megalomaniacal regime. However, Tagore had no real reason to go to the extent of renouncing his knighthood to show his patriotism,which if he had, he could have gotten away with just penning another song. The fact he actually parted with knighthood, indubitably, is evidence enough that he was a true patriot who placed his country above himself, quite unlike some maharajas who were happy to lead a life of hedonism while their hapless subjects perished under the imperialistic ambitions of the British!

Besides, the fourth verse of the poem clearly shows it was dedicated to a female which King George wasn't.
His letter to Lord Chelmsford relinquishing his knighthood:
Letter from Rabindranath Tagore to Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India
Calcutta [India]
31 May 1919

"Your Excellency,
The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in the Punjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India. The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilised governments, barring some conspicuous exceptions, recent and remote. Considering that such treatment has been meted out to a population, disarmed and resourceless, by a power which has the most terribly efficient organisation for destruction of human lives, we must strongly assert that it can claim no political expediency, far less moral justification. The accounts of the insults and sufferings by our brothers in Punjab have trickled through the gagged silence, reaching every corner of India, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people has been ignored by our rulers—possibly congratulating themselves for what they imagine as salutary lessons. This callousness has been praised by most of the Anglo-Indian papers, which have in some cases gone to the brutal length of making fun of our sufferings, without receiving the least check from the same authority—relentlessly careful in smothering every cry of pain and expression of judgement from the organs representing the sufferers. Knowing that our appeals have been in vain and that the passion of vengeance is blinding the nobler vision of statesmanship in our Government, which could so easily afford to be magnanimous as befitting its physical strength and moral tradition, the very least that I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of the millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror. The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part wish to stand, shorn of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen, who, for their so-called insignificance, are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings.

These are the reasons which have painfully compelled me to ask Your Excellency, with due reference and regret, to relieve me of my title of Knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.

Yours faithfully,

Rabindranath Tagore "
Source: Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, eds., Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Letter published in Modern Review (Calcutta monthly), July 1919.

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