THE NATIONAL ANTHEM CONTROVERSY
A controversy has been generated by Shri Kalyan Singh, Hon'ble Governor of Rajasthan's statement that the 'Adhinayaka' in the National Anthem refers to the British king. In truth 'ADHINAYAKA' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'Superior Leader'. It is NOT the name of any British King or Viceroy. There cannot, therefore, arise any question of comparing it to the removal of King George V statue from India Gate. Tagore himself, incensed by this controversy which arose during his lifetime, wrote to his acolyte Pulinbehari Sen on November 20, 1937, “ In the song I have announced the victory (Jaya) of that Bharata-Bhagya-Vidhata (the Being who determines the fate of India) who is the eternal charioteer of the Indian masses through the ages, through ups and downs, who is their all-seeing, all knowing guide. (Clearly he could not be) any George, whether fifth or sixth”. In another letter dated March 29, 1939, he wrote to Sudharani Devi, “I consider it beneath my dignity to answer those who impute to me the unimaginable stupidity of singing paeans to fourth or fifth George as the ….eternal charioteer (of Indians)”. [Rabindra-Jeevani, official biography of Rabindranath Tagore, by Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, p. 524, by courtesy of noted Tagore scholar Dr. Chirasree Chakraborty, D.Litt., formerly of LSR College, New Delhi].
Jana-Gana-Mana-Adhinayaka….Bharat-bhagya-vidhata thus clearly refers to a divine being and not to any human, least of all to some British king. A National Anthem or National Flag of a country are sacred objects, adopted by the Constituent Assembly after mature deliberation by its founding fathers. No self-respecting nation tinkers with them unless there are exceptional circumstances.