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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Should it be 'Sindhu or Sindh' in our National Anthem and how long it takes to play our Anthem

Shadhu-Bhasha is a literary variation of Bengali language. It is used only in writing ~ this highly sanskritised form of Bengali is notable for its variations in verb forms and the vocabulary which is mainly composed of Sanskrit words.   Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar is credited with standardizing the alphabets. Our proud National anthem ‘Jana-gana-mana’  though originally in Bengali,  the text of which is believed to have been written in Shadhu basha by the great Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Kolkata Session of the Indian National Congress and later was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950.

Do you know that our National Anthem has a full version and a short version and do you know, how long it takes to play them………  Do you know or remember that till a few decades ago, National Anthem was played in Cinema halls after the conclusion of every show…. Jana Gana Mana, the Indian  National anthem written and composed  by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was first sung in Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. Tagore wrote down the English translation of the song and along with Margaret Cousins (an expert in European music and wife of Irish poet James Cousins), set down the notation at Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh. 

Here is an interesting newsitem in Times India of 9th June 2013 about a petition in High court over replacement of 'Sindh' with 'Sindhu' in national anthem.  It is reported that a petition has been filed in the Bombay high court seeking direction to the state government to withdraw Geography text books in which Sindh has been replaced in the national anthem with Sindhu. These textbooks were earlier withdrawn following a serious faux pas after Arunachal Pradesh was missing from one of the maps of India. The 16.5 lakh withdrawn text books had also contained the word Sindhu instead of Sindh.

The petition has been filed by Mulund resident Dakshata Shet, through her advocate Sandesh Sawant, saying she noticed the change in the latest Class X geography textbook of Marathi medium school printed by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. "The change is also reflected in the English medium geography textbooks," Shet told TOI on Friday. In her petition, Shet said the Supreme Court, as well as the Bombay high court, have ruled that the national anthem should not be amended even if geographical changes take place in India. "These rulings are specifically in relation to the word Sindh," the petition adds.

Observing that they find no reason to defile the original script sung since December 27, 1911 by Rabindranath Tagore, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi on October 7, 2011 had dismissed with costs a PIL by retired professor Shreekant Malushte seeking replacement of the word Sindh with Sindhu. Malushte contended that Sindh, which is now a part of Pakistan should be replaced with Sindhu, a river in northern India. He said despite Sindh being replaced by the word Sindhu in January 1950 by the government, "the national anthem continues to be sung and broadcast in a wrong manner by using incorrect words".

The HC judges, while dismissing Malushte's petition referred to the Supreme Court's May 13, 2005 judgment in the case of Sanjeev Bhatnagar versus Union of India. They noted that the apex court, after tracing the original text of the national anthem and seeing how it was adopted, had dismissed the petition, with Rs 10,000 as cost, observing that " it is not necessary that the structure of the national anthem should go on changing as and when the territories or the internal distribution of geographical regions and provinces undergoes changes."

Shet's petition also urged the court to direct the government to reprint new textbooks with the correct national anthem and to register a cognizable offence against the concerned persons for exhibiting disrespect towards the national anthem and towards the nation as a whole.'' Sawant will mention the matter on high court's reopening on June 10, 2013 for an urgent hearing.

Now for the Q :  the playing time for the full version of the National Anthem is approximately 52 seconds. A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the National Anthem is also played on certain occasions. It reads as follows:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Playing time of the short version is about 20 seconds.

In Cinema halls, there would be mad scramble to get out of the halls and people will not stand and respect the National Anthem and in someways, it is a relief that it is not played now …. A notification issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Public Section, years ago mentions that…..
 (1) Whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention. However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary the Anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.
(2) As in the case of the flying of the National Flag, it has been left to the good sense of the people not to indulge in indiscriminate singing or playing of the Anthem.

Jai Hind, Salute Our National Flag

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th June 2013.

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