Good sense prevails

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Good sense prevails

Keep the essence of national anthem alive by not enforcing it in places of entertainment

The Supreme Court’s change of mind with regards to playing the national anthem in cinema halls has made millions of hearts swell with pride. Finally, the apex court, while upholding patriotic pride, left it to the cinema halls to decide if the national anthem must be sung before screening of movies or not. Rightly so. Patriotism should be fostered not forced. It is human nature that anything that is imposed or regimented makes one develop resistance towards it. Because once one is forced to do something, it becomes like a dull, even despotic routine that stimulates negative reactions to the point of eventually disowning ones’ own identity. Our national identity is something we are proud of and the national anthem is a marker of that pride, a cinema hall is definitely not the appropriate venue for displaying patriotism. Equally, it is important that patrons of those halls that do opt to play the national anthem before a film stand up as a mark of respect voluntarily. Even if one disagrees with the idea, the national anthem must be shown due respect at all times.

It is now for cinema hall owners to ponder whether in a place of entertainment, laughter, escapism and corny jokes playing the national anthem is appropriate. One can understand and support the playing of the national anthem at, say, a sporting event where it lifts the spirits of players and spectators alike but that’s because it is relevant to context. Perhaps it is time we stop this Big Brother policing of even our leisure time because if we value the national anthem, we should also value the occasion, the space, the moment and solemnity of the occasion where it is to be played. We cannot make it part of a jamboree. Since national anthem demands respect, it is also incumbent upon the Union Government to ensure that the citizens are able to give respect to it. This should be kept in mind by the committee of ministers which is to draft the guidelines on the locations and circumstances in which the national anthem should be sung.

Government could take a cue from music composer AR Rahman’s Jana Gana Mana project, the idea behind which was to sing the song correctly and   prorogate it among the citizenry.

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