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Jana Gana Mana (India’s National Anthem) – An Inferential Linguistic Analysis

Jana Gana Mana is India’s national anthem written in Sanskrit by poet Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Prize Winner. Attached is an inferential linguistic analysis of the National Anthem. Also is a brief description of the making of the Anthem around King George 5ths visit to India.

Jana Gana Mana was written by the poet Tagore. So with what intention did Tagore compose this song? It did go on to be honored as the national anthem.What are the hidden undertones of this song?

Now the situation for the making of Jana Gana Mana is best explained by this link


To quote:
“… 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”

From this I infer that Tagore being very soft hearted and compliant complied with the wishes of the INC and composed a song and handed it over to the INC. He also suggested that it be sung for god while knowing heart of heart that it will ultimately be sung for George. Here is where the beauty of the poet Tagore shines through.

The translation given in the following link will be made use of.


Line 1:Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he Bharata-bhagya-vidhata

Translation: Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
dispenser of India’s destiny.

Linguistic Inference: So are you, George really the ruler of the people as well as the minds of the people of Bharat? If yes then accept this praise. If no then this praise is intended for the real ruler of the minds of all the people of Bharat.

Line 2: Punjaba-Sindhu-Gujarata-Maratha, Dravida-Utkala-Banga

Translation: Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind,Gujarat and Maratha.

Linguistic Inference: Now here Tagore states that your name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindhu, Gujarat and Maratha. Did George’s name really resound in Punjab, Sindhu, Gujarat and Maratha? If not then whose names
resounded in these provinces in those times? The plain answer is your ancestors’ names. But are these names really your ancestors’ or are they god’s names? I will sample a few of the most popular Indian names to show you what I mean.

God’s incarnations names: Ram, Aniruddha, Narayana, Venkat ,Vishnu, Srinivas, Raghavan, Parashuram…..

God’s devotees’ names: Gaurang, Arjun,Parth, Joseph, Chaitanya, Gabriel, Sai, Karthik, Gandharv, Harkirat,Mitrabhanu….

God’s attributes names: Venu, Murali, Pankaj, Majid, Piyush, Rajeev, Kaustub…..

These are the names that “rouse the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravida-Utkala-Banga”. Not to say that there are’nt any mundane names in India that do not have a direct reference to God but the names mentioned above are by far the most popular names in India.

Line 3: Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga Tava shubha
name jage Tava shubha asisa mage.

Translation: It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganges and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.

Linguistic Inference: “Tava shubha name jage Tava shubha asisa mage” Your auspicious names echo in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalyas, mingle in the music of Jamuna and Ganga and are chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.

Line 4: Gahe tava jaya gatha

Translation: They pray for thy blessing and sing thy praise.

Linguistic Inference: So in this line they pray for your blessing and sing your praise (unknowingly
or knowingly they chant your names and are blessed.)

Line 5: Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he Bharata-bhagya-vidhata

Translation: The saving of all people waits in thy hand,thou dispenser of
India’s destiny.

Linguistic Inference: “The saving of all people waits in thy hand, thou dispenser of India’s destiny”.
Saving from what; what will George save us from? So this is a direct reference to God not George. The saving of all people waits in your hand God. You who can dispense with India’s destiny.

Line 6: Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Translation: Victory, victory, victory to thee

Purport and intention: Obvious statement stating victory for God.

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  • maria vittoria

    I am an italian student and I’m working on my thesis project.
    I’m studying international relationship and I’m interesting in India’s history. I’d like to write something about British colonization of India, about the independence of India and I’d like to talk about the disputed meaning of”Jana Gana Mana”. Can you help me with some information about this text, or can you suggest me some books about this topic?
    This is my e mail address : m.vittoria_89@hotmail.it
    You can write me there.
    Thank you!
    Maria Vittoria

  • ragesh

    If we need to praise someone, we’ve to do that in a language that is understood by that very person. Sanskrit wasn’t known to britishers…why would Tagore use Sanskrit to praise them? He was a learned person and would have known english. Food for thought! p1ease reply!