Thursday, January 27, 2005

The National Anthem Controversy

Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan;
we are its nightingales, and it is our garden abode
Though in foreign lands we may reside, with our homeland our hearts abide,
Regard us also to be there, where exist our hearts
That mountain most high, neighbor to the skies;
it is our sentinel; it is our protector
In the lap of whose, play thousands of rivers;
gardens they sustain; the envy-of-the-heavens of ours
O waters of the Ganga mighty, do you recall the day
when on your banks, did land the caravan of ours
Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among us
We are Indians; India is our homeland.
While Greece, Egypt, Rome have all been wiped out
till now yet remains, this civilization of ours
Something there is that keeps us,our entity from being eroded
For ages has been our enemy, the way of the world.
- Saare jehan se aachaa Hindustan humaara.

Some punk with obviously nothing better to do, has petitioned the supreme court to remove the word Sindh from the national anthem because the province of Sindh is no longer part of India and went fully to Pakistan during partition.
While im not sure exactly this will achieve (except for some unwarranted publicity), i think this person is forgetting our civilisation began on the banks of the Indus in Sindh. It is we alone who are the claimants to that heritage. For the Pakistani converts, their falsified history begins and ends with Islam. For Indians and for the millions of Hindu Sindhi refugees who had to flee from their homeland in 1947, the land of Sindh has a special place in our history.

This controversy though does hightlight one of the problems with our national anthem "Jana Gana Mana" that was chosen instead of the far more popular freedom struggle songs of "Vande Mataram" and"Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara" which should have been the natural choices. So if we are going to tinker with the national anthem, we might as well get rid of it altogether while were at it, alas the latter two compositions also come with their own historical baggage. One being written by Iqbal who off course latter became the ideological inspiration for the creation of Pakistan and the other "Vande Mataram" opposed by some sections of muslims, therefore needing to be appeased once again by pseudo-secularists.


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