Film Dialogues

National anthem needs scrutiny: Deka

GUWAHATI, Sept 16 – Drawing the attention of all concerned towards the exclusion of Assam and other north-eastern States in the national anthem Jana Gana Mana…, veteran journalist and former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha Kanak Sen Deka today said that the matter should be settled in a manner that could do away with the sense of deprivation or alienation in the minds of the inhabitants of the North-east.
In addition, Deka said, the anthemhad rightly elicited criticism in view of its subservient tone and tenor, as it can be interpreted as an eulogy to a foreign ruler (King George V) written by Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of the latter's visit to India in 1911.
Addressing a press conference, Deka said that a scrutiny of the national anthem could in no way be equated with or construed as an insult to the great poet who was one of the greatest literary figures India had ever produced.
"We have the highest regards for Kaviguru Rabindranath. He passed away before India's independence, and he himself perhaps never intended it – a paean penned in honour of a visiting ruler – to be the country's national anthem. Those who bestowed the status of a national anthem on the song are actually responsible for this lapse," he said, adding that Jana Gana Mana does not stir up patriotic feelings in the manner Bankim Chandra's Vande Maataram or Iqbal's Sare Jahan Se Achcha does.
On the total seclusion of the North-east in the national anthem, Deka said that while it touched the history, heritage and geography of all the regions of the country by mentioning the names of major rivers, mountains,places, etc., absolutely nothing was cited about the North-east – aregion unique in its own way with a distinct identity.
"It is a fact that the North-east remains conspicuous by its absence in the anthem. The most distracting omission is that of the mighty Brahmaputra – the biggest river of the country whichfinds innumerable mentions in different ancient scriptures including the Vedas and the Upanishads, and which has sustained civilizations throughout the ages. Anyone withknowledge of India's heritage cannot be ignorant of this great river and its stature," Deka reasoned.
Pointing out that Pragjyotishpur and Kamrupa (ancient names of Assam) have been a part of India'sheritage since the days of pre-history, Deka said that no lesssacrosanct were the Kamakhya temple and the Nilachal hills.
"If the anthem can croon the gloryof the Ganga, Yamuna and Sindhu,why not of the Brahmaputra, the biggest river of India and also among the biggest in the world? Similarly, it mentions Vindhya and Himachal but is silent on Nilachal. Then, places like Pragjyotishpur, Kamrupa, etc., have been widely mentioned in Indian scriptures and other ancient texts," Deka said. (AssamTribune)

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