What Is The Bangladesh National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: Getty Images
What Is The Bangladesh National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: Getty Images

"Amar Sonar Bangla" ('My Golden Bengal') is the national anthem of Bangladesh. An ode to Mother Bengal, the lyrics was written by Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore in 1905, while the melody of the hymn was adopted from the Baul singer Gagan Harkara's song "Ami Kothay Pabo Tare" (আমি কোথায় পাবো তারে) set to Dadra Tala. The modern instrumental rendition was arranged by Bangladeshi musician Samar Das.

The word sonar literally means "made of gold", with "sona" meaning gold, and "amar" showing possession. It is used as a term of endearment meaning "beloved", but in the song the words sonar Bangla may be interpreted to express the preciousness of Bengal.

Here are the anthem’s history, original lyrics, English translation and other information.

History of the Bangladesh National Anthem

The song was written in 1905 during the first partition of Bengal, when the ruling British Empire had an undivided province of Bengal Presidency split into two parts; the decision was announced on 19 July by the then-Viceroy of India Lord Curzon, taking effect on 16 October. This divide of Bengal, being along communal lines–East Bengal and Assam having a majority of Muslims and West Bengal having a majority of Hindus–is claimed to have undermined India's national movement against the UK's imperialism and to have been politically motivated.

Along with a host of others, songs such as this were meant to rekindle the unified spirit of Bengal, to raise public consciousness against the communal political divide. The lyrics first appeared in the September issues of "Bongodorshon" and "Baul" simultaneously, in 1905. The song along with the musical notation (referred to as swaralipi in Bengali), first appeared in the periodical musical journal Shongeet Biggnan Probeshika in the same month and year. Indira Devi, Tagore's niece, Satyendranath Tagore's daughter, jotted down the musical notation hearing it from Tagore himself (this was the common norm, Tagore singing the song, and someone formally jotting down the musical notations).

The first ten (10) lines of this song constitute Bangladesh's national anthem, adopted in 1971 during its liberation war. Only those lines are given in the following section. The instrumental orchestra rendition was composed by Samar Das.

Bangladesh National Anthem in Original Poem

Amar shonar Bangla, ami tomay bhalobashi.

Cirodin tomar akash, tomar batash, amar prane bajay bãshi.

O ma, phagune tor amer bone ghrane pagol kôre,

Mori hay, hay re:

O ma, Ôghrane tor bhôra khete ami ki dekhechi modhur hashi.

Ki shobha, ki chaya go, ki sneho, ki maya go,

Ki ãcol bichayecho bôṭer mule, nodir kule kule.

Ma, tor mukher bani amar kane lage shudhar môto,

Mori hay, hay re:

Ma, tor bôdonkhani molin hole, o ma, ami nôyonjôle bhashi.

Tomar ei khêlaghôre shishukal kaṭile re,

Tomari dhulamaṭi ôngge makhi dhonno jibôn mani.

Tui din phurale shondhakale ki dip jalish ghôre,

Mori hay, hay re:

Tôkhon khêladhula shôkol phele, o ma, tomar kole chuṭe ashi.

Dhenu-côra tomar maṭhe, pare jabar kheyaghaṭe,

Shara din pakhi-ḍaka chayay-ḍhaka tomar pollibaṭe,

Tomar dhane-bhôra anginate jibôner din kaṭe

Mori hay, hay re:

O ma, amar je bhai tara shôbai, o ma, tomar rakhal tomar cashi.

O ma, tor côronete dilem ei matha pete:

De go tor payer dhula, she je amar mathar manik hôbe.

O ma, goriber dhôn ja ache tai dibo côrontôle,

Mori hay, hay re:

Ami pôrer ghôre kinbo na ar, ma, tor bhushon bole gôlar phãshi.

Bangladesh National Anthem in English translation

My Bengal of gold, I love you

Forever your skies, your air set my heart in tune

as if it were a flute.

In Spring, Oh mother mine, the fragrance from

your mango-groves makes me wild with joy,

Ah, what a thrill!

In Autumn, Oh mother mine,

in the full-blossomed paddy fields,

I have seen spread all over sweet smiles!

Ah, what a beauty, what shades, what an affection

and what a tenderness!

What a quiet have you spread at the feet of

banyan trees and along the banks of rivers!

Oh mother mine, words from your lips are like

Nectar to my ears!

Ah, what a thrill!

If sadness, Oh mother mine, casts a gloom on your face

my eyes are filled with tears!

(Official translation by Syed Ali Ahsan)

Notable performances and covers

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs planned to stage an event on Bangladesh's 44th independence day, in a bid to have the world record of the most people singing a national anthem simultaneously. Consequently, on 2 March, the ministry launched a program titled "Lakho Konthe Sonar Bangla" whose main objective was to hold an event with the cooperation of Bangladesh Armed Forces where approximately 300,000 people would sing the national anthem. Several popular Bangladeshi musicians and cultural groups later joined the program.

The record was broken at 11:20 on 26 March 2014 by 254,537 participants at Dhaka's National Parade Ground. The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, and all the members of the cabinet. After receiving the required evidence, the Guinness Book of World Records approved the record on 9 April 2014. The record was broken by India on 21 January 2017.

Lyrics video of Bangladesh national anthem

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