Vande Mataram, not national anthem played in President Mukherjee’s function, organiser apologises

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In a goof up, a function to celebrate first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary, attended by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday began with a vocal rendition of ‘Vande Mataram’ instead of customary playing of the National Anthem by a military or police band.

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There was an announcement at the start of the programme about the rendition of the National Anthem. The president and the other dignitaries stood up, but what followed was a choral rendition of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Vande Mataram, which has the status of a national song.

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Mukherjee in his speech, without referring to the gaffe, reminded the audience that on January 24, 1950, Rajendra Prasad had announced that India’s national anthem would be the first stanza of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem ‘Jana Gana Mana’, which would be played on military band.

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The organisers, Bidhan Memorial Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru 125th Birth Anniversary Committee, later aplogised for the faux pas.

“The officers have pointed to some mistakes. I apologise for the blooper,” said Bidhan Memorial trust chairman Somen Mitra.

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