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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Remembering the man associated with 3 National anthems ... Rabindranath Tagore

Today, 152 years ago was born a great person ~ tall, most photos you would find him sporting a beard…….. he is credited with writing National anthems for 2 countries and associated with another too… a Nobel laureate for literature in 1913; he was knighted by George V in 1915 but he repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacrein 1919.

No prizes for guessing…………. The great ‘Rabindranath Tagore’ (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), the great Bengali who reshaped his his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

Sure, there is no need for further elaboration on Tagore and our National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’….

Amar Shonar Bangla (Bengali) "My Golden Bengal") is a 1905 song written and composed by the Rabindranath Tagore , the first ten lines of which were adopted in 1972 as the Bangladeshi national anthem. The word shonar literally means 'made of gold', but in the song shonar Bangla may be interpreted to either express the preciousness of Bengal or a reference to the colour of paddy fields before harvest. The song was written in 1905 during the period of Bongobhanga  -  1905 Partition of Bengal - when the ruling British empire had the province of Bengal (of undivided India) split into two parts; the decision on the Partition of Bengal was announced on 19 July 1905 by then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took effect on 16 October 1905. This divide of Bengal was along communal lines — East Bengal had a majority of Muslims, while West Bengal had a majority of Hindus. This partition is claimed to have undermined India's national movement against British imperialism, and was politically motivated.

The first 10 lines of this song constitute the national anthem of Bangladesh, adopted in 1972 after the independence of Bangladesh. The English translation was done by Syed Ali Ahsan.

‘Sri Lanka Matha’ is the national anthem of Sri Lanka. The song was written and composed by the Ananda Samarakoon in 1940, and was later adopted as the national anthem in 1951. It was written when Sri Lanka was still a British colony and was initially written as a tribute to Sri Lanka, expressing sentiments of freedom, unity and independence, and not for the purpose of serving as a national anthem. The song however became very popular throughout the 1940s and when Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 it was chosen to be the national anthem, 3 years later. The first independence day it was sung was in 1952. Ananda Samarakoon was Rabindranath Tagore's student at Santiniketan and the tune is influenced by Tagore's genre of music.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th May 2o13.

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