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Anthem debate: "Sindh" or "Kashmir"?

Monday 10 January 2005

NEW DELHI: The issue of deletion of "Sindh" from national anthem and substituting with the word "Kashmir" has sparked off a debate with some experts saying that every song has its cultural and political context and Rabindra Nath Tagore’s rendition reflected his times, therefore it should not be tampered with.

Others, however, feel that national symbols reflect reality and they must, therefore, be redesigned to accurately reflect the ethos of the country they represent.

It all began with the Supreme Court issuing a notice to the Centre last week on the PIL on deletion of the word "Sindh" from "Jana Gana Mana" as the state was no longer part of the country after the partition.

In response to the representation, the Home Ministry replied the anthem was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 24 January, 1950. At that time, Sindh had become a part of Pakistan and therefore the assembly was conscious of this fact.

"The word Sindh refers not merely to the province of Sindh but also to the Sindhi culture which is an inalienable part of the rich and diverse culture of India," it said.

"It is a ’needless’ controversy. We have done well with this anthem for many years, if Pakistan has no objection why should we. The word represents Sindhu culture with which ancient Indian civilisation is identified," says Prabha Rani, a professor at Delhi University.

"Also, Sindhis today are very much part of our cultural and social setup and as the Ministry rightly said "an inalienable part of the rich and diverse culture of India," says Rani.

Referring to the German national anthem, she says it was written in the early 19th century when Germany comprised dozens of independent princely states and its first strophe says "From the Maas to the Memel, from the Etsch to the Belt."

The Maas is a river in Belgium/Netherlands, the Memel is a river in Russia/Lithuania, the Etsch is a river in Italy and the Belt is a sea arm in Denmark.

See online : Times of India

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