China’s national anthem composer’s twist of destiny | Sunday Observer

China’s national anthem composer’s twist of destiny

17 January, 2021

A national anthem of any country unlike a mere song reflects the glory, history and sovereignty of the country.

Born in a small village of Chang-sha, on March 12, 1898, Tian Shou chang better known under his nom de plume of ‘Tian han’ distinguished himself in many fields like a multi-faceted diamond.

Being a dramatist, playwright, film maker, novelist, poet and literary critic, the services rendered by Tian Han can never be underestimated. But unexpectedly, when Tian - Han was nine years old, his father passed away. However, Tian Han’s mother named Yi Keqin, being an unyielding woman: shouldered the burden of the whole family and raised her three sons by seaming clothes, picking tea leaves and pawning their own belongings. She paved the way for Tian-Han to continue his education.

It was a village school of Chang sha from which Tian han received his primary education.

In 1916, he was admitted to Tokyo University. After the completion of his degree, he returned to China and started his career as a teacher at Shanghai University.

Later, this versatile artiste joined the ‘Young China Society’ headed by Li Dazhao in Tokyo and penned many poems. In 1920, his first novel Van Elyn and the rose was published.

Service and works

According to critics, there are 63 modern dramas, 12 films, 27 traditional Chinese operas and over 2,000 poems created by artiste Tian Han who is commonly called ‘Ibsen of China’, considering the spirit of his creativity.

In 1926, the Nanguo film and drama club was founded by Tian –Han. In 1927, he worked at Shanghai University as the director of the literature society and created dramas, Kafeidian Yi Ye (A Night in the Coffee Shop) and Wufan Zhiqian (Before Lunch) in 1922, Huo Hu Zhi Ye (A Night of Capturing the Tiger) in 1924, Suzhou Ye Hua (Night Talk of Suzhou) and Hu Shang de Beiju (A Tragedy of the Lake) in 1928, Ming You Zhi Si (Death of a Noted Actor) and Nan Gui in 1929, Mei Yu (Plum Rains), Yueguang Qu (Moonlight Melody) and Luan Zhong in 1932, Yangzi Jiang de Bao Feng Yu (Storm on the Yangtze), Hui Chun Zhi Qu (Spring Melody) and Hong Shui (Flood) in 1935, Lugou Qiao (Lugou Bridge) in 1937, Han Jiang Yu Ge (Fisherman’s Song of the Han River) in 1939, Qiu Sheng Fu in 1942, Liren Xing (Women Side by Side) and Guan Hanqing in 1958.

Lyrics on cigarette boxes

It is evident that Tian’s perception of the Great Wall was unique. In one of his essays, he has mentioned that even though the Great Wall looks like a block of walls, the Chinese unite and build a ‘Copper Wall’ in any critical situation.

It is said that he was inspired by his own perception to write these lines “With our flesh and blood, Let us build our new Great Wall” which was later declared as the National anthem of China.

The most interesting fact is that some of the critics reveal that these lines were first written on a cigarette box.

During 1912 – 1935, Tian han had penned revolutionary poetry to inspire the Chinese to repel the Japanese invasion. Out of all his writings March of volunteers went on to become the national anthem of China.

As if through an error of destiny, due to political activities, this celebrated writer Tian Han was imprisoned by the Cultural Revolution rebels and later breathed his last in prison on December 10, 1968 at 70.