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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flags in National Anthems and Patriotic Songs (Commonwealth Group of Nations)

For the last fortnight, I was glued to the TV following the proceedings of the just concluded 19th much hyped Commonwealth Games at Delhi. The wonderful beginnings of the Games and there after the splendid all-round performance of the Indian Athletes, Weightlifters, Boxers, Wrestlers, Shooters, Archers, Paddlers, as well as, in other sports like Badminton & Tennis made many forget the messy run-ups to the Games, the scandals & corruptions, the goof-ups (even Income Tax Department attempted to make us fools by showing an Italian Military Fighter formation releasing tri-colour plumes ‘green, white and red’, as  if, Indian Fighters releasing “saffron, white and green” plumes (that too in inverted order) in an advertisement posted in the leading national dailies).
Nonetheless, the Games  produced ample proofs that there is sporting talents of world standard available in India. And for the achievers “the tears of joy” and the unsuppressed patriotic emotions radiated  from their faces standing at the middle of the ‘Medal Presentation Stand’ while the National Flag was raised with  simultaneous playing of  the country’s National Anthem were unforgettable.
Today, I shall present here the “Flags of the Commonwealth Countries” which have flag reference in their respective “National Anthems” either in the title, the beginning, and/or one or more verse or in chorus.  
A National Anthem in the words of Robert S. Gauron  is a patriotic song , hymn, march, folk tune, drinking song, or other musical composition sung or played on official occasions. It is an audible symbol of a country, just as a flag or coat of arms is a visible symbol”.  Early National Anthems used to honour rulers of nations, but the French revolution produced the first people’s anthems “La Marseillaise” in 1792. Today, a great many Nations have National Anthems, and Patriotic Songs which mention the National Flags of their respective countries.

 Here I go:

A revised version of  the patriotic song Advance Australia Fair’ composed by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 was officially declared the national anthem in 1984. Until then, the song was sung in Australia as a patriotic song.
The original 'Verse 2' of the song was sung as ;

"When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
"With all her faults we love her still"
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair".

The Australian Federation Centenary Commemorative stamp has the song "Australia For Ever"
"Australia for Ever", a Federation Song dedicated to the Australian Natives Association. Words & music by Henry F. Rix.

Interestingly,  Australia did not have a distinctive national flag of her own till 1908. At the first Olympic Games at Athens in 1896, for example, Australia won two Gold medals, but no Australian flag was available for the victory ceremony. Flustered officials did their best – they raised the flag of Austria! Four years later in Paris, an Australian victory was recognized by raising the British Union Jack.


 “March On, Bahamaland is the national anthem of the Bahamas. Composed by Timothy Gibson and adopted in 1973. It exhorts:
 “March on to glory, your bright banners waving high…..”.

"Meda Dau Doka" or God Bless is the national anthem of Fiji. The melody was adapted from a 1911 hymn by Charles Austin Miles entitled Dwelling in Beulah Land. The lyrics and music were composed by Michel Francis A Prescott and adopted in 1970. The song begins:
 “Blessing grant, O God of nations on the isles of Fiji and continues “As we stand united under noble banner blue……”
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana”. Originally written and composed by Philip Gbeho and adopted upon independence in 1957. The current text was chosen some time after the 1966 coup in Ghana. The lyric was written by Michael Kwame Gbordzoe .

"Raise high the flag of Ghana 
And one with Africa advance; 
Black star of hope and honour 
 To all who thirst for liberty;
Where the banner of Ghana freely flies 
May the way to freedom truly lie; 
Arise, arise, O sons of Ghanaland 
And under God march on for evermore!

 The Maldive Islands
"Qaumii Salaam" is the anthem of Maldive. The lyrics were written by Muhammad Jameel Didi in 1948, and the melody  was composed by Sri Lankan maestro Pandit Wannakuwattawaduge Don Amaradeva in 1972.

“We salute you, with many good wishes in the national tongue,Bowing the head in respect to the national symbol.
We salute the flag that has such might ;
It falls into the sphere of victory, fortune and success
With its green and red and white together, and therefore we salute it”.


( The first country to be admitted to the Commonwealth in 1995 without any former colonial or constitutional links with the United Kingdom)
Pátria Amada is the National Anthem of Mozambique, it replaced Viva, Viva a FRELIMO in 2002. The chorus of the old anthem had the words ;
“Viva Mozambique, 
Viva our Flag,

Symbol of the nation"

"Nauru Bwiema" (Song of Nauru) is the national anthem of Nauru. Written by Margaret Hendrie. The music was composed by Laurence Henry Hicks. Adopted in 1968.
"We all join in together to honour your flag,
And we shall rejoice together and say;
Nauru for evermore!


Nigeria’s first national anthem ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’(1960 – 1978) was adopted in 1960. The song went like this;
"Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice, reign,
In peace or battle honour'd
And this we count as gain, 
To hand on to our children,
A banner without stain".

With the change of regime  In 1978  "Arise, O Compatriots" replaced the old anthem 'Nigeria we held thee'.
The Qaumī Tarāna is the National Anthem of Pakistan. The music was composed by Ahmed Ghulamali Chagla, with lyrics written by Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez Jullundhri. The anthem was officially adopted in 1954."Flag of the Crescent and Star" referring to the national flag
(Pakistan did not have a national anthem when the national flag was hoisted at the independence ceremony on 14 August 1947. "Pakistan Zindabad, Azadi Paendabad" was sung in the independence ceremony). 
        "This flag of the crescent and star 

Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Inspiration of our future!
Symbol of the Almighty’s protection”.

The Banner of Freedom is the national anthem of Samoa. Both the words and the music were composed by Sauni Iiga Kuresa. Samoa adopted its national anthem upon gaining its independence from New Zealand in1962.
        "Samoa, arise and raise your flag, your crown!
Look at those stars that are waving on it:
This is the symbol of Jesus, who died on it for Samoa.
Oh, Samoa, hold fast your power forever.
Do not be afraid; God is our foundation, our freedom.
Samoa, arise: your flag is waving, your crown!
(Note:  The Stars referred to are those of the Southern Cross- Crux Australis )

(Gained independence from Belgium in1962. The second country to be admitted to the Commonwealth in 2009 without any former colonial or constitutional links with the United Kingdom)
 Rwanda Nziza (Beautiful Rwanda) the national anthem of Rwanda since January 1, 2002. It replaced the earlier anthem "Rwanda Rwacu", which was in use  since 1962. In “Rwanda Rwacu” (Our Rwanda) the fourth verse stated: “Come let us extol our Flag! Long live our President, long live the citizens of our land !”

The old flag of Rwanda (1962 - 2001)
Koste Seselwa (Join together all Seychellois) is the national anthem of Seychelles

"Live forever in unity
Raise our flag
Together for all eternity
Join together all Seychellois".

Lumbanyeni Zambia, no kwanga" (Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free) is the anthem of Zambia. The tune is taken from the hymn Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa), which was composed by a South African, Enoch Sontonga, in 1897, the lyrics were composed to specifically reflect Zambia
The chorus states:  “Free men we stand, under the flag of our land”.

There appears no other Anthem in the Commonwealth group of nations which has Flag reference.

However, a close study will reveal that there are also many "Patriotic Flag Songs"  found expressions in the field of philately: 

“Vijayi bishwa tiranga pyara
                        Jhanda uncha rahe hamara ..”
                   ( Winsome to the world is our Tricolour dear

                           High may it soar is our passionate prayer )

                                         - SHYAM  LAL  GUPT  “PARSHAD”

In South India amongst Tamil spoken areas, Thayein Mani Kodi Pareer the song of  the poet Subramania Bharati (1882 - 1921) was on everyone’s lips:

     "Behold Our Mother’s Great Banner !
Under the flag-mast are patriots
                                 Loyal and faithful
Ready to sacrifice their very life
             To keep the flag flying high.
    Behold our mother’s great banner !

Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja...” was the regimental quick march of the Indian National Army. Composed by Ram Singh Thakur, the song is also currently the Regimental quick-march of the Indian Army.

 "Hold your banner high 
Plant it on the Red Fort
And let it fly for ever
Take all your steps forward....."

O Canada !”  is the official national anthem. However,  "The Maple Leaf Forever" is a very popular Canadian national song written by Alexander Muir (1830–1906) in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation. The song was short listed for adoption as the National Anthem but later ruled out because it was considered pro-British:
In days of yore, from Britain's shore,
Wolfe, the dauntless hero, came 
And planted firm Britannia's flag 
On Canada's fair domain 
Here may it wave, our boast our pride 
And, joined in love together 
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwine 
The Maple Leaf forever!

"The Maple Leaf Forever" is now the regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment. 

(To be continued) 

Acknowledgment; The Flag Bulletin ( Flag Research Center), Embassy and Consulates, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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