On September 11, 1942, our National Anthem’ Jana Gana Mana’ was performed for the first time as National Anthem. It was played at the Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg.
Calling it the birth of National Anthem, Author Anuj Dhar, who shared the original recording of the Anthem from 1942, wrote, “Original recording of “Jana Gana Mana” performed by the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, Germany, 1942. This was the birth of our National Anthem, thanks to #Netaji.” Anuj Dhar is the author of the book “Subhas Bose’s Life after Death” and have done extensive research on the life of Netaji.
Original recording of “Jana Gana Mana” performed by the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, Germany, 1942. This was the birth of our National Anthem, thanks to #Netaji @vikramsampath @ProfKapilKumar @chandrachurg @ShefVaidya @Sanjay_Dixit @sdeo76 @PanickarS @NijiSachiv pic.twitter.com/6nR2Tn1Nxe— Anuj Dhar (@anujdhar) January 26, 2022
Surya Kumar Bose, the grand nephew of Netaji, who lives in Germany, had also played the original tape in front of several journalists in 2008. He had said, “Not many people know how the national anthem was born.” It is said Netaji initiated the formation of the Indo-German Association that was formed on September 11, 1942, at the Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Mayor of Hamburg, and representatives of the German government, among others, were present at the occasion.
The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg played the National Anthem’ Jana Gana Mana’ as the anthem of Free-India Centre along with the National Anthem of Germany. Free-India Centre was given proper recognition by countries like Germany and Italy. Free-India Centre was the predecessor of Azad Hind Fauj, set up by Netaji in 1943 in Singapore.
In 1947 we had no National Anthem. In January 1950, a delegation from India attended UN General Assembly in NYC. A member of the delegation carried a record of Jana Gana Mana, which was produced in Singapore by Azad Hind Govt. He handed over this record to the UN Orchestra.— Anuj Dhar (@anujdhar) January 26, 2022
The performance was recorded on tape by NG Ganpulay, a member of the Free-India Centre. The tape was handed over to the All India Radio after Ganpulay’s death. It was broadcast by the All India Radio in a programme called “National Anthem born in Exile” in 1980.
Notably, when India gained independence, it did not have a National Anthem. In January 1950, a record of Jana Gana Mana produced by the Azad Hind Government was carried by a member of the delegation from India that was attending the UN General Assembly in New York City. He handed over the record to the UN Orchestra that played the anthem.
On return to India, the delegation reported to Pt Nehru that Jana Gana Mana was played at the UN was highly appreciated by all those present. 26th January was approaching, and no alternative National Anthem had been found. This info is courtesy Netaji’s grandnephew Surya Bose.— Anuj Dhar (@anujdhar) January 26, 2022
When the delegation returned to India, they informed then-Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru that ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was highly appreciated at the UN. Later, on January 24, 1950, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the first stanza of the song Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata written by Rabindra Nath Tagore as the National Anthem. It is noteworthy, though it was not the National Anthem till January 1950, it was unanimously sung by the members of the Indian Constituent Assembly on the intervening night of August 14 and August 15, 1947, after the first session of the Assembly ended.