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It is a just a tragedy that the honor of India's national anthem didn't go to either of the two great

patriotic songs - Vande Mataram & Sare Jahan Se Acha. Compared to these two songs, Jana Gana Mana
is just an "Indian Geography 101" lesson with little inherent patriotic flavor.

At the time of partition in 1947, our nation was in such a flux that we had to choose the least
controversial things as possible and those that appealed to the least common denominator.

"Sare Jahan Se Acha" was written by Sir Iqbal who was later considered one of the major masterminds
behind India's partition. In fact, Iqbal disowned his own work (that praised Hindustan) in his latter years
as he was plotting for Pakistan. Given his controversial profile in India, our founders were probably leery
in allowing "Sare Jahan Se Acha".

"Vande Mataram" an even better song was rejected on the grounds that the minorities were repelled by
the "Mother India" portrayal of the song. Unfortunately some saw the song to be representing "idol
worship". More importantly, the song appeared in a novel - Anandamath that was slightly controversial
among the minorities.

Thus, the "source of the song" was used to reject these two epic songs. Jana Gana Mana had no such
major controversy. It was quite language neutral - using just a string of names of India's major regions,
had no religious connotations and was from a poet India respected the most - Rabindranath Tagore. Also
"Jana Gana.." had no outward warcry like "Sare Jahan se Acha" and can be appreciated even by non-
Indians.

[Interestingly when the song was originally composed in 1911, it was reported by newspapers as singing
in praise of King George V who toured India after being just sworn as the King of England and India.
Although Tagore refuted the criticism later, the controversy about the song remains on why he didn't
refute immediately. In 1947, the controversy was not much high though.]

In summary, it was a sad political decision that a relatively less inspiring song was chosen to represent
the nation of infinite colors. But, it is also an indicator of how much our founding fathers had to
compromise to get our nation going. They had to get the fledgling nation on its feet and could not afford
to get the nation split on a single song.

India unlike USA doesn't produce 1or 2 nobel laureates every year. Rabindranath Tagore was the first
Indian laureate- a huge achievement winning in 1910 in 'Literature' mainly for his poems in Bengali
(which no one in the committee understood), which were translated to English. He was hailed across the
globe and knighted by the British government. But a nationalist, he repudiated his knighthood in the
aftermath of JallianwalaBagh Massacre. Thus when time came for choosing the National Anthem, it was
natural to give this great poet immortality. However it wasn't the first choice, which had been 'Vande
Mataram' - a more natural war-cry & patriotic song for masses throughout the movement. It was also
written by a Bengali- Bankim Chandra Chatterji, in Bengali and first sung in a political context- guess by
whom? Rabindranath Tagore again in the 1896 session of INC. However lots of minority classes felt left-
out with the recital of the song, relating the song to Goddess Durga- idol worship, which some religions
didn't permit- hence rejected.
Rabindranath's other songs have also been very famous- notably 'Ekla Chalo Re', sung throughout by
Gandhiji in his walks throughout the nation (now adapted into Bollywood sung by Shreya Ghosal and
Amitabh Bacchan). The other obviously famous song of his is 'Amar Sonar Bangla' which got recognition
as the National Anthem of Bangladesh. So today Rabindranath is the only person to be the author of 2
National anthems. Does that mean we should change our National Anhtem since he has another
anthem under his belt now- of an entire Bengali nation? No. He didn't work for the liberation of
Bangladesh from India. Bangladesh was carved from Pakistan, not India. Bengalis never wanted a
different nation. India didn't ask Bangladesh to have Tagore's song as National Anthem- they respected
his talent just as we did earlier.

If Saare Jahan se Accha would have been accepted as the National Anthem, someone else would be
asking today why was this chosen as the National Anthem instead of X? It's written by a founding father
of Pakistan- they asked for a separate nation and they got it (with lots of bloodshed). Everything which
finds final acceptance is bound to have criticism from some corners, and so have been there allegations
of Jana Mana Gana being for King George, but neither will conspiracy theories ever die nor human
tendency to look for alternatives. Keeping in mind all this, the nationalists thought Jana Mana Gana to
the choice which offended the least sentiments and as mentioned in the previous answer, it
encapsulates entire India.

Question Topics

Muhammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal)


Rabindranath Tagore
Freedom Fighters of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian Independence Movement

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What were some reasons why 'Sarey jahan


sey accha' wasn't chosen as the Indian
National Anthem?
The Hindustani language which it was written in was understood by a majority of Indians during
that period in time (and even today), whilst 'Jana gana mana' is in Bengali, and roughly only 20%
of Indians speak the language today. 'Sarey jahan se accha', no offense, comes off as more
patriotic to me. What were the real reasons behind it being our national anthem despite the fact
that Bengali, (Bengalis fought and got a separate nation anyway), is not widely spoken or
understood!
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Samrat Pv
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Balaji Viswanathan, Indian by Birth. Indian by Tho... (more)


143 upvotes by Murtaza Aliakbar, Amar Prabhu, Nikhil Agrawal, (more)
It is a just a tragedy that the honor of India's national anthem didn't go to either of the two great
patriotic songs - Vande Mataram & Sare Jahan Se Acha. Compared to these two songs, Jana
Gana Mana is just an "Indian Geography 101" lesson with little inherent patriotic flavor.

At the time of partition in 1947, our nation was in such a flux that we had to choose the least
controversial things as possible and those that appealed to the least common denominator.

"Sare Jahan Se Acha" was written by Sir Iqbal who was later considered one of the major
masterminds behind India's partition. In fact, Iqbal disowned his own work (that praised
Hindustan) in his latter years as he was plotting for Pakistan. Given his controversial profile in
India, our founders were probably leery in allowing "Sare Jahan Se Acha".

"Vande Mataram" an even better song was rejected on the grounds that the minorities were
repelled by the "Mother India" portrayal of the song. Unfortunately some saw the song to be
representing "idol worship". More importantly, the song appeared in a novel - Anandamath that
was slightly controversial among the minorities.

Decide the beauty of the song and see if it deserved to be an anthem

Thus, the "source of the song" was used to reject these two epic songs. Jana Gana Mana had no
such major controversy. It was quite language neutral - using just a string of names of India's
major regions, had no religious connotations and was from a poet India respected the most -
Rabindranath Tagore. Also "Jana Gana.." had no outward warcry like "Sare Jahan se Acha" and
can be appreciated even by non-Indians.

[Interestingly when the song was originally composed in 1911, it was reported by newspapers as
singing in praise of King George V who toured India after being just sworn as the King of
England and India. Although Tagore refuted the criticism later, the controversy about the song
remains on why he didn't refute immediately. In 1947, the controversy was not much high
though.]

In summary, it was a sad political decision that a relatively less inspiring song was chosen to
represent the nation of infinite colors. But, it is also an indicator of how much our founding
fathers had to compromise to get our nation going. They had to get the fledgling nation on its feet
and could not afford to get the nation split on a single song.

Updated 31 Mar.
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Siddharth Bhattacharya, Bengali; Reading about the Mov... (more)


23 upvotes by Amar Prabhu, Pratik Mandrekar, Pragnesh Radadiya, (more)
It's not possible to address the question without answering the description as well.

India unlike USA doesn't produce 1or 2 nobel laureates every year. Rabindranath Tagore was
the first Indian laureate- a huge achievement winning in 1910 in 'Literature' mainly for his
poems in Bengali (which no one in the committee understood), which were translated to English.
He was hailed across the globe and knighted by the British government. But a nationalist, he
repudiated his knighthood in the aftermath of JallianwalaBagh Massacre. Thus when time came
for choosing the National Anthem, it was natural to give this great poet immortality. However it
wasn't the first choice, which had been 'Vande Mataram' - a more natural war-cry & patriotic
song for masses throughout the movement. It was also written by a Bengali- Bankim Chandra
Chatterji, in Bengali and first sung in a political context- guess by whom? Rabindranath Tagore
again in the 1896 session of INC. However lots of minority classes felt left-out with the recital of
the song, relating the song to Goddess Durga- idol worship, which some religions didn't permit-
hence rejected.

Rabindranath's other songs have also been very famous- notably 'Ekla Chalo Re', sung
throughout by Gandhiji in his walks throughout the nation (now adapted into Bollywood sung by
Shreya Ghosal and Amitabh Bacchan). The other obviously famous song of his is 'Amar Sonar
Bangla' which got recognition as the National Anthem of Bangladesh. So today Rabindranath is
the only person to be the author of 2 National anthems. Does that mean we should change our
National Anhtem since he has another anthem under his belt now- of an entire Bengali nation?
No. He didn't work for the liberation of Bangladesh from India. Bangladesh was carved from
Pakistan, not India. Bengalis never wanted a different nation. India didn't ask Bangladesh to have
Tagore's song as National Anthem- they respected his talent just as we did earlier.

If Saare Jahan se Accha would have been accepted as the National Anthem, someone else
would be asking today why was this chosen as the National Anthem instead of X? It's written by
a founding father of Pakistan- they asked for a separate nation and they got it (with lots of
bloodshed). Everything which finds final acceptance is bound to have criticism from some
corners, and so have been there allegations of Jana Mana Gana being for King George, but
neither will conspiracy theories ever die nor human tendency to look for alternatives. Keeping in
mind all this, the nationalists thought Jana Mana Gana to the choice which offended the least
sentiments and as mentioned in the previous answer, it encapsulates entire India.

Its not about which song is more patriotic - Both are immensely popular. Sare Jahan Se Acha was
sung by Rakesh Sharma from space and is frequently used by elected officials. Jana gana mana is
understood by most Indians as it has geographical locations and rivers for half its sentences. It
also has sprinkling of Sanskrit influence.

National anthem with word "Hindustan" in it will not go well with our claim that we are secular.
Though Sare Re was written by a Muslim(a positive), the word "Hindustan" appears twice, and
Iqbal was one of the founding fathers of Pakistan - He is recognized as a national poet in
Pakistan. So Tagore and Jana Gana was the better choice for these reasons. As always, there is a
political angle to this as well - Congress had chosen Jana Gana Mana as their song as early as
1911.

Both of them are great poets, and both their songs are popular in India, so its just official
recognition that is the difference. And does a poem need a pin on its chest saying its officially
recognized? Not needed. Both songs are patriotic, and can be appreciated by all Indians.

I have a feeling that because Jana Gana Mana had the word "Bharat" ( which is what India is referred to
in the Constitution, Article 1 and even in ancient Indian texts) added weight to it being chosen.

Sare Jahan se Acha - is a wonderful and moving song but as mentioned already - its composer Mohd.
Iqbal had later become communal. And it refers to a 'Hindustan' ( even though the word has origins in
Geography, it could have been erroneously seen as having a majoritarian tone) which at the time of
Independence, might have aroused the anxieties of the leaders who were struggling hard to contain
communal tendencies.

P.S. The official status of any of the songs, however, does not diminish their brilliance, or their potential
to inspire :)

It is interesting to note that the recent TV series, Samvidhan by Shyam Benegal has a blend of the three
songs - Sarey Jahan Se Acha, Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana (in that order) as its opening song :)

Going historically, I think it was the influance of Azad Hind Fauj. The INA and the Naval Mutiny were still
fresh in the minds of the people. People saw Subhash Chandra Bose as a hero of the masses. And Subh
Sukh Chain, it's Hindi version, was used as an anthem for INA. I think that might be one of the reasons
for choosing it over Sare Jahan se Acha.

Commenting on the aptness of a particular song being chosen over another in 2013 would be fallacious
if one fails to think of the socio-cultural context in the days prior to independence when the national
anthem was chosen. None of us really know why one was chosen over the other, hence I would just
present a few factoids which hopefully would help others gain a more-informed view on the choice
made decades back.

TL;DR: "Sarey Jahan Se Accha" was not chosen as Indian National Anthem because it was the question of
choosing Indian National Anthem NOT Pakistan National Anthem !!

Longer Version :

'Saare Jahan Se Achha' - The Song:


While it is tempting to consider very patriotic now (2013), if one cares to know and dig deep enough one
would learn that it had its fair share of controversies and some unpardonable (to the INC) at that. Some
of the aspects/factoids which could have worked against it:

1. Known alternatively as 'Tarana-e-Hind' this song was originally a poem written by


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu... from Lahore.The poem was published in the weekly journal Ittehad
on 16 August 1904. However what is little known is that in 1910 he wrote another poem 'Tarana-e-Milli '
. This song undid all the secular credentials of the previous one. In the sixth stanza,the first song says :

" mahab nah sikht pas me bair rakhn


hind hai ham, vattan hai hindost hamr "

or,

"Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves


We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan"

On the contrary the first stanza of the second says :


" chn-o-arab hamr, hindostn hamr
muslim hain ham, vatan hai sr jahn hamr "

or,

" Central Asia and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours


We are Muslims, the whole world is our homeland "

source: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/meal...
2. The creator of the poem/song disavowed his first song "Tarana-e-hind" / "Saare Jahan Se Accha" after
his permanent loyalty to Pakistan.

3. The creator of the song was quite religious and he recognized all Muslims anywhere in the world as
part of a single nation, whose leader is Muhammad,the prophet of the Muslims.

Socio-Political context - The Two Nation Theory:

4. Iqbal's close correspondence with Jinnah is speculated by some historians as having been responsible
for Jinnah's embrace of the idea of Pakistan. Iqbal elucidated to Jinnah his vision of a separate Muslim
state in a letter sent on 21 June 1937:
" A separate federation of Muslim Provinces, reformed on the lines I have suggested above, is the only
course by which we can secure a peaceful India and save Muslims from the domination of Non-Muslims.
Why should not the Muslims of North-West India and Bengal be considered as nations entitled to self-
determination just as other nations in India and outside India are."

5. He encouraged Muslims to be united against not only British but also Hindus. He wrote :
" There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah's hands. They should join the Muslim
League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the
Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted "

6. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was elected president of the Muslim League in 1930 at its session in Allahabad,
in the United Provinces as well as for the session in Lahore in 1932. In his presidential address on 29
December 1930, Iqbal outlined a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in
northwestern India:

"I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a
single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a
consolidated Northwest Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at
least of Northwest India"

7. In his speech, Iqbal emphasized that unlike Christianity, Islam came with "legal concepts" with "civic
significance," with its "religious ideals" considered as inseparable from social order: "therefore, the
construction of a policy on national lines, if it means a displacement of the Islamic principle of solidarity,
is simply unthinkable to a Muslim."
Iqbal thus stressed not only the need for the political unity of Muslim communities, but the
undesirability of blending the Muslim population into a wider society not based on Islamic principles.
He thus became the first politician to articulate what would become known as the Two-Nation Theory
that Muslims are a distinct nation and thus deserve political independence from other regions and
communities of India.

source: Muhammad Iqbal


8. Indian National Anthem - The Time
" Jana Gana Mana.." was chosen as the Indian National Anthem by the Constituent Assembly on 24th
January 1950.

If we just care to know enough about history and try to put ourselves into the shoes of any of the who's
who of the Constituent Assembly (read: INC) one would probably never choose "Saare Jahan Se Accha" /
"Taraan-e-hind" .Given this was 1950 after the bitter separation and ensuing conflict with Pakistan one
cannot possibly choose a song as INA whose founder had as much against Hindus of India as against the
Brits and sowed the seeds of religious and political separation of Muslims from India. This was INDIAN
National Anthem after all and not its Pakistani counterpart !!

Interestingly and unsurprisingly enough, Interestingly Muhammad Iqbal is considered to be the


philosophical father of Pakistan. His birthday is celebrated as "Iqbal Day" in Pakistan.