Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rise India

I thought I heard the dhinchak keyboard dude say "Hymn 231" for the recessional. It wasn't ... but this is how hymn 231 goes:
Rise India and lead thy millions
to follow Christ thy king
From Com'rin's point to Everest peak
Christ's triumph you will sing
Clearly a hymn for the feast of Christ the King. In all the Masses I've been to in India, the only time I've actually heard this sung (and I have not the faintest clue as to the melody) was one 15th of August (Independence day), years ago in the Cathedral in Bombay.

I'd be surprised if it were sung at all these days. Partly because there's such confusion surrounding "missionary zeal" in the church these days, and a distaste for language that seems "intolerant" or "superior" or what have you. Partly because it smacks of pre-conciliar triumphalism. Partly because one wouldn't want to piss the RSS off, I suppose.

Now I'm no religious relativist, however, I can't imagine singing this in church. It reeks of odious colonialism, somewhow. Of propah pukka-sahibs going off to the white-only gymkhana to have their gin and tonic and bear the white man's burden.

Christianity carries that baggage enough around here already.


Anonymous said...

I grew up with a completely different un-Christian version of this, albeit in a Christian school.

Rise India thy millions lead
With flag aloft unfurled
From Comorin's point to Everest peak
..... throughout the world.

And then it speaks of the colours of the Indian tri-colour.
Saffron for sacrifice in youth... etc

fezz said...

Hi! I remember singing this while i was in school 25 years ago. Which is why I googled it and came to this page. I just loved it (the Christian version) because my love for Christ comes first. Everything else takes second place. I don't think it reminds me of colonialism at all.

Anonymous said...

hey i too learnt a completely pro India version in my school....Catholic...right. Unlike this colonist version, i like the one i was taught...
Rise India rise
thy millions lead
with flag aloft unfurled
from comorin's point to everest peak
stand free before the world...

Please someone post the entire version i was taught. i remember it in bits and i searched..