Uttar Pradesh school ‘changes’ national anthem

Monday, February 21, 2011

AMBEDKAR NAGAR - A private school in this Uttar Pradesh district has “altered” the national anthem, replacing several words, and made its students sing it, as the management feels certain words in the anthem do not have any “significance in a democracy”.

The modifications have been made by the school’s manager Ragunath Singh and 400-odd students from Classes 1-5 of the Lord Buddha Ambedkar Arjak Mission Public School in Tanda town are being made to the sing the country’s “new” national anthem.

Singh claims that he “modified” the national anthem after he felt that “some words in it have no significance in a democracy”.

“Let me first clarify that by introducing the modifications in the national anthem I do not intend to hurt the sentiments of the countrymen…I am also an Indian and even cannot think of hurting the sentiments of the people of India,” Singh told reporters in Ambedkar Nagar, some 150 km from Lucknow.

“Just for an example, we have the word ‘adhinayak’ in the opening line of the national anthem. Now, ‘adhinayak’ refers to monarchy…So, in a democracy like ours how can we use the word adhinayak in the national anthem?” he added.

Singh claims Rabindranath Tagore wrote the poem, which was later adopted as the national anthem, in honour of the British king during his visit to India.

“I am not the first one to claim that…the national anthem was sung for the first time for the royal welcome of George V…In my opinion, several lines in the anthem directly convey praises for the king. So, I have changed them all,” Singh said.

“Like ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ has been replaced by me as Swarnim Bharat Nirmata… Likewise, there are several changes like this and the students are made to sing the modified version of the anthem,” said Singh.

On Singh’s directives, the students sing the new anthem in the morning assembly.

“For the last few weeks, we have been singing the different version of the anthem…instructions in this regard were earlier issued by our teachers,” a Class 4 student told reporters.

Rakesh Kumar, the district in-charge of primary education in Ambedkar Nagar, told IANS: “Yes, the matter has come to our knowledge. Though we are yet to complete an enquiry ordered in this regard, we are planning to take action against the school manager under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971.”

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