In a rousing display of patriotism and unity, the voices of thousands of Aurangabadkars, singing ‘Jana Gana Mana’ in full-throated fervour, created history this morning on the eve of Republic day. With a tally of 15243, they took India into the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘the most people singing a national anthem simultaneously’, erasing the previous record held by Pakistan for 5800 individuals.
Andrea Banfi, Head of Adjudicators, Guinness World Records Limited, who had flown in from London, handed over the certificate to Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of Lokmat Media Limited, Vijay Babu Darda, who accepted it on behalf of each and every Aurangabadkar who had created the world record for India.
Other Guinness World Records Limited officials present on the occasion were Lucia Sinigagliesi, Adjudications Manager, and Nikhil Shukla, Adjudicator – India.
Commenting on the achievement, Rishi Darda, Editorial Director – Lokmat Media Ltd., said, “This is our gift, as a responsible media house deeply connected with Aurangabad, to not just Aurangabadkars, but every Indian. We are delighted that Aurangabadkars responded so splendidly to our world record attempt initiative to commemorate the completion of 100 years of Jana Gana Mana since it was first sung.” It will be recalled that Jana Gana Mana was first sung at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. It was declared the Indian National Anthem by the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950.
As early as 7 am, all roads leading to the District Sports Complex (Vibhagiya Kreeda Sankul) in Garkheda witnessed traffic jams, with students, working people, housewives and families making their way purposefully to take part in the historic world record attempt with the National Anthe on the eve of Republic Day. Armed with incomparable zeal and energy, they came from all walks of life and far-flung locations of Aurangabad. The entire stadium, with an official capacity of 45000 was jam-packed, with no standing room, and the gates had to be shut on thousands of eager locals waiting to get in and be part of the world record attempt. Hence, the final GWR tally of 15243 people came as a surprise to everyone.
GWR head adjudicator Andrea Banfi said, “We were not able to include all the people present at the stadium in the count, as it was physically impossible since they were so closely packed. And after the first singing, many people left. But, for us to do a proper count as per the stringent GWR standards, we had to request Lokmat Media to ask the people to assemble once again, in a particular, countable order, and to sing the national anthem again. The figure of 15243 is what we arrived at after the second singing.”
In fact, Ms Banfi, addressing the crowd that had to be assembled for a second time the same morning, said, “You were amazing! You have been here since the early hours of the morning. Thank you for your patience!”
Leading the swelling crowd in the chorus on stage were Shankar Mahadevan, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Tushar Gandhi, Prashant Damle, Roopkumar and Sonali Rathod, Vaishali Samant, Swapnil Bandodkar, Pramod Sarkate, Mrs Salaskar (widow of 26/11 martyr Vijay Salaskar) and others, who sang with Aurangabadkars to create the world record.
Shankar Mahadevan, Prashant Damle, the Rathods, Vaishali Samant, Swapnil Bandodkar and Pramod Sarkate had the public enthralled with their live performances.
“Our National Anthem is a wonderfully inspiring composition, and is a part of everyone’s psyche,” Shankar Madhavan said, adding, “I am truly excited to have been a small part of this gigantic experience.”
Roopkumar Rathod said, “The National Anthem is greatly inspiring to all Indians from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean and from Gujarat to Assam. It truly brings all Indians together as it has done in Aurangabad today. Sonali and I feel privileged to have been able to celebrate the spirit of Jana Gana Mana with thousands of Aurangabadkars.”
Prashant Damle, actor and singer said: “It is moving to see the surge of patriotic sentiment at the grassroots, as I have witnessed here in Aurangabad. My salute to the indomitable spirit of the Aurangabadkars!”
Swapnil Bandodkar said, “Jana Gana Mana is a source of inspiration by its lyrics as well as by its notes to singers and soldiers alike. I am excited and humbled by this experience.”
Singer Vaishali Samant said, “It has been a great experience to mingle with thousands of Aurangabadkars on this momentous occasion. I am happy to have paid my tribute to the Nation by singing with one and all.”
The Fictitious Group, winners of talent reality show India’s Got Talent mesmerised one and all with their power packed acrobatic dance routines. Vernon from Fictitious said, “It’s exciting to dance in the service of our Nation! We salute those who laid down their lives for the country.”
Smita Salaskar, widow of Vijay Salaskar who laid down his life defending his countrymen on 26 Nov 2008, said, “I am overwhelmed by the patriotism of the people in Aurangabad.” She urged the young students to study hard and serve with the defence forces, which need good officers.
Tushar Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi said: “I am very happy to be among the enthusiastic people of Aurangabad who have given such a wonderful response to this initiative by the Lokmat group. It reinforces the magic of those 55 words written a hundred years ago by Rabindranath Tagore.”