Today in 1942 “Jana Gana Mana” became national anthem of India

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Today in 1942 “Jana Gana Mana” became national anthem of India, but our Government won’t commemorate this event. Why?

The reason is Subhas Chandra Bose, whose contributions to India have from the start been ignored or downplayed by the authorities for political reasons. All they can think of is to glorify Mahatma Gandhi all the time. There is no one to protest because Subhas Bose is not idolized by a big chunk of people in any state or by a major political party, unlike other national icons such as Bhagat Singh, Sardar Patel and Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Here are the facts about how “Jana Gana Mana” became the national anthem of India. Having escaped from India, Bose arrived in Germany in April 1941 and set up the Free India Centre. A group of Germans, namely Dr Adam von Trott, Dr Alexander Werth, Dr Lothar Frank and several others, who were known to him and were friendly towards India, came forward to help him.

Soon thereafter “The Indian Legion “- an army in exile – was formed under his leadership. The Free India Centre, which was the predecessor of the Azad Hind Government (Provisional Government of Free India) setup by Netaji on 21st October 1943 in Singapore, was given recognition by Germany, Italy and later on Japan and had diplomatic ties with them. The Free India Centre also had a Flag, which was similar to the present day Indian Tri-colour but with a Springing Tiger in the middle. Netaji also introduced “Jai Hind” as an Indian form of addressing each other. The only thing missing was a “National Anthem”.

Netaji called a meeting and discussed several options and ultimately decided that “Jana Gana Mana” should be the National Anthem of Free India. There were no notations available, so Dr Ambik Majumdar, who was well-versed in musical notations, adapted the notations to the song and another Indian, Dr Mukherjee played it on the piano for Netaji’s approval. The final version was then given to Dr Eigel Kruettge, the Conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, who made some minor changes to the notation for the orchestra.
On the 11th of September 1942, the Indo-German Association was founded at the Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg in the presence of Netaji, the Lord Mayor of Hamburg, representatives of the German government, diplomats and well-known personalities. On this occasion, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg played the National Anthems of Germany and the Free India Centre. This was the birth of Jana Gana Mana as the National Anthem of independent India. NG Ganpulay, a close associate of Netaji and an active member of the Free India Centre, recorded the performance on tape. After his death, this tape was handed over to All India Radio, which broadcast a programme in 1980 called “National Anthem born in Exile”.

Jana Gana Mana was taken over as the National Anthem by the Azad Hind Government (Provisional Government of Free India) on 21st October 1943. When India became independent on 15th August 1947 there was no National Anthem. Early in January 1950, a delegation from India attended the UN General Assembly in New York. One of the members of the delegation carried a record of Jana Gana Mana, which was produced in Singapore. He handed this record over to the UN Orchestra, which then played Jana Gana Mana along with the National Anthems of other participating countries. This was very much appreciated by all those who were present. The delegation came back to India in the 3rd week of January and reported to Jawaharlal Nehru and his cabinet colleagues that Jana Gana Mana was played at the United Nations and was highly appreciated by all those present. As 26th January was approaching fast and no alternative National Anthem had been found, it was decided that Jana Gana Mana should be taken over as the National Anthem on 26th January 1950.
The recording that you can now hear is a copy of the original recording of Ganpulay.

Anuj Dhar

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