Captain Ram Singh Thakuri

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Category Personality
Allied Category Musician
Associate Category Historic
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Ram_Singh_Thakuri_playing_violin.jpg
Captain RamSingh Thakuri, extreme right, playing the violin in Gandhi's presence, possibly during one of Gandhi's visits to INA prisoners at Red Fort.

INTRODUCTION

Captain RamSingh Thakuri (15 August 1914-15 April 2002) was an Indian freedom fighter, musician and the composer of the music of the current version of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana.12He also composed, while serving in the Indian National Army a number of patriotic songs including "Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja…" and "Subh Sukh Chain".

Later in life, Captain RamSingh worked for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Arms Constabulary (PAC) and founded the Constabulary band.

EARLY LIFE

Captain RamSingh Thakuri was born in the North Indian Village of Khanyara, near Dharamsala on August 15, 1914. As the son of a serviceman, Thakuri was encouraged to enrol in the army. After completing school in 1922, Thakuri joined the 1st Gorkha Rifles as a recruit in the band. From early childhood, he also had an interest in music, which was encouraged by his grandfather. his grandfather Mr. Jamni Chand was migrated from Munakot village in Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand in 1890.


SERVICE

In the Army, Thakuri was able to combine his love for music along with his service. He trained in classical and western music as well as ballad, brass band, string band and dance band.


BRITISH INDIAN ARMY

Thakuri earned the King George VI medal while serving in the NWFP between 1937 and 1939. Promoted in 1941 to Company Havildar Major, he was sent to Singapore and Malaya with his unit during World War II.


INDIAN NATIONAL ARMY

After the Fall of Singapore, the Japanese forces took a large number of PoWs. Of these, a large number volunteered to join the Indian National Army. Thakuri, who had initially not volunteered, was sent to Japan, where he met Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Thakuri later joined the Indian National Army as it was reorganised under the leadership of Bose. Subhas Chandra Bose was instrumental in tapping the talent of Captain RamSingh Thakuri as a dedicated music director. On his personal request, Thakuri composed the tunes for Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja, the INA's marching song and now one of the most famous patriotic songs from India. He also composed the tune for Subh Sukh Chain ke (or the Qaumi Taran as it was known), the National Anthem adopted by Azad Hind. In 1944, Capt. RamSingh Thakuri was decorated by Subhas Chandra Bose for his contributions.Thakuri also received a violin and a saxophone as gifts from Bose.


RETURN TO INDIA

After the end of the war, as the INA surrendered in Rangoon, Thakuri was shipped back to India with his fellow soldiers. Imprisoned at the Kabul Lines of the Delhi Cantonment, Thakuri was released later as most of the INA troops were released without charge. Thakuri and members of his orchestra band were invited to play the National Anthem on the occasion of the Prime Minister's inaugural address to the nation at the Red Fort.


POST 1947

Captain RamSingh Thakuri, along with his orchestra group, was recruited in the PAC band of Uttar Pradesh in 1948, Thakuri from which he retired in 1974. Upon retirement he was accorded the honorary rank of DSP. He was honoured by the Central Government, as well as the Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim.


FINAL YEARS

Captain Thakuri's final years were difficult and controversial, for which the Government drew much criticism.3 He was initially denied the status of a freedom fighter by the government,4 while the State government of Uttar Pradesh later faced contempt proceedings for withholding the corresponding payment although the amount in question was meagre. A controversial court petition at one point also sought to establish that he was not the composer of the National Anthem.
Captain Thakuri suffered an epilepsy attack in 2001, and after suffering ill health for nearly a year, passed away on 15 April 2002. He was cremated with State honours at Bhaisakund. However the State Government of Uttar Pradesh was again criticised for the absence of notable or prominent Government officials save a few police officers.5


AWARDS

  • Over a long career, Captain RamSingh Thakuri earned a number of awards. These included:
  • George VI Medal, 1937.
  • Netaji Gold Medal(Azad Hind), 1943.
  • Uttar Pradesh 1st Governor Gold Medal, 1956.
  • President Police Medal, 1972.
  • UP Sangeet Natak Akademi (UP Music and Drama Academy) Award, 1979.
  • Sikkim Government Mitrasen Award, 1993 and
  • The First Azad Hind Fauj Award by the West Bengal Government in 1996.

REFERENCES

  1. INA hero RamSingh dead. Times of India
  2. A tribute to the legendary composer of National Anthem The Tribune
  3. INA hero gets shabby treatment by government. The Tribune

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