” ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was composed and sung as an act of sycophancy to the British King”


By Justice Markandey Katju

There is a controversy as to whether the Indian National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana ‘ was written by Rabindra Nath Tagore ( see my blogs ‘ Tagore ‘ and ‘ Tagore and Sharad Chandra ‘ on justicekatju.blogspot.in ) in praise of God, or as sycophancy in praise of the British King George the Fifth.

In my opinion the evidence is strongly in favour of the second view.
To explain, let me first quote the Engish translation of the song :

” Victory to thee, O ruler of the minds of the people,
O Dispenser of India’s destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida, Odisha and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
We get up with your blessed name on our lips
We pray for your auspicious blessings
Thou dispenser of India’s destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to thee.”

Now a few things must be noted about this song :

1.The song was composed at precisely the time of the visit of the British King George the Fifth and Queen Mary in December, 1911

2.The poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland.

3. The ‘ Adhinayak ‘ ( Lord or Ruler ) is being hailed. Who was the ruler of India in 1911 ? It  was the British, headed by their King-Emperor.

4. Who was the ‘ Bharat Bhagya Vidhata ‘ ( dispenser of India’s destiny) at that time ? It was none but the British , since they were ruling India in 1911.

5.The song was sung for the first time in India on the second day of the Calcutta Conference of the Congress Party in December 1911. This Conference was held specially to give a loyal welcome to King George the Fifth, and to thank him for annulling the Partition of Bengal in 1905.

6. The agenda of the second day of the Calcutta Conference , in which the song was sung, was specially reserved for giving a loyal welcome to George the Fifth, and a resolution was adopted unanimously that day welcoming and expressing loyalty to the Emperor and Empress.

7. It was only as late as in 1937, when he wanted to show himself as a patriot, that Tagore denied that he had written the song to honour the British King

The above facts almost conclusively prove that ‘ Jana Gana Mana ‘ was composed and sung as an act of sycophancy to the British King.

And we have proudly adopted this song as our national anthem !
Jai Ho !

This blog has been taken from Justice Katju’s official page SATYAM BRUYAT.



  1. Tagore was above all an ‘Artist” And I can tell you that we write stuff in a way that it can have more than one meaning, it will depend on the reader’s interpretation.

    So now if we interpret in a negative way then we shall completely change our national anthem and bring a new one, because he is not here to defend his work anymore, you cant just change an artists work to meet your desires. Like it or not, he has the copyright on it 😉

    • Also, suppose it was in the praise of British Ruler. Who is ‘ Adhinayak ‘ ( Lord or Ruler ) now? – ‘We the people’. So, in current context, it is in praise of People Of India, isn’t it?