No doubt India’s list of “drohis” is endless as India was destined to be ravaged by traitors even long before Duryodhana destroyed everything.
But none should dare to call Tagore a traitor or even a sycophant though many are now freely calling him so because the song was allegedly sung as “homage to King George V and his wife Queen Mary” when they visited India in 1911. The cynics like Markandey Katju feel that Rabindranath Tagore was bowing and scraping because the King was the Emperor of India.
We have become brazen and presumptuous to believe the incredible that Tagore had to sing in praise of the British King despite knowing well that TAGORE himself had DENIED OF DOING SO. He had clarified that the creator of Bharat (India) mentioned in the song was not King George V but “God Himself.”
Ironically what he said in the poem is not at variance with the ground reality of those days since slavish India was under the heels of British Empire and Tagore was simply echoing that reality. But someone can turn around today and say as well that Jana Gana Mana also reflects India’s reality today as the rulers are elected reps of the people of India and they are the Adhinayaks. SO THE CONTROVERSY could be IN THE EYE OF BEHOLDER.
But can we ignore the history and the times in which Tagore lived? Before condemning Tagore one can say that Jana Gana Mana could have been Tagore’s sincere attempt to find an inclusivist definition for a nation torn by age-old Hindu-Muslim differences and Tagore was saddened seeing communal flare-ups and more so of the divide-and-rule policy of the British. Maybe he thought his song would express some sort of unity among Hindus and Muslims (including among their respective political rascals) and somehow all would be living in peace after a full throated singing of Jana Gana Mana.
Of course nitpickers have plenty to nitpick in “Jana Gana Mana.” Even if “Vande Mataram” was the national anthem the nitpickers would still be busy accusing the Establishment of causing outrage and hurt among Muslims for forcing them to worship a “Goddess” (Mataram).
Is it not foolish to pick a word here or there and then make the dog wag using its tail? Tagore had admitted that Jana Gana Mana was written by keeping ‘Divine God in Mind’ not George V, as God is the Real Monarch.
If Tagore was a traitor or a sycophant would he have returned the Knighthood recognition given to him by British merely to protest the Jallian Wala Bagh massacre? In Gitanjali (which won Nobel prize) he called God as the “DIVINE MONARCH.” Obviously there is no reason for Tagore to make an exception about the National Anthem not to refer the TRUE God as the real King.