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Retired professor objects to use of Sindh in national anthem

Last updated on: August 10, 2011 11:35 IST

'Sindh was replaced with Sindhu in the anthem after Partition'

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A retired professor from Mumbai has challenged in Bombay high court the reference to 'Sindh' in the national anthem. According to Shreekanth Malushte, it should be Sindhu and not Sindh, reports N Ganesh

A retired professor from Mumbai has challenged in the Bombay high court the reference to 'Sindh' in the national anthem. The professor has raised objection to Sindh, now a province in Pakistan, being used by the government, educational institutions and artistes.

"When Rabrindranath Tagore's poem was adapted by the Constituent Assembly in 1950 as the national anthem, the word 'Sindh' was replaced by 'Sindhu' considering the fact that the region was part of Pakistan partitioned from India. The newly replaced word Sindhu denotes the river that originated in Pakistan but flows through the Indian valleys," said 75-year-old Shreekanth Malushte.

However, despite the correction made by the Constituent Assembly, the government continued to prescribe the original poem written by Tagore, leading to a situation where the anthem was sung in two versions.

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Image: Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who penned the rousing Jana Gana Mana

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'I knew Sindhu was correct but did not have documents to prove it'

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Even the official website of the Indian government (http://india.gov.in/knowindia/national_anthem.php) does not have the official version of the national anthem, as it bears the word Sindh and not Sindhu.

Malushte caught on to the variations in the national anthem four decades ago when he was a physics teacher. As a national cadet corps officer, he underwent training at the naval base INS Vendhurti at Cochin. Later, when he started conducting parades for NCC cadets at the Maharashtra naval unit at Churchgate, Sindhu was used in the national anthem.

"At other places I used to hear the word Sindh in the anthem," says Malushte. It was this variation that set him on a quest spanning four decades to correct the mistake of national importance. "I knew that Sindhu and not Sindh was correct, but there were no documents to prove my point," said Malushte.

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Image: The correct version of India's national anthem, with Sindhu in it

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'Ministry of home affairs provided me the correct version of anthem'

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He then began corresponding with various government and educational institutions to correct the mistake. Little progress was made in the last four decades as his letters never received any response from government offices.

All that changed after the Right to Information Act came into force. "I first applied to the ministry of information and broadcasting seeking information about the official version of the national anthem. My RTI application was forwarded to ministry of home affairs which provided me with the correct version of the national anthem with the word 'Sindhu'," said Malushte.

In 2005, the Bombay high court had imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Sanjeev Bhatnagar who had filed a public interest litigation seeking to remove the word 'Sindh' as it was no longer a province of India. Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani had represented scores of Sindhis who had come together to resist the removal of word 'Sindh' from the national anthem.

"In the previous PIL the court had fined the petitioner for filing a frivolous petition, though none of the parties involved had put in efforts to find out what the actual wordings were as adapted by the Constituent Assembly in 1950," said Malushte.

Malushte's PIL is scheduled to be heard on September 15 by the Bombay high court.


Image: The national anthem is sung as the tricolour is unfurled at the Red Fort, New Delhi, for I-Day

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