Jagan Nath Azad wrote Pakistan’s first national anthem

Daily Times, June 19, 2005
‘Jagan Nath Azad wrote Pakistan’s first anthem’
Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: “Aey sarzameen-e-Pak zarrey terey hein aaj sitaron sey tabnak. Roshan hey kehkashan sey kahin aaj teri khak.”(O land of Pakistan, each particle of yours is being illuminated by stars. Even your dust has been brightened like a rainbow.”)

These are lines from Pakistan’s first national anthem — written by Jagan Nath Azad, well-known Indian writer and intellectual, acceding to the wishes of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Days before his death last year, Azad recalled, in an interview, the circumstances under which he was asked by Jinnah to write Pakistan’s national anthem: “In August 1947, when mayhem had struck the whole subcontinent, I was in Lahore working in a literary newspaper.

All my relatives had left for India and for me to think of leaving Lahore was painful. My Muslim friends requested me to stay. On August 9, 1947, there was a message from Jinnah Sahib through one of my friends at Radio Pakistan Lahore. He told me ‘Quaid-e-Azam wants you to write a national anthem for Pakistan.’”

Why him? “The answer to this question,” Azad said in the interview, “has to be understood by recalling the inaugural speech of Jinnah Sahib as Pakistan’s governor general. He said: `You will find that in the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.’

I asked my friends why Jinnah Sahib wanted me to write the anthem. They confided in me that ‘the Quaid wanted the anthem to be written by an Urdu-knowing Hindu.’ Through this, I believe Jinnah Sahib wanted to sow the roots of secularism in a Pakistan.”

The national anthem written by Azad was sent to Jinnah, who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan Radio, Karachi.

The situation in Punjab was becoming worse. Azad’s friends told him in September 1947 that it would be better for him to migrate to India. The song written by Azad served as Pakistan’s national anthem for one and a half years. After Jinnah’s death, Hafiz Jallundhari wrote the national anthem.

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