The “Jana-Gana-Mana”

Decoding the Indian National Anthem

Sujatha R
2 min readAug 23, 2022

This Independence Day, I was thinking about the meaning of the anthem. Not a single day in school would go without going over the song. The song is kind of intuitive in bits and pieces.

Tagore, the gifted poet stitched together beautiful praises in the language of simple Sanskrit and some verbs in Bangla. I will make an attempt in writing a simple meaning.

Jana Gana Mana.. A train of words.. A garland of praise.. The national anthem that beats in the heart of every Indian..

जन-गण-मन अधिनायक जय हे!

What does that long word actually mean. Let’s checkout

जन-गण A group of people
जन-गण-मन The Minds of the group of people
अधिनायक The Supreme Leader
जन-गण-मन अधिनायक Leader of the Minds of the Republic of People

जन-गण-मन अधिनायक O Absolute Leader of the Minds of the Republic of People
जय हे! Victory to you!
भारत भाग्य विधाता! O Destiny of Bharat!

Perhaps referring to the Sovereignty, Supremacy and Guidance that has been nurturing and guarding the motherland for timeless years..

पंजाब-सिंध-गुजरात-मराठा
द्राविड़-उत्कल-बंग

Tagore is circling the territories starting from from Punjab Sind Gujarat anti clockwise all the way upto his homeland in Bangla.

विंध्य-हिमाचल-यमुना गंगा
उच्छल जलधि तरंग

The envelope of the Vindhyas, Himalayas, and the mighty rivers yamuna-ganga..

उच्छल जलधि तरंग Apoetic phrase..
उच्छल roaring
जलधि waterbodies and oceans
तरंग waves

And the gushing roaring waves of the surrounding oceans, along with the Yamuna and Ganga, together celebrate your glory..

तव शुभ नामे जागे
तव शुभ आशिष मागे
गाहे तव जय गाथा।

They wake up to your auspicious name..
They seek your auspicious blessings
They sing songs of your victory!

जन-गण-मंगलदायक जय हे!
भारत भाग्य विधाता!

जय हे! जय हे! जय हे!
जय जय जय जय हे!

O Giver of bountiness and auspiciousness to the republic of people!
O Destiny of Bharat!

Victory to You!
Victory to You!
Victory and only Victory to You!

There is some controversy on “Who is that LEADER”.. It is upto our inner conviction and imagination I guess.

An ODE to the Rain Gods and the weather Gods for blessing the land. An Ode to the people, the rulers, architects, great Sages and all the custodians of the great Land.

An Ode to the spirit and love that ignites in all its children.. Ode to the Creator..

For who else is worthy of such praise and adulation?

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Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns