Subh Sukh Chain - History


During the Indian independence movement, the song Vande Mataram was frequently sung at protest meetings. At the proclamation of the Provisional Government of Free India in Singapore in October 1943, Vande Mataram was sung by the crowd. Muslims were, however, not comfortable with the expressly Hindu metaphors used in the song, and disliked the anti-Muslim tenor of the book, Anandamath, in which it had been first published. The leaders of the INA in Singapore were aware of this problem, and hoped that Subhas Chandra Bose, the head of the INA and the Provisional Government, would settle it. Lakshmi Sahgal, an active INA member, favoured the selection of Jana Gana Mana, which was composed by Rabindranath Tagore and had been sung at sessions of the Indian National Congress. She arranged to have it sung at a women's meeting attended by Bose. Bose was taken by the song, which he thought was truly nationally representative. He did not, however, like the fact that the song was in Sanskritized Bengali and commissioned a free translation in Hindustani.

The translation, Subh Sukh Chain, was written by Capt. Abid Ali, and its score composed by Ram Singh Thakur. It took Vande Mataram's place as the official national anthem of the Provisional Government, and was sung at all meetings, including at the final assembly before Bose's departure. It is sometimes considered a Hindi version of the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana, though its meaning varies from the latter and it is therefore not a true translation.

On 24 Jan 1950, the then President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad announced the final decision that Jana Gana Mana would be the national anthem of India, a choice determined by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 2 November 1941 and played as the national anthem of free India first time on 11 September 1942 at Hamburg.

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