How 'Jana Gana Mana' became the National Anthem of India?

9 Aug 2023  Read 4689 Views

Certainly! Singing "Jana Gana Mana" during school assemblies brought out our patriotism, just like a catchy tune sticks in your head. The song "Jana Gana Mana" holds significant importance as it is the national anthem of India. It reflects India's cultural diversity and heritage. 

Similarly, singing "Jana Gana Mana" on Independence Day not only pays homage to the sacrifices made by our martyrs during the freedom struggle but also serves as a reminder of the values and ideals that the nation stands for

However, have you ever questioned whether Jana Gana Mana was the first National anthem of India or not?

If yes, then how it became the National anthem of India? This is what we are going to discuss in this article. So, let’s get started.

Was Jana Gana Mana the first National Anthem of India?

  • Yes, however, the original one was in Bengali. Keep on reading to learn more. On 27th December 1911, Rabindra Nath Tagore performed the anthem for the first time during a Congress meeting in Calcutta.

  • Back then, no one could have imagined that this song would someday serve as India's national anthem and a fundamental obligation.

  • The importance of the National Anthem has even been enshrined in our Indian Constitution under Article 51A (a): 

       “Every Indian citizen has a responsibility to uphold the Constitution's values and institutions, as well as the National Flag and the National Anthem’’.

  • This song was again performed in 1941 by Subhash Chandra Bose, who adopted a slightly different version from the original song, and this was known as ‘Shubh Sukh Chain’.

  •  This variant gained popularity among the masses on August 15, 1947, & Capt. Thakuri of the INA was invited to perform with his orchestra group.

  • The first National Anthem of India Tagore wrote was in Bengali- ‘Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata’, later edited and translated as ‘Jana Gana Mana’.

  • This translated version then became the national anthem of India on January 24, 1950, with an announcement by the then president Dr Rajendra Prasad.


Source: Azad Hind

Major Translations of the National Anthem

First, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose converted the national anthem from Bengali, which was made more like Sanskrit, into Hindi. Captain Abid Ali provided the Hindi translation, and Captain Ram Singh provided the music. Margaret, the great Irish poet James Cousin's wife and the dean of Besant Theosophical College, later translated it into English. Not much time after, the national anthem of India was translated into all 22 national languages and many regional languages.

What is the significance of 27th December for the National Anthem?

  • The National Anthem of India was first sung at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress on this day in 1911. 

  • ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is the first stanza of the Bengali hymn ‘Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata’ written by Rabindranath Tagore. 

  • Did you know Tagore’s niece, Sarala Devi Chowdhurani, sang the song, with some of the school students, in front of the gathering of the then INC President Bishan Narayan Dhar and other leaders like Bhupendra Nath Bose & Ambika Charan Mazumder?

  • The song was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the national anthem of India on 24th January 1950. 

Difference Between the National Anthem & the National Song of India

If might have happened to you that you asked someone about the National Song of India & received Jana Gana Mana for an answer instead of Vande Mataram. While both are patriotic songs, they carry different meanings.

Let’s check out the difference:

National Anthem – Jana Gana Mana

National Song – Vande Mataram

The National Anthem reflects the history and culture of India 

It reflects various factors & citizens of India can relate to the National Song at many levels.

The National Anthem is very particular about pronunciation, tone, tune, and specific timings. These factors must be strictly adhered to.

The National Song can have different variations influenced by various factors. These factors can be linguistic or cultural factors.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote and composed it in the year 1911.

The National Song was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in the 1870s.

Article 51A of the Indian Constitution honours the National Anthem as one of the fundamental duties that Indian citizens must adhere to.

The National Song Vande Mataram does not enjoy any such privileges under 

The Indian Parliament has made singing the National Anthem mandatory on specific occasions.

The National Song is not mandatory to sing Vande Mataram on any occasion.


Interesting Facts on Jana Gana Mana

  1. The Indian National Congress hosted the first public performance of Jana Gana Mana on 27th December 1911 in Calcutta in its 27th session.

  2. The Bengali poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore wrote it.

  3. The Raag used in the National Anthem of India is Raag Alhaiya Bilawal.

  4. At Jawaharlal Nehru’s request, Herbert Murrill composed an orchestral adaptation. The duration of the national anthem, when sung in its more formal form, is 52 seconds.

  5. Bengali was the original language used to compose Jana Gana Mana. Rabindranath Tagore translated it into English in February 1919.

  6. The original version contains five Bengali verses, each describing India’s independence struggle and the values, culture it embodies.

  7. Tagore collaborated with Margaret Cousins, wife of Irish poet James Cousins, to write the English version, called the “Morning Song of India”.

  8. Jana Gana Mana was originally in Bengali & was adopted as the National Anthem of India by the Constituent Assembly on 24th January 1950. President Rajendra Prasad made the formal declaration.

  9. After India won its independence, in the first constituent assembly meeting as an independent body, they all sang Jana Gana Mana to wrap off the session.

  10. The Supreme Court of India, by order, made it compulsory that the National Anthem in Cinema halls be played, but it’s no longer mandatory as per a subsequent ruling. 

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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