I love our national anthem.
Sure, I have struggled through many school assemblies where I had to stand in a queue, sleepy all over again, after the many slow and long drawn prayers. But then, when it was time to sing the national anthem, I was wide awake again.
That might also be because it was the last song of the lot.
Now all grown up, we hardly used to sing our national anthem until recently when it became mandatory for it to be played before movies in the theatre.
But no matter where it plays, there is a rush of emotion within me, mixed with a sense of respect for what my country was when the anthem was written, and for the history that it has lived through.
So after all these years of all of us singing it, do we actually know what the poetic words mean?
जनगणमन अधिनायक जय हे, भारतभाग्यविधाता।
पंजाब सिंध गुजरात मराठा, द्राविड़ उत्कल बंग।
विंध्य हिमाचल यमुना गंगा, उच्छल जलधि तरंग।
तव शुभ नामे जागे, तव शुभ आशिष मागे।
गाहे तव जयगाथा।
जनगणमंगलदायक जय हे, भारतभाग्यविधाता।
जय हे, जय हे, जय हे, जय जय जय जय हे॥
The national anthem is the hindi version of the song Bhārat Bhāgya Vidhātā, originally composed in Bengali by poet Rabindranath Tagore in praise of the Almighty. The first stanza of that song was adopted as the National Anthem of India on January 24, 1950.
And if I were to translate this in English, it will go something like this:
Oh! the ruler of the minds of people, victory be to you,
You, the dispenser of the destiny of India.
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,
Dravid (South India), Orissa, and Bengal,
The Vindhya, the Himalayas, the Yamuna, the Ganges,
And the oceans with foaming waves all around…
We all wake up listening to your auspicious name,
and we ask for your auspicious blessings,
And sing to your glorious victory.
You who impart well being to the people,
Victory be to you, dispenser of the destiny of India!
Victory, victory, victory to you!
In everyday words:
Dear God, you are in all the people’s minds and hearts, and we sing your praises. The people and the land of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravids, Orissa and Bengal; the mountain ranges of the Vindhya, and the Himalayas, river Yamuna, river Ganga, and the oceans with foaming waves all around us, we all wake up to your auspicious name. We ask for your precious blessings. You are the one who imparts happiness to us all, and take care of our well being, so praise be to you, always.
Pretty deep, isn’t it?
And here are some of our favorite versions of the lyric.
The one at the Siachen Glacier, by the Indian Army
The one by the sports personalities of the nation
This one with all the musical maestros from all across our nation (Instrumental)
And this one, by all the renowned singers from all over the country.
Goosebumps. Every. Single. Time.