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‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ suitable song for West Bengal state anthem, say Tagore experts | Kolkata News

‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s song which was adopted as West Bengal’s state anthem on Thursday, is entwined with the history of the Banga Bhanga movement against the division of the state and Raksha Bandhan, the bard’s way of promoting communal harmony in 1905.

Tagore experts say ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ is an appropriate song for the state anthem. “It is a commonly used Rabindrasangeet and it will be appropriate for the state anthem,” Supriya Thakur, a descendant of the Tagore family and ashramik of Visva Bharati University, said.

Another ashramik, columnist Swapan Kumar Ghosh, said, “I am proud as an ashramik and Bengali that two songs of Tagore were adopted as the national anthems of two countries, India and Bangladesh. The ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ song was always related to the Raksha Bandhan festival as Rabindranath Tagore tied a rakhi on October 16, 1905, singing this song, as part of the Banga Bhanga movement. But, it is also good that this song was adopted as a state song.”

The West Bengal Assembly had on Thursday passed a resolution declaring the first day of the Bengali calendar, Poila Baisakh, as the statehood day and Tagore’s song ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ as the state anthem. The resolution was passed by a 167-62 vote with the lone ISF MLA Naushad Siddiqui abstaining from voting.

Recalling the history of the song, Siddiqui said, “The government should have adopted October 16 [as statehood day], the day on which Tagore sang this song. It is said that he started this Rakhi Utsav by tying a rakhi to the imam of Chitpur Masjid of Kolkata.”

Initially, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had decided to adopt a day as statehood day and had constituted a committee led by eminent historian Sugata Basu to decide the day. On August 29, Banerjee convened an all-party meeting with eminent poets, writers and artists where Sugata Basu proposed Poila Baisakh as statehood day. He simultaneously proposed ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ as the state anthem in that meeting.

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The song emerged as a unanimous choice. However, Mamata Banerjee wanted to change some words of the song. “In this song, there is a line ‘Bangalir pran, bangalir mon, bangalir ghore joto bhai-bon’. Rabindranath wrote it then for Bengalis. Now, many people stay here who are not Bengali but they are also part of our Bengal. We can make this line ‘banglar pran, banglar mon, banglar ghore joto bhai-bon’.”

However, many did not accept the proposal and some pointed out that if Tagore’s song was changed, it could spark a controversy. Eventually, ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ was proposed as the state anthem, without any changes.

The CPI(M) refused to comment on the selection of this song. “We have the national anthem. So, we cannot understand what was the need to choose another song as the state anthem,” CPI(M)’s Sujan Chakraborty said.

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