The government has dug into its arch rival Congress’ records to reject BJP leader Subramaian Swamy’s demand to edit India’s National Anthem.
Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and flagged an old point of view that Jana Gana Mana, penned by Rabindranath Tagore 105 years ago, could be written in praise of King George V.
As the union home ministry sought views of parliamentary affairs ministry on the matter, it highlighted the proceedings of the Congress party’s internal session in Kolkata in 1911 where the song was first sung. In its reply, the parliamentary affairs ministry maintained there was no evidence that the song was meant for the British ruler and it was used for a political function.
Swamy’s letter in November 2015 to Modi suggested some words in the National Anthem be replaced with those suggested by iconic freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Netaji had proposed to change the alleged reference to the British monarch with Sanskrit words.
Earlier, Rajasthan governor and former BJP leader Kalyan Singh had also advocated changing the word adhinayak (captain) from the anthem. During the Congress-led UPA era, BJP MPs had raised the issue in Parliament but the then government outright rejected any possibility to change the national anthem.
The home ministry is expected to give a structured response, armed with reports of the two ministries, on Swamy’s plea.