In 1951 the government of India published the official version of the Indian national anthem. The word “Sindh” had been replaced by “Sindhu” as far as back then. Many people have argued that it invalidated the old version of the anthem and the Government of India has often been accused of not taking steps to create awareness of the change.
This view, however, has been held wrong by the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court had upheld the use of Sindh in 2005. In 2011 Bombay High Court reiterated the same view. So as of now both the words Sindh and Sindhu are legally acceptable. Whether it should be socially acceptable is a whole different argument which frankly is only a matter of personal opinion.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R G Ketkar were hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shrikant Malushte, a retired professor, challenging the use of ‘Sindh’ in the national anthem. His argument was that Sindh is now a part of Pakistan and so, the word should be replaced with ‘Sindhu’, a river in northern India. He pointed out that the word was replaced by the Indian government in January 1950, but the anthem continued to be sung and broadcast with the “incorrect” word.
Malushte’s advocate Niranjan Mogre said using the word was a “deliberate attempt” to retain Sindh, which is not in India anymore. “Why should it be deliberate? What is the motive? You are reading something more to this,” said Justice Desai, as the judges questioned the logic of “purposely” retaining the word ‘Sindh’. Mogre replied, “It is an insult to national honour.”
‘Hindu’ is an Arabic/ Persian etymological derivative of ‘Sindhu’; Area around the basin of Sindh River (Indus river) and beyond was called ‘Hind’ and people living in this area were called ‘Hindus’.
• Sindh is the genesis of the word ‘Hind’.
• Sindh is the genesis of the word ‘India’.
• Sindh is the genesis of the word ‘Hindu’.
• I would go far enough to say that ‘India’ in fact borrows Sind’s original name to name our country after Sind.
• Sindh is the reason why there is an Ocean named after the Indian Ocean.
Sindh thus is the reason why India can claim a heritage of five thousand years or more since it was the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
The word “Sindh” should be replaced by the word “Purv” to meet the long-standing demand of a big region of Northeast India who has been neglected for a long time. Many reasons:
1. It fits the Rhyme and Tune of the song.
2. Sindh is not part of India anymore in present. So National Anthem must reflect the reality of today.
3. Also, Sindhi and Sindhu are already represented in the words like Indus, Hindu, India, war cry Jai Hind, Hindi, Hindustan, etc. So they need not worry.
4. Northeast India has no much part in popular culture of India. So they should get their due.
5. Further, those Sindhis who claim it to be their due must show a bigger heart for fellow Northeast Indians who are much underrepresented. This will create a special contribution of Sindhis towards better Representative Democracy of India.
There have been other issues with the national anthem as well. For instance, there has been a long-standing demand from North Eastern groups that they are adequately represented in the song, which as of now isn’t the case. So it’s a tricky issue and one can’t say what the national anthem should or should not include especially when not all Indian regions are represented in it in the first place.