Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Melodious sub-continent

Painting by Jean Kigel

Everyone knows the national anthem of their own country. Some people know something about their anthem, like who wrote and composed it, when it was adopted, what it means and so on.

Very few people know the national anthems of other countries, or care to. But that's to their own loss! For everyone, their own national anthem is something very special. So by knowing another's anthem, one connects with an essential part of them. Its like a people's deep signature. Besides some of the anthems of the world are simply glorious to hear.

We people of the sub-continent of South Asia should hear and learn and know one another's anthems. If nothing else, they are all so melodious, and can be sung with so much feeling. Knowing something of the shared languages of this land, I cannot but be moved to tears by the anthems of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I like to think all the national anthems of the sub-continent are siblings, which indeed they are, in a very profound sense. And the newest entrant to this melodic family is the anthem of Nepal.

I am reminded of the anecdote in the autobiography of musician Yehudi Menuhin (whose siblings were also accomplished musicians), about someone telling his mother, "Madam, you have a very musical womb!"

So here are the anthems of the sub-continent, in alphabetical order.

Amar Shonar Bangla is the national anthem of Bangladesh. It was adopted in 1972. The song was written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1906. It is in Bengali.

Amar shonar Bangla,
Ami tomae bhalobashi.

Chirodin tomar akash,
Tomar batash,
Amar prane bajae bãshi.

O ma,
Phagune tor amer bone
Ghrane pagol kôre,
Mori hae, hae re,
O ma,
Ôghrane tor bhôra khete
Ami ki dekhechhi modhur hashi.

Ki shobha, ki chhaea go,
Ki sneho, ki maea go,
Ki ãchol bichhaeechho
Bôţer mule,
Nodir kule kule!

Ma, tor mukher bani
Amar kane lage,
Shudhar môto,
Mori hae, hae re,
Ma, tor bôdonkhani molin hole,
Ami nôeon jôle bhashi.

My beloved Bengal
My Bengal of Gold,
I love you.

Forever your skies,
Your air set my heart in tune
As if it were a flute.

In spring, O mother mine,
The fragrance from your mango groves
Makes me wild with joy,
Ah, what a thrill!
In autumn, O mother mine,
In the full blossomed paddy fields
I have seen spread all over sweet smiles.

Ah, what a beauty, what shades,
What an affection, and what a tenderness!
What a quilt have you spread
At the feet of banyan trees
And along the banks of rivers!

O mother mine, words from your lips
Are like nectar to my ears.
Ah, what a thrill!
If sadness, O mother mine,
Casts a gloom on your face,
My eyes are filled with tears!

Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India. Composed and scored by Rabindranath Tagore, it was first sung in 1911. It was adopted as the Indian national anthem in 1950. The music for the current version is said to be derived from a composition for the song by Ram Singh Thakur. It is in Sanskrit.

Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he
Bharata bhagya Vidhata
Panjaba Sindhu Gujarata Maratha
Dravida Utkala Banga
Vindhya Himachala Yamuna Ganga
Ucchala jaladhi taranga
Tava subha name jage
Tava subha asisha mage
Gahe tava jaya gatha
Jana gana mangala daayaka jaya he
Bharata bhagya Vidhata
Jaya he jaya he jaya he
Jaya jaya jaya jaya he!

O! Dispenser of India's destiny, thou art the ruler of the minds of all people
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, the Maratha country,
in the Dravida country, Utkala and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
it mingles in the rhapsodies of the pure waters of Yamuna and Ganga
They chant only thy name.
They seek only thy auspicious blessings.
They sing only the glory of thy victory.
The salvation of all people waits in thy hands,
O! Dispenser of India's destiny, thou art the ruler of the minds of all people
Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee,
Victory, Victory, Victory, Victory to thee!

Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka Hami is the national anthem of Nepal. Adopted in 2007, the lyrics were written by poet Pradeep Kumar Rai, alias Byakul Maila. The music has been composed by Ambar Gurung.

Sayaű thűgā phūlkā hāmī, euṭai mālā nepālī
Sārwabhaum bhai phailiekā, Mechi-Mahākālī
Prakritikā kotī-kotī sampadāko ā̃chal,
Vīrharūkā ragata le, swatantra ra aṭal
Gyānabhūmi, śhāntibhūmi Tarāī, pahād, himāl
Akhaṇḍa yo pyāro hāmro mātṛibhūmi Nepāl
Bahul jāti, bhāṣhā, dharma, sãnskṛti chan biśhāl
Agragāmī rāṣhṭra hāmro, jaya jaya Nepāl
Byakul Maila

We are hundreds of flowers, the one garland - Nepali
Sovereign, spread out from Mechi to Mahakali.
Amassing nature's millions of resources
By the blood of heroes, independent and immovable.
Land of knowledge, land of peace, Terai, hills, mountains
Indivisible this beloved, our motherland Nepal.
The diverse races, languages, faiths, and cultures are so extensive
Our progressive nation, long live Nepal.

The Qaumī Tarāna or Pāk sarzamīn shād bād is the national anthem of Pakistan. Adopted in 1954, the lyrics were written by Hafeez Jullundhri, and the music of the anthem was composed by Ahmed Ghulamali Chagl. It is in Urdu.

Pāk sarzamīn shād bād
Kishwar-e-hasīn shād bād
Tū nishān-e-`azm-e-`alīshān
Markaz-e-yaqīn shād bād

Pāk sarzamīn kā nizām
Qaum, mulk, sultanat
Pā-inda tābinda bād!
Shād bād manzil-e-murād

Tarjumān-e-māzī, shān-e-hāl

Blessed be the sacred land
Happy be the bounteous realm
Symbol of high resolve
Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be thou, citadel of faith

The order of this sacred land
Is the might of the brotherhood of the people
May the nation, the country, and the state
Shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition

This flag of the crescent and star
Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Knowledge of the future!
Symbol of the Almighty's protection

Sri Lanka Matha is the national anthem of Sri Lanka. Adopted in 1951, the words and music were written by Ananda Samarakoon in 1940. It is in Sinhala.

Sri Lanka Matha, apa Sri Lanka,
Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha.
Sundara siri barini,
Surendi athi Sobamana Lanka
Dhanya dhanaya neka mal pala thuru piri, Jaya bhoomiya ramya.
Apa hata sapa siri setha sadana, jeewanaye Matha!
Piliganu mena apa bhakthi pooja,
Namo Namo Matha.
Apa Sri Lanka,
Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha
Obawe apa widya, Obamaya apa sathya
Obawe apa shakti, Apa hada thula bhakthi
Oba apa aloke, Aapage anuprane
oba apa jeewana we, Apa muktiya obawe
Nawa jeewana demine
Nnithina apa Pubudu karan matha
Gnana weerya wadawamina ragena yanu
mena jaya bhoomi kara
Eka mawekuge daru kala bawina
yamu yamu wee nopama
Prema wada sama bheda durara da
Namo Namo Matha
Apa Sri Lanka,
Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha.

Mother Lanka we salute Thee!
Plenteous in prosperity, Thou,
Beauteous in grace and love,
Laden with grain and luscious fruit,
And fragrant flowers of radiant hue,
Giver of life and all good things,
Our land of joy and victory,
Receive our gratefull praise sublime,
Lanka! we worship Thee.
Thou gavest us Knowledge and Truth,
Thou art our strength and inward faith,
Our light divine and sentient being,
Breath of life and liberation.
Grant us, bondage free, inspiration.
Inspire us for ever.
In wisdom and strength renewed,
Ill-will, hatred, strife all ended,
In love enfolded, a mighty nation
Marching onward, all as one,
Lead us, Mother, to fullest freedom.


Nayyar Hashmey said...

Thanx a lot Swami Ji. U r doing a great job by creating bridges of understanding, love and friendship between countries of Soth Asia. Its the easiest job to create hatred beyween peoples, communities and countries but to create love is a indeed a great service. Your post on the national anthems of the countries of South Asia is highly commendable. And your translation of almost all the anthems is superb. For the first time I have read and heard these anthems and I fully agree with you that every anthem has its own melody, rythm and sweetness.

Once again a great job indeed and cudos to you Swami Ji.

hasnain said...

Wow! I think all schools boards should adopt a chapter on South Asia and children are made to learn all the national anthems of our subcontinent. You have sown the seeds for pushing towards that goal.

p@tr!(k said...

Great post Rama! Keep on keepin' on!