Home Global Village Should the national anthem of Pakistan be re-written in Urdu Language?

Should the national anthem of Pakistan be re-written in Urdu Language?


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Have we ever wondered how many of us know the meaning of our national anthem? Our harmonious and beautiful “Qaumi Trana” consists majorly of Persian words and of the only Urdu word ‘Ka’.

The word Pakistan is derived from Persian language that implies “Land of the Pure” It is reported that originally the National Anthem of Pakistan was written by Jinnah’s close friend Shri Jagannath Azad, a celebrated Hindu poet.

Shri Jagannath Azad penned the following lyrics,“Ae sarzameene paak
Zarray teray haen aaj sitaaron se taabnaak
Roshan hai kehkashaan se kaheen aaj teri khaak
Ae sarzameene paak”….

Translated as, “Oh land of Pakistan, the stars themselves illuminates each particle of yours/rainbows brighten your very dust.” Jagannnath’s version of the National Anthem was approved by Jinnah, himself and it remained our anthem for 3 years.

However soon after a committee was formed and Hafeez Jalandhari was given the task to rewrite the anthem in 1952, and by that time Urdu was an established language for communication. Besides Urdu Language, people were acquainted with the Persian language during the time. In these 71 years, however, Urdu language being the national language has over taken ‘Farsi’ which has now become more of a foreign language.

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The understandability of national anthem in a ‘foreign language’ has significantly reduced in the present age. The language barrier has obstructed the people to connect with the soul of the writer who had penned down his aspirations for the newly born country named Pakistan.

How can one relate to its country without knowing what it stands for? How many of us know the meaning of our Qaumi Tarana? How can we connect to it if we don’t know what it stands for?

Our Qaumi Tarana, composed by Ahmed G. Chagla and penned by Hafez Jullundhri, is three stanzas long, with no repetition of lines anywhere and takes about 80 seconds to sing. It was created by the use of twenty-one musical instruments and thirty-eight different tones.

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How many years in school have we religiously sung the anthem? Yet very few would know what it actually means. Let’s talk about what the values the national anthem discuses; they are simple and otherwise known to all of us: brotherhood, unity and faith.

The national anthem encompasses the values a country stands for. How can one decipher and internalize those values if the national anthem is written in a ‘foreign language’? A language hardly anyone understands in Pakistan?

Although nearly half of the Urdu vocabulary is from Persian (the remainder being from  Hindi), and a third of it is Arabic loanwords (that typically came via Persian), yet hardly anyone would still be able to grasp the meaning of the anthem. Maybe our wise patriotic adults could, but how many of the younger lot understands the essence of their Qaumi Tarana?

Hence in this context should the leaders be blamed for the dilemmas Pakistan is confronting today? A recent video of the oath taking day has been surfacing on social media, where elected members of the National Assembly were asked to sing the Qaumi Tarana and several of them couldn’t even remember it.

Read more: Gautam Gambhir jumps in on the national anthem debate!

This is a dilemma that entails extensive discourse to discover the solution to the problem. Should the national anthem be rewritten in the Urdu language? Would that have a positive impact on the society? Would people accept that? It is the people of Pakistan who have to decide if the issue is insignificant or an imperative one.

May the holy land, stay glad;

Beautious realm, stay glad.

Thou, the sign of high resolve—

O Land of Pakistan!

Citadel of faith, stay glad.

 

Order of the holy land,

Power of fraternity of the populace;

The nation, country, and domain;

Ever luminous remain!

The cherished goal, stay glad.

 

Flag with the star and crescent,

The leader of progress and ascent,

Dragoman of past, the pride of present;

Soul of the future!

Shadow of the God of grandeur.