My eyes are sore. My back is paining. I stand up, stretch, and yawn. Time to call.it a day today.. I gather all my work, tie up all the papers in a pad. And look towards my right side. Grace is still banging away at her computer keyboard.. ” Not finished yet. ” , I ask her. “Just a few more pages, sir, and I am done.” , she says. ” i have some work. I’ll take leave then. Happy week end.” . Grace looks up from her work and sings cheerfully in her dulcet voice, ” Janaganamana Adhinayaka.”. It is customary to sing the National Anthem at the conclusion of all public functions. People tend to sing the first few words of the song jovially or even flippantly to signify the drawing of a meeting or an event or a project to conclusion
I laugh, collect my things and leave. Nice lady, always cheerful, looks cheerful even under stress, uncomplaining and hard working. We have worked together of and on in our organisation for over two decades. I still remember the day she joined the department as a wisp of a girl. She has not changed much in any way, over all these years especially even after her happy marriage and two cute children.
“Janaganamana”, India’s National Anthem was written by Rabindranath Tagore, the eminent Bengali poet and Nobel laureate for literature. The Nobel prize was awarded to him for his beautiful book of poems , the “Geethanjali”. He was knighted by the British government, but later he relinquished his knighthood, heeding to the call for noncooperation, given by Gandhiji.
As for Janaganamana, there was a controversy. When it was written first, the phrase , “The Lord who ruled the destiny of the country.” in the poem was understood by some to mean the British monarch. But this opinion was refuted and overruled .And the poem eventually became the National Anthem of India. Either way it doesn’t matter, I feel. As per Indian Tradition, the monarch is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Vishnu is the Lord of the land, wealth and wellbeing of people. The Anthem is set to tune in Sankarabharanam raga which equates to the C major scale. But it sounds somewhat martial to me..
There is another song, “Vande Matharam”, which is also revered as a National Song of India .Sung normally in Desh raga mellifluously, it is an invocation to Mother India. It formed part of the novel, Ananda Muth, by another great Bengalee writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. It is a matter for pity and regret that it is looked down upon by certain sections of Indians, on the plea the song smacks of heathenism and connotes bowing to a God or rather Goddess not their own. How bowing to your own mother land can be a sacrilege, one is at a loss to understand.
Be that as it may.
I find that there are other nations that have more than one National Lyric. For example, US has many National Songs but two of them are the most popular. The one is the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner. “, by Francis Scott Key and the other is the National Hymn, ” My country, ’tis of thee,Sweet land of liberty,”, written by Samuel Francis Smith. The latter one was practically the de facto national anthem of the US, before the Star Spangled Banner was adopted by the Us Congress as the National Anthem.
Samuel Francis Smith is of some interest to India ,especially the Christian brethren of Andhra Pradesh, for another hymn written by him, popularly known as “The Lone Star.” hymn.
This poem written and rendered by him when the fledgeling Telugu Christian Mission was on the verge of being abandoned. for lack of overseas funds , rekindled enthusiasm in the sponsors to continue with the mission. Samuel Smith had also visited India, a few years later, I believe. The hymn is copied below for your ready reference
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’* Thy radiance bright
Shall spread o’er all the eastern sky;
Morn breaks apace from gloom and night:
Shine on, and bless the pilgrim’s eye.
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’ I would not dim
The light that gleams with dubious ray;
The lonely star of Bethlehem
Led on a bright and glorious day.
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’ in grief and tears,
And sad reverses oft baptized;
Shine on amid thy sister spheres;
Lone stars in heaven are not despised.
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’ Who lifts his hand
To dash to earth so bright a gem,
A new ‘lost pleiad’ from the band
That sparkles in night’s diadem?
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’ The day draws near
When none shall shine more fair than thou:
Thou, born and nursed in doubt and fear,
Wilt glitter on Immanuel s brow.
Shine on, ‘Lone Star!’ till earth redeemed
In dust shall bid its idols fall;
And thousands, where thy radiance beamed,
Shall ‘crown the Saviour Lord of all.’
Samuel Francis Smith
That’s all for now. I do not wish to be flippant with my national anthem by singing it simply to bid adieu to you for now..