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Home Articles Archive How the Saint Johns Anthem came about

How the Saint Johns Anthem came about

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You may or may not know that the author of the Saint Johns Anthem was Dr Chittranajan Andrade from  Batch 1977.Dr CA as I call him, is Professor at NIMHANS Bangalore who known for many great things ,one being the recepient of the ignoble prize for his publication.He is also an author of many books ,journals, peer review articles and the list goes on.My intent  was to know more about how the Saint Johns Anthem came about, so I went to the source and requested him to send me a note.Here is the summary in his very own words.



Around 1980, I published in the college magazine a parody anthem, both words and music, based on the theme "He shall live because of me". This may have given Fr Percy the idea of having a formal anthem for the college. Fr Percy took it up seriously during the preparations for the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1988. He asked me to write a serious anthem. However, he also advertised his wish elsewhere in the country and received submissions from others, as well. I recall that there was a nice submission from Mangalore. I suppose that others would also have had the opportunity to submit their efforts had they been interested.An advantage that I had is that I had been writing formal verse, in metre as well as rhyme, for long. I had also studied classical poetry in depth and was comfortable with different genres of verse. And, it may interest you to learn, I have also written the anthems for two schools in Bangalore.


Writing the anthem was not a single step effort. I submitted an original draft which was discussed in detail by Fr Percy and Dr Sylvia Kamath. Then, we had meeting after meeting, examining every word and sentence, revising and improving, until we had a draft with which everybody was satisfied. I think that it took several months before the anthem was in its final shape, approved to the last comma.I did want to submit improvements at a later date, but Fr Percy was understandably firm with me. He said that we must stop at some point. Yes, if I had the opportunity, I would indeed wish to make some small improvements. However, this is so of every writer for every work. As the months and years pass, we see our efforts through different eyes and are in a better position to effect improvements.

I note that the anthem appears in different places with different punctuation. That hurts! If you find this hard to credit, read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves".Being the author of the St. John's anthem is emotionally important to me, never mind what else I may have achieved in life. I am very grateful to Fr Percy for having given me this opportunity; and to Dr Sylvia Kamath for her inputs into the shaping of the final draft.The music was written by Fr Aniceto Nazareth who was and still is in Bombay.


St John's! with pride my song resounds;
I hail thy pennant blue, gold, white.
St. John's! thy spirit in me bounds;
Be thou my guide my beacon light.

There stirs thy call within my heart
In thee this pledge I seal;
To raise the ill shall be my part,
To minister, to heal.
With ev'ry moment born in time,
Through deep eternity,
Thy vision will endure, sublime;

Sustained within God's grace I stand;
Thy yoke, so light, I bear;
Where'er I toil, love guide my hand,
Inspire my promised care.
Love stoke my hopes, my fears belie;
Love set my courage free;
While yet my lips have breath to sigh;

Through India's far flung rustic lands,
Where need is most, Iserve,
No bounds restrain my willing hands,
No efforts I reserve.
And on my thy campus, high or low,
Where'er my calling be,
In thee my solemn oath shall grow;


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