The national anthem of India is called “Jana Gana Mana.” The music and lyrics for the song were written in 1911 by Rabindranath Tagore, a poet. It was originally known as Bharot Bhagyo Bidhata and was written in Bengali. It was first performed in public later that year at the Indian National Congress. However, it wasn’t until 1950 when the song was adopted as the national anthem. The Hindi version of the first stanza was officially adopted as the national anthem on January 24, 1950.
India’s national anthem has a religious theme, so it’s no surprise that there has been controversy surrounding this song. In the 1980s, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to sing the national anthem based on religious grounds. The students were expelled, and the decision was originally upheld by the high court. However, the Supreme Court later reversed this ruling. More recently, a law was put in place that required the national anthem to play before a movie came on in movie theaters. In 2017, two people were arrested for not standing while the anthem played. In 2018, the law was reversed and it is no longer required that theaters play the anthem. There has also been some debate among regions as to amending the wording of the anthem, including calls to remove the word “Sindh” and adding “Kamarup” back into the anthem.
Thou art the rulers of the minds of all people,
dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by
the waves of the Indian Sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
thou dispenser of India's destiny,
Victory, victory, victory to thee.