The year was 1911. The British had just reunited Bengal in an effort to both appease the Bengali sentiment and have easier administration. Bengalis were just about coming to terms with the British decision to shift the capital from Calcutta to Delhi and people of India were slowly restarting the fight for ‘freedom.’

And in the middle of all that, a song took birth in a corner of Calcutta, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya Hey. It was penned by Rabindranath Tagore.

The song was first sung on the second day of the annual conference of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta on December 27, 1911. Tagore’s niece, Sarala Devi Chowdhurani, intoned the song, along with a few school students, in front of the gathering of the then INC president Bishan Narayan Dar and other leaders such as Bupendra Nath Bose and Ambika Charan Mazumder.

But it wasn’t until 1919 that Tagore set down the notation which is being followed till today. On January 24, 1950, the Hindi version was adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India. 

Most of us have heard the Hindi version of the anthem but very few of us have listened to the complete version of Bharoto Bhagya Bidhata. Even today, 104 years after its birth, it is still just as inspiring. Recently, director Srijit Mukherji used it in his film Rajkahini that released in October this year and today is as good a day as any to give it a listen. 

Listen to the complete Bengali version here: