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On national anthems April 12, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in America.

Coming to the controversy of the day, I think Mr. NRN was perhaps overdoing the ’embarrassment’ part. I don’t think any foreigners there would have any problem with a foreign national anthem being sung in their presence, that too in a foreign land.

As this blogger puts it quite aptly,

Why should foreigners be embarrassed if Indians sing their national anthem in their own country in front of their head of state who also happens to be the supreme commander of the armed forces?

People who travel around the world, Indians or foreigners, are all used to being in such situations. In fact, traveling is all about being in weird situations, in lands whose ways you don’t understand and language you may not follow.

But having said that, the kind of scrutiny he is being subjected to for what after all is a lapse of judgment, rather than ill/malicious intent or insincerity is despicable. As usual, the low hanging fruits or the soft targets as one might call NRN or Sachin Tendulkar ( on the cake cutting controversy), are easier to go after. The Karnataka assembly’s reaction is surely along expected lines.


All this apart, I realized that living here, I have had very few opportunities to listen/sing the national anthem – on Aug 15th, 2004,2005,2006 and perhaps 2-3 other times at Indian student association gatherings. What a departure from singing it everyday at school – 1987-1999 !! So I took an opportunity to listen to this rendition from the video here. Really cool stuff.

Here, by the way, is the original script of the American national anthem. These are more legible lyrics. Even after living here about 2.5 years now, I have not been exposed to rendition of the American national anthem ( maybe cos I dont watch games/sport on TV). Here it is .

Okay, to close this topic, here is an instrumental rendition of Jana Gana Mana played by the US Navy ! ( presumably played during some visit of MMS or another Indian dignitary )



1. Abhinav - April 12, 2007


Such an adrenaline rush to hear the national anthem. Even though I have been cynical of Jana Gana Mana since I was 12 because I had read about the controversy regarding who RNT wrote it for: George V or the Divine Monarch of the Indian Subcontinent. And of course i have also read the claims which dispute that and which justify the present anthem as truly patriotic. One of those eternal mysteries.

While patriotism may be out of fashion thesedays (and when it does exist, it is usually in the mass manufactured, chest thumping form), it still feels good to have been born in a largely ‘free’ country. And to have an anthem to remind you of that. Especially when you are in a foreign land. You only realize what does it mean to have a nation to call your own when you are far away from it.

Thanks a lot for that link! US Navy band did a great job. Usually most versions tend to drag the the second syllable of “punjab” followed by “vidhata” but that was not to be heard in this version.

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