Do we deserve Jana Gana Mana as our National Anthem???

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Bhushan, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Bhushan

    Bhushan Regular Member

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    Bengali script

    জন গণ মন অধিনায়ক জয় হে.
    ভারত ভাগ্য বিধাতা
    পঞ্জাব সিন্ধু গুজরাট মরাঠা
    দ্রাবিড় উ**কল বঙ্গ
    বিন্ধ্য হিমাচল যমুনা গঙ্গা
    উচ্ছল জলধি তরঙ্গ
    তব শুভ নামে জাগে
    তব শুভ আশিস মাগে
    গাহে তব জয়গাথা
    জন গণ মঙ্গল দায়ক জয় হে
    ভারত ভাগ্য বিধাতা
    জয় হে, জয় হে, জয় হে,
    জয় জয় জয়, জয় হে॥

    Translation into English

    O! Dispenser of India's destiny, thou art the ruler of the minds of all people
    Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, the Maratha country,
    in the Dravida country, Utkala and Bengal;
    It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
    it mingles in the rhapsodies of the pure waters of Yamuna and Ganga
    They chant only thy name.
    They seek only thy auspicious blessings.
    They sing only the glory of thy victory.
    The salvation of all people waits in thy hands,
    O! Dispenser of India's destiny, thou art the ruler of the minds of all people
    Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee,
    Victory, Victory, Victory, Victory to thee!



    Controversy exists regarding the appropriateness of Jana Gana Mana as the national anthem of an independent India. The poem was composed in December 1911, precisely at the time of the Coronation Durbar of George V, and is considered by some to be a paean in praise of "the overlord of India's destiny". The composition was first sung during a convention of the then loyalist Indian National Congress in Calcutta on Dec. 16, 1911. It was sung on the second day of the convention, and the agenda of that day devoted itself to a loyal welcome of George V on his visit to India. The event was reported thus in the Indian press:

    "The Bengali poet Babu Rabindranath Tagore sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor." (Statesman, Dec. 28, 1911)
    "The proceedings began with the singing by Babu Rabindranath Tagore of a song specially composed by him in honour of the Emperor." (Englishman, Dec. 28, 1911)
    "When the proceedings of the Indian National Congress began on Wednesday 27th December 1911, a Bengali song in welcome of the Emperor was sung. A resolution welcoming the Emperor and Empress was also adopted unanimously." (Indian, Dec. 29, 1911)

    The belief gained ground that the poem had been written in honour of the visiting monarch. Others aver that the newspaper reports cited above were misguided, the confusion arising since a different song, written in Hindi by Rambhuj Chaudhary, was sung on the same occasion in praise of the monarch. However, the two poems were written in different languages; Tagore already enjoyed much fame in India, and newspaper reports are both consistent and categorical on the point of Tagore having himself sung his composition on the occasion.

    Other explanations for the motivations that informed the creation of the poem have been proposed. On a visit to India, the poet Yeats received a visit from an Indian admirer who was also, in Yeats' words, "an Indian devotee" of Tagore. In a letter to a lady friend, Yeats quoted this unnamed devotee as giving him a 'strictly off the records' version of events dealing with the writing of Jana Gana Mana. That version, as presented in 1968 by the Indian Express newspaper, was this:

    "He (Tagore) got up very early in the morning and wrote a very beautiful poem.... When he came down, he said to one of us, 'Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them."



    WE DON'T DESERVE SUCH NATIONAL ANTHEM. VANDE MATARAM MUST HAVE BEEN OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM. WE DON'T HAVE TO PRAISE ANY BRITISH KING.... WE DON'T DESERVE A CONTROVERSIAL NATIONAL ANTHEM.

    I PERSONALLY PAY RESPECT BY STANDING UP WHILE NATIONAL ANTHEM BEING SUNG BUT I NEVER SING IT. IF SOMEBODY IS HURT BY THIS ARTICLE THEN I AM REALLY SORRY AND IF SOMEBODY FEELS THAT I AM PLACING A VALID POINT THEN I REQUEST THEM NOT TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM. WE DON'T HAVE TO PRAISE ANY "GEORGE V" AS "THE OVERLORD OF INDIA'S DETINY."

    Thanks
     
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  3. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Hmmm... what exactly are you trying to imply by this thread ??? Please be more clear...
     
  4. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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  5. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    yes Bhushan what exactly is the message you are trying to convey?

    I agree with you that this song might written for the reason you mentioned but now it does not represent that.
     
  6. Bhushan

    Bhushan Regular Member

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    we are singing a national anthem which was not written for the motherland but for any British king whom we are calling "THE OVERLORD OF INDIA'S DETINY." India is an Independent Nation and then how come a British can be called "THE OVERLORD OF INDIA'S DETINY"?.
     
  7. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tagore and Jana Gana Mana


    by Monish R. Chatterjee
    Binghamton, New York
    This article is written in response to the frequently perpetuated myth that Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Jana Gana Mana for the British monarch.
    For as long as one can remember, in fact, from the very early decades of this century, there has been a stubborn mythology vis-a-vis the circumstances surrounding the writing of Jana Gana Mana by India's greatest cultural figure, Rabindranath Tagore. Such stubborn mythologies often arise out of extremely limited knowledge of, or familiarity with, the life and works of a great man (a mahapurusha, to coin a more appropriate Indian term). Understandably, those not familiar with the Bengali language have the Herculean task of turning themselves into Tagore scholars in order to get a wider glimpse of the man and the scope of his accomplishments. This limitation, in many cases, leads them to narrow perspectives and hearsay, rather than the type of direct examination necessary to draw objective conclusions.
    Anyone even moderately informed about the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore cannot have the slightest doubt about the greatness of this towering figure of human civilization, measured by any standard anywhere in the world. As the great Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna would say metaphorically, "The vulture flies high in the sky, yet his sight is set upon the garbage heap upon the ground." True to this aphorism, there is often a concerted effort to measure a man of Tagore's magnitude by unjustifiable and contrived means which apparently make him more life-size and flawed, and therefore more everyday and run-of-the-mill. To critics who only sample certain minuscule outer trappings of this astonishing creative genius and extraordinary humanitarian, such forced finitude perhaps brings a measure of parity and comprehension against which one can safely stack everyday events and human tendencies in all their glorious mediocrity.
    I write this not as an apologist for flawed heroes, or the frailties imbedded within human greatness. I am quite aware of these realities, and feel as strongly as most about the need to not deify a great human being and in the process lose sight of his or her humanity (with its associated limitations) and its inspirational values. However, there is a rather meager "catch" when it comes to finding holes in the gigantic canvas of Tagore's life (in this case, I am not considering scholarly evaluation of his literary works), and I have observed time after time recurrence of the same tired allegations, or even worse, presumptions applied to aspects of it observed through low-aperture eyepieces and tunnel vision. The Jana Gana Mana controversy, involving the time and circumstances of Tagore's writing of the verse poem and song later chosen to be independent India's national anthem, is one such rare, albeit convenient, "catch".
    The mythology surrounds the 1911 visit to India by King George V. To commemorate the occasion, the Indian National Congress (INC) approached Tagore for a poem of welcome. As Yeats (his Irish admirer of many years) recalled later, Tagore was deeply troubled by the assignment. Early one morning, he composed a very beautiful poem and handed it over to his colleagues. He suggested that it was a poem addressed to God, and that they should give it to the Congress people. At the Calcutta Congress session which began on December 16, 1911, the second day was apparently devoted entirely to welcoming King George V. Jana Gana Mana was sung on this occasion. Thereafter, the newspaper reports maintained that it was sung as a salute to the King Emperor (George V). Since Tagore did not immediately refute the allegation, the perception spread that the song was a eulogy to the monarchy.
    Obviously nothing could be farther from the truth. As with many of his puja or devotional songs, if there was a divine entity to whom Tagore addressed many of his heartfelt yearnings for communion and eternal play, it was a Monarch infinitely greater than any mortal King Emperor could ever aspire to be. The Lord of India's Destiny, to whom Jana Gana Mana is officially addressed, is the perennial Bhagya Vidhata of India who has, from the very dawn of civilization, guided India through great triumphs and tragedies. The Lord of India is therefore India's eternal guiding spirit, and could never be merely the king of a colonial empire. It is hardly necessary to point out that if Tagore had the slightest weakness towards, or preference for the British monarchy, his staunch and steadfast opposition to British rule would seriously contradict any such deeply guarded fantasy. His relinquishing of the Knighthood honor (received at the hands of the very same monarch to whom, according to the detractors, he supposedly offered such unabashed tributes) in protest against the Amritsar (Jallianwallah Bagh) massacre in 1919, is likewise a study in stark contrast.
    To the copious writing and data that are extant with regards to this grossly over-amplified issue, I need hardly add any more information of my own. The fact that despite an extensive personal reflection on this matter by Tagore himself, whereby he has refuted beyond any controversy the "charge" that he had written the song to felicitate the King Emperor of England and her colonial empire, the gnawing doubts in certain quarters persist, only goes to show the severe problem associated with tunnel vision and the age-old problem of a blind person visualizing an elephant using vanishingly minuscule data.
    In Tagore's collected works, it is mentioned that the INC requested that Tagore write a felicitation to the King Emperor as an appeasement gesture to the British monarchy in response to the annulment of the Bengal Partition Act. Not only was Tagore troubled by the request, he was downright offended by it. It is said that Jana Gana Mana was written more out of protest and rebellion than adoration towards the monarchy. An objective reading of the song should make it eminently clear as to whom the poet decided to offer his worship. In a letter to Pulin Behari Sen, Tagore later wrote, "A certain high official in His Majesty's service, who was also my friend, had requested that I write a song of felicitation towards the Emperor. The request simply amazed me. It caused a great stir in my heart. In response to that great mental turmoil, I pronounced the victory in Jana Gana Mana of that Bhagya Vidhata of India who has from age after age held steadfast the reins of India's chariot through rise and fall, through the straight path and the curved. That Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George. Even my official friend understood this about the song. After all, even if his admiration for the crown was excessive, he was not lacking in simple common sense."
    Not only as an inveterate admirer of Tagore, but also as someone who believes strongly that allegations against extraordinary human beings deserve extraordinary care and a scrupulous contextual examination, I can only urge those who choose to join the Jana Gana Mana controversy to study Tagore more extensively before jumping on the bandwagon or making unsubstantiated pronouncements.
    Despite his noble birth and lineage, Rabindranath Tagore used every fruitful moment of his long creative life to understand, empathize with, and defend the history, culture, and people of India. His sincere belief in India's crying need to be freed of colonial oppression has been expressed profoundly and eloquently in vast and profuse areas of his writings, some of which can be traced back to his late teens and early twenties. I cannot even begin to cite examples of his wise and deeply insightful proclamations and pronouncements in this regard; suffice it to say that in each well-known episodic event, Tagore's attempts and desire to align himself with the oppressed, the downtrodden and the diverse people of his beloved Motherland have a degree of consistency which is simply mind-boggling. Tagore was nurtured in the musical and mystical traditions of Vaishnavism and the Bengali Baul, and was close to the enlightened reformist views of Brahmo society. Yet, at no time in his life was he narrowly religious. His family initiated a tradition of Swadeshi Melas (National Fairs) as early as the late 1800s, and Tagore's contributions to the cultural expositions at these Melas are legendary. We cannot forget his early dramatic work, Valmiki-Pratibha (The Genius of Valmiki), or his colloquial verse collection, Bhanusimher Padavali (The Verses of Bhanusimha Thakur). In these, as in others, Tagore shows signs of his deep understanding of India's cultural treasures and literary heritage. Building upon these, and growing from strength to strength, Tagore became one of the most exceptional vehicles of Indian culture, perhaps in all of Indian history, in the subsequent decades of his life.
    Not too long ago, I had occasion to listen to a moving collection of his songs, interspersed with short narratives. In this collection, a fresh new light has been cast upon one of his well-known songs, Amaye Bolo Na Gahite Bolo Na. The story narrated therein simply bears testimony to Tagore's deep and abiding compassion for India and everything Indian. Since the genesis of this song takes us to the very early years of the 20th century, I feel impelled to briefly recount it here with the hope that it will exemplify Tagore's exalted stature as an illustrious son of India who devoted all his creative energies to promote her cause before the world throughout his life. As the story goes, at the end of several days of what may best be described as "blow hot" political speeches (or copious dissipation of what may unflatteringly be called hot air) during a national convention of the then young Indian National Congress around 1908, the Bengali scholar and socialite Taraknath Palit had arranged a reception of the prominent leaders of the INC at his home. It needs to be mentioned that from its very early years, the INC had close connections to Bengal, and Tagore, though not a politician by choice or temperament, was nevertheless associated with it. This should come as no surprise, since the INC in the first four or five decades of its existence had a significant Bengali presence right up to its highest ranks. In later years, especially since the repeal of Lord Curzon's infamous Partition of Bengal proposition, and definitely after around 1915 or so, Tagore dissociated himself from any political affiliation. In matters of national politics and the freedom movement, he took on the mantle of a preeminent commentator and penetrating observer and advisor. Returning to the matter of Taraknath Palit's reception, it turns out that Mr. Palit had invited Tagore, and specifically requested that the already well-regarded poet and composer present an original piece of work for the amusement of his political guests. As Tagore's son Rathindranath reminisced later, Tagore was greatly dismayed by the hollow and pompous speechmaking that had preceded the event for several days, and mulled over the impossible "entertainment" role that had been tossed in his lap. Needless to say, the great composer wrote a poignant song for the occasion, and much to the dismay of the merry political crowd which was more interested in pursuing narrowly zealous creeds, he sang this sad yet uplifting song, filled with gentle admonition, at Palit's home the next day. I present below a prose translation by myself of this song, which, as with hundreds of others, bears testimony to Tagore's incorruptible love for India.

    (Copyright (c), Monish Chatterjee, Nov. 14, 2000) From the Bengali song by Rabindranath Tagore:

    Ask me not to sing tonight, please ask me not.
    Is this mere laughter and play, is it mere reveling in pleasure,
    No more than a parade of refined falsehoods and deception?
    Ask me not to sing tonight, please ask me not.

    It is unremitting tears, heart-rending blights, the hopeless sighs and prayers of the poor,
    It is the deepest anguish within bursting hearts languishing in coils of sorrow.
    Is this mere laughter and play, is it mere reveling in pleasure,
    No more than a parade of refined falsehoods and deception?

    Are we arrived here destitute for fame, to spin words and collect applause-
    To utter falsehoods, garner false distinctions, and while away nights in ignoble pursuits!
    Who will awaken today, who will offer service,
    Who will give the utmost to restore Mother's tarnished honor-
    Who, indeed, will shed tears of empathy, and dedicate the prayers of a nation at Mother's feet?
    Is this mere laughter and play, is it mere reveling in pleasure,
    No more than a parade of refined falsehoods and deception?

    Ask me not to sing tonight, please ask me not.
    Let me cite just one more instance of Tagore's undying allegiance to India. In the very last week of his life, from what eventually became his deathbed, this noblest of souls learned of a vicious attack against India by an English journalist a la Katherine Mayo, named Miss Rathbone. Physically too feeble to write, he dictated a letter of protest to this columnist, which was later published. I would invite anyone to read this letter (which is extant), and judge for himself the extent of Tagore's faith in India and her people (and by extension, in all humanity, which too he spelled out in his last significant piece of writing, "Crisis in Civilization", at a time when the bloodfest known as the Second World War was in its second year).
    To perpetuate a baseless canard such as Tagore's having written Jana Gana Mana for the British monarch (despite his own vigorous pronouncements to the contrary) is an immeasurable disservice and a mark of extreme ingratitude towards one of the greatest figures India has ever been blessed with (of which, thankfully, there are many). It is tantamount to asking Garibaldi to prove his devotion to Italy, Joan of Arc to France, or Mirabai to the Lord Krishna. And Tagore was far more than a patriotic figure- he would be the first to protest any claim to patriotism, which, like nationalism, he opposed as an ethical or moral principle. He was a universalist, one of the first perhaps to truly dedicate his life to that cause; yet, as he himself wrote late in his life (I am re-phrasing in my own words), "I have traveled far and wide, and seen the many great splendors of people and places around the world. Yet, when all is said and done, I truly love India best." I rest my case.
     
  8. Bhushan

    Bhushan Regular Member

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    We need a clean national anthem. If there is a controversy related to it then why to use that when we had poem like Vande mataram. Vande mataram was not written to please Congressmen!!! It was about mother land,and national anthem is meant to be written for motherland only.
     
  9. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Well Bhushan, there are lots of articles related to the controversy that you have mentioned, and they seem to shed some more light on the issue... please also read those and try to get a view from the other side of the divide as well...
     
  10. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Bhushan please don't hop around the point that you raised originally was that the anthem was written to please the British king. Flint has clarified that or not? First clear that thing then run towards another controversy.
     
  11. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Rabindranath Tagore, one of the greatest sons of Mother India composing a poem in reverence of a British Monarch ? Absurd.
    Have you ever read the meaning of our national anthem ? It clearly glorifies God in the form of a Mother.

    May I introduce you to another one of his poem which was composed a year before Jana Gana Mana and which won him a Nobel Laureate ?

    Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
    domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
    dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
    and action--
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

    -- Rabindranath Tagore


    Doubts cleared ?
     
  12. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Bhushan, I hope you understand and appreciate that we try to be as neutral as possible on the forum and we explore all points of view, whether we agree with them or not before we pass any judgement or have a debate...

    We do this because we realise that most things in the world are not either black or white, but are mixtures of both and come in shades of grey...

    I'm sure that there is another point of view which has been very well articulated in the articles to which Flint has given links...

    It would be extremely nice if you could also follow the same logic that we have and look at both sides of the argument...
     
  13. Bhushan

    Bhushan Regular Member

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    Thanks...I will surely read .....but my point is when there is a controversy then we should not use such things when it comes to National Pride.
     
  14. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    There is controversy about pretty much everything in India, but all one has to do is examine the facts, not rely on the opinions of politically motivated people.
     
  15. ShyAngel

    ShyAngel Founding Member

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    What you have to do is sing the national anthem to yourself and see if there's any word that would make you feel a shame or anything like that then you're more then welcome to avoid singing our national anthem. I sung this national anthem for almost from my KG till 6th standard every morning, half my life and know the meaning of each and every lines and proud of it. I careless what the controversies might be behind this but I'm wise enough to know the real meaning of it rather then relaying on some news reporters controversies. Hope you will be in same track as rest of us in here. Bhushan, wake up and start appreciating what we got from our past and learn to take pleasure out of these beautiful work that they had left for us, its priceless.
    There was only one Rabindranath Tagore in this world!
     
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  16. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    ^^brilliant post Shyangel.. I am triply impressed !!
     
  17. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    ok here is my view, plz dont lynch me for it(since this can be sensitive issue) :D >

    lets assume that rabindranath tagore's composed jana gana mana was not written to praise any gora, but has some more spiritual meaning(thought I am not convinced about that). but jana gana mana mentions lot of places which are presently not in india but in pakistan like sindh. it further mentions some other places in india with categorisations that may not apply in modern india like dravida, vanga...etc. also, it does not mention some other parts of india like NE india.
    also, jana gana mana barely mentions the whole of india as one nation but divides it into several parts and is wanting some unknown person to have lordship over all these places. lets ASSUME he is reffering to god.

    on the contrary we have a vande matram, which just equates our motherland to mother and loves, adores and devotes it self to the country. it doesn ask any lordship to rule india. nor it divides india into sub-regions. it sounds like a countryman expressing his unbounded love and affection for his motherland. besides I find vande matram more melodious.

    hence, if we had to really choose between vande matram and jana gana mana, then vande matram would wins hands down. I am guessing that jana gana mana was selected as a national anthem only becoz it was composed by a RABINDRANATH TAGORE.
     
  18. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    johnee isn't India is a nation under various sub nationalities?
     
  19. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    What do you mean you're not convinced? I just said that Tagore himself thought it absurd, and wrote the same, that he would write a song in praise of King George, or any other george.
    How much more convincing do you need ?
     
  20. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    of course. but dont we say that we are indian first? shouldnt our nation anthem stress on that point more than sub-regional loyalities?
    jana gana mana hardly mentions a bharat/india/hindustan. it stresses a lot on sub-regionalities.

    jana gana mana adhinayaka jaye he,
    bharat bhagya vidhata,

    wat do these two lines mean? to me, those two lines are just praising some lord as adhinayaka of jana, gana and mana. it also praise him as vidhata of bhagya of bharat.
    2 questions:
    who is this lord?
    why should there be a lord?

    then further, it starts to mention the prominent parts of british india, which may not be in present india like sindh which is part of pakistan. some of them are not in the same shape and nor use the same names.

    I think vande matram fares much better in all these regards. also, vande matram was the slogan of our struggle for independence not jana gana mana. vande matram instantly makes all indians into one and raises the motherland to the level of one's mother. vande matram should have been our national anthem.
     
  21. ShyAngel

    ShyAngel Founding Member

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    I can't imagine my kids singing vande mathram every morning. It's more joyful and song that is full of phrasing India. Not just that, the way it was done, also needs someone like AR. Rehman to sing it. These songs are song of celebration not to be as national anthem. Where as Jana Gana Mana is more serious and showing pride of India and being Indian. So I think its more suitable for national anthem.
     

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