Is India’s “Jana Gana Mana” the World’s Best National Anthem?


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Indian Tri-Colour flag

Just how “good” a particular national anthem might be considered is an extremely subjective matter. Most people consider their own national anthem as well as other national anthems as pompous dirges. Even good old “God Save The Queen” ends as one, even though the ‘da da da daderda–‘ rhythm is in fact that of a galliard – a sprightly dance and music of the Renaissance period popular all over Europe in the 16th century.

We are daily bombarded with doubtful information on social networks such as Facebook.  Two days ago, I cited a case in my post “Dubious Posts in Social Media Mislead Society About Anti-rape Laws“.

Today, I saw the following message in Facebook:

Jana Gana Mana

Being an Indian, my immediate reaction was to accept this message gladly. However, my mind told me that this information needed scrutiny.

This message and similar ones, stating that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has announced that “the Indian National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana” is the best in the world” are currently circulating via email, posted in Facebook, blogs and in forums that have a huge Indian audience.

However, there are not even a scrap of evidence to confirm this delightful message. Other than this and other similar spurious postings on Facebook, I have not come across or heard such an announcement made by UNESCO in the media or in the UNESCO website, or read any credible news reports that back up this claim in any way.

So, once again, this scrappy message without any substance is apparently another frivolous, and meaningless rumour with no basis.

70-nations-world-flag

Here are some comments made by various nationals on the subject of “the world’s best national anthem”:

  • I believe it is the Indian national anthem because I am an Indian. Whenever I hear “Jana Gana Mana” (Indian national anthem) I feel proud of being born in a country with such fabulous cultural heritage. However, I am sure that most people will say their own nation’s anthem is the best since it evokes patriotic feelings in them.
  • Being an Indian, I will say it is the Indian national anthem. It is a beautiful prayer to the Lord for the well-being of our country India having various regions, and rivers  touching the sea in the south. It is SO melodious and moving.
  • For me, it is the British one. However, that is only because I am a British citizen.
  • It is “God save the Queen.” When you get on to the ~ send her victorious’ part,  it gets a bit too jingoistic in its little used later verses.
  • Star Spangled Banner.
  • Flower of Scotland is such a great song to sing.
  • The Italian national anthem “Il Canto degli Italiani” is bright and breezy and stirring. It is what you might expect from the land of so many good composers of emotional music.
  • The Italian anthem is great fun, best accompanied by a smiling Michel Schumacher conducting from the podium.
  • The “Deutschlandlied” (“Song of Germany”) also known as “Das Lied der Deutschen” (“The Song of the Germans”), has been used as the national anthem of Germany since 1922 (except in the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990, where “Auferstanden aus Ruinen” (“Risen from Ruins”) was used). The song is also well known by the opening words and refrain of the first stanza, “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles“.
  • The Uruguayan anthem “Orientales, la Patria o la Tumba“, is the longest national anthem in terms of duration (about six minutes} with 105 bars of music.
  • The North Korea national anthem “Aegukka” is almost unique among most North Korean patriotic songs, as it praises neither the Workers’ Party of Korea, nor Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il’s cult of personality, but rather the whole of Korea itself.

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