Madanapalle: As the country marks 60 glorious years of the Republic, there is little in Madanapalle to remind anyone of its own tryst with the National Anthems destiny. It was in Madanapalle in Chittoor district that Rabindranath Tagore penned the English version of Jana Gana Mana in 1919. The district admninistration and the Besant Theosophical (BT) College where Tagore penned the English version appeared to have had given little thought to preserving the towns link to the remarkable journey of the authors masterpiece. The cottage where Tagore stayed and penned it is in a dilapidated condition, while his English translation of the Bengali version (1911) lies in tatters in the BT College library.
It was in 1918-19 that Tagore was invited by Irish poet James H Cousins to visit BT College where Cousins was then principal. My grandfather M Muniramaiah, who worked in the college , used to tell us how Tagore toiled to pen the English version sitting in the college premises. The great poet deserves better, rued Madanapalle resident M Mallikarjun. While he was there, Tagore wrote the English version with help from Cousins wife Margaret who had a background in Western music, recalled Mallikarjun, adding that the credit for singing Jaya hey, Jaya hey, Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya hey lines, however , goes to the students of BT College and denizens of the area along with Tagore and Margaret.
Octogenarian Mangamma said Tagore used to describe Madanapalle as Shantiniketan of the South as he was bowled over by the pleasant sight of Horsley Hills and the cool environs. Negligence will kill Tagores memorabilia . The state government should immediately intervene, she said.