Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal delivered a distinguished lecture titled “Bharat Bhagya Vidhata” at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on October 31st, 2014.
Addressing the students, faculty and staff of UoH, Shri Gandhi told that as the calendar proceeds time shrinks; anniversaries are observed and celebrated to keep us reminded of important milestones in the history. While anniversaries celebrated officially throughout the nation are to contribute to our thought and process of national progress, at times, these celebrations also become subject of mere political fulfilment. October 2nd is birthday of Mahatma Gandhi but is also birthday of Lal Bahadur Shastri and death anniversary of Shri K. Kamaraj, a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who had great contribution for the cause of national unity. Likewise, October 31st is birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and also the death anniversary of Smt. Indira Gandhi. It’s a major correction now that Sardar Patel’s birthday anniversary is being celebrated all over the country. Today, BJP, the main ruling party is being accused by of appropriation of Sardar’s legacy by the Congress but this is also true that they have been responsible for disuse of Sardar’s stature. At the time of independence, Sardar Patel was in-charge of Bhagya of Bharat in terms of keeping it unified and so was a Vidhata for the nation. However, there should also be emphasis on substance of observing anniversaries so that they don’t become tedious and a mere matter of completing formalities.
“Bharat Bhagya Vidhata” is a phrase from India’s national anthem “Jana Gana Mana” and is about those people who have contributed towards eliminating the fear and other forms of darkness from the people and serve the motherland. There has been some confusion that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore wrote this poem to praise the Emperor King George V during his visit to India in 1911 but, this is not true. Tagore himself had clarified that he pronounced the victory in Jana Gana Mana of that Bhagya Vidhata [ed. God of Destiny] of India who has from age after age held steadfast the reins of India’s chariot through rise and fall, through the straight path and the curved and that Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George.
(Ref: On 10 November 1937 Tagore mentioned this in a letter to Mr Pulin Bihari Sen. That letter in Bengali can be found in Tagore’s biography Ravindrajivani, volume II page 339 by Prabhatkumar Mukherjee. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jana_Gana_Mana_(hymn))
Jana Gana Mana is a five stanza composition and its first stanza was adopted as our national anthem in 1942 by Netajee Subhash Chandra Bose. Since a national anthem should not be too long, only first stanza forms part of the national anthem however, we should also go through the song in complete to get a comprehensive message of the composition. He mentioned few lines such as Ghor Timir Ghono Nibir Nishithe…. (During the bleakest of nights….), Snehomoyi Tumi Mata… (Oh Loving Mother….) from other stanzas of the composition and clarified that it was for the motherland and for the God who could redeem darkness of India.
In this sense, people like Gandhi, Netajee, Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar, Jaya Prakash Narayan and many others have been Nirmata and Vidhata for the country who played vital roles in getting fear out of the minds of the people and ensure their participation in nation building. It was unfortunate that the Government in 1975 paid no attention in celebrating centenary birth anniversary of the Sardar and due to environment of fear emerged during the emergency period nobody expressed a different voice to correct this lapse.
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata should not be seen as a name or title but as a need to share the opportunity to eliminate darkness in our mind that can facilitate us to see and hear other side and enable dialogue and participation of all to shape the path of the nation’s progress.
Shri Gandhi mentioned that it was a very sensible Indian solution to include ‘Vande Mataram’ as national song and it would have been even a better situation to include ‘Sare Jahan Se Achchha’ in the same category; these compositions truly capture and evoke essence of our national ethos.
Concluding his lecture, Shri Gandhi told that judiciary and other constitutional authorities such as CAG, Election Commission etc are in place in our country as institutions to ensure a fearless engagement with the Government. Tools such as RTI have come into existence to ensure greater access and accountability of the Government for its people. If we’re vigilant and true, we’ll be able to fulfil true vision of our National Anthem.
The Dean of School of Social Sciences, Prof. Aloka Parasher-Sen welcomed the distinguished speaker and audience and Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan, senior faculty in the Department of Political Science introduced Shri Gandhi to the audience.
Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi is an Indian diplomat who was the Governor of West Bengal from December 2004 to 2009. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and son of Devadas Gandhi and Lakshmi Gandhi. His maternal grandfather was C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji). Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the younger brother of Rajmohan Gandhi, and the late Ramchandra Gandhi who taught in the University of Hyderabad for some time.
Prof. C. H. Hanumantha Rao, the Chancellor, Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. I. Rambrahmam, the Registrar and others were present during the lecture.
– Kumar Ashish, Research Scholar in Economics