Thursday, December 22, 2005

More useless trivia

Today's trifling trivial titbit is hardly likely to come up in bar contests, but here it is anyway: What's the national anthem of India?

It's --- get ready for it --- "Jana Gana Mana," which apparently means "Thou Art Ruler Of the Minds Of All People."

Wikipedia, bless its soul, gives us the lyrics in Hindi, Bengali and English, as well as a transliteration of the Hindi. And the sheet music! How did anyone ever learn anything before the Internet?

The lyrics were written by Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel laureate and arguably India's most famous poet. He is certainly the greatest Bengali poet and best-known modern poet of India.

Some Indians take exception to "Jana Gana Mana" as the anthem of an independent India (as opposed to a colony).

But for now, India's anthem remains "Jana Gana Mana." There's something to be said for tradition, and anyway, no country could ask for a more talented lyricist --- or a more fun name to say.

Edit: Taupe found snippets of two audio versions of the anthem online. As he says, "One is very enjoyable and kind of romantic, the other, played by a brass band, is bland and eminently forgettable." I don't know nothin' 'bout mp3s, so it didn't occur to me to get audio. Thanks to Taupe and his tech savvy.

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