10 Things to Know About India's National Anthem

Experience the journey of the song 'Jana Gana Mana'

By Google Arts & Culture

Rabindranath in the role of blind singer by Abanindranath TagoreVictoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

India's National Anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana', is an adoption from the writings of the poet and playwright, Rabindranath Tagore.

Tagore Sw Robinoranath 1861-1941 Indian Poet Of AuthorLIFE Photo Collection

The lines of India's National Anthem are taken from Rabindranath Tagore's song, 'Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata'. 

Tagore Sw Robinoranath 1861-1941 Indian Poet Of AuthorLIFE Photo Collection

The original was written in Bengali and the full song has 5 stanzas. The text was first published in 1905, in an issue of Tatwabodhini Patrika.

Town Hall, Calcutta (1850s) by Captain R. B. HillThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1911, the session held by Indian National Congress, in Calcutta, on 27th December, became the first location where the song was sung publicly – and Tagore sang it himself. 

'The Morning Song of India', English Translation of 'Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata' (1919-02-28) by Rabindranath Tagore

On February 28th, 1919, Tagore wrote down an English interpretation of the full Bengali song, and titled it 'The Morning Song of India'. This was requested by Dr. Cousins of the Besant Theosophical College at Madnapalle, where Tagore was visiting.

Dinendranath in the role of ‘Sardar’ (1916) by Abanindranath TagoreVictoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

The melody for the full song, slow-paced, and in raga Alhaiya Bilawal, is attributed to Rabindranath himself. Rabindranath's grand-nephew, Dinendranath Tagore, a great musician himself, may have helped conceive it. Another harmonised score was created when the song was played by Hamburg Radio Symphony Orchestra in Germany in 1942.

Making of the Indian Constitution (1946-1950) (1946-12-09/1950-01-24)Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

On 24 January 1950 (before India's first Republic Day on 26th), the first stanza of Tagore's "Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata" was officially declared as the National Anthem of India by the Constituent Assembly of India. 

LIFE Photo Collection

Subhash Chandra Bose was key in making the selection of the national anthem. Subsequently, he adapted from Tagore's original, another version of the song with Hindi and Urdu words, called ‘Shubh Sukh Chain’.

Bharat Bhagya Vidhata (1964) by TIFR ArchivesTata Institute of Fundamental Research

The artist, Maqbool Fida Hussain, created an artwork, the title of which is derived from the lines of the National Anthem 'Bharata Bhagya Vidhata'.

Reception area of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research by TIFR ArchivesTata Institute of Fundamental Research

This 45-feet mural is still seen on the wall at Tata Fundamental Institute of Research, in Mumbai.

Rabindranath in the role of ‘blind singer’ (1916) by Abanindranath TagoreVictoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

For certain tributary occasions, just the opening and closing line of the anthem is sung as a shorter version.

'Sounds of India' Experience

Celebrate India's 74th Independence Day

Sing 'Jana Gana Mana' with millions of others virtually! A specially designed experiment in collaboration with Prasar Bharati (the national broadcaster of India), and Virtual Bharat using artificial intelligence (AI) will convert your singing into the sounds of selected Indian musical instruments. Explore the experience at g.co/SoundsofIndia

Between August 1st to 10th, users from across India contributed their voices through the AI experiment. The result was a unique re-creation of the national anthem.

~ Discover more about Rabindranath Tagore or about the Tagore brothers with Victoria Memorial Hall.

~ Explore musical instruments and the legends of Indian music with Indian Music Experience Museum

~ Learn more about the story behind MF Husain's mural at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

~ Listen to the anthem's tune on violin played by Master Fazil Afzaal of Dilli Gharana at six years of age.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps