On song

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 27, 2011 19:41 hrs

Indian Parliament appears stuck in such a welter of controversy so Congress party functionaries can be forgiven for forgetting one anniversary. This was December 27, the 100th anniversary of the first time India's national anthem was sung. Composed by Rabindranath Tagore, he sang it at the 28th annual session of the Indian National Congress in Kolkata or Calcutta as it was known then. And, unsurprisingly perhaps, it immediately attracted controversy. Tagore composed Jana Gana Mana in December 1911, around the time the Delhi Durbar was held for the coronation of George V. He sang it on the second day of the Congress session in 1911. The next day The Statesman reported that Tagore "sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor", a charge he denied emphatically. Significantly, he later included it in his anthology of poems and titled it Bharat Bidhata. Almost 39 years later, on January 24, 1950, the first of the five stanzas was adopted as the national anthem by the Constituent Assembly

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