National Anthem: Stand up in theatres or buy yourself a DVD and sit at home - Firstpost
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National Anthem: Stand up in theatres or buy yourself a DVD and sit at home


If the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has ordered the playing of the National Anthem in a cinema hall, the skies have not fallen.

There are many orders we take in life that we do not necessarily agree with. In fact, just in a given day in office, we surrender space, compromise honesty, lie barefacedly and let down colleagues and the so-called value system we believe we have. All this done to get through the day and save our mangy little skins. Sycophantic yes men and women nodding like celluloid dolls because freedom and rights are very fine but the boss is in a bad mood so better buckle the knee and bow the head, don’t want to be on his bad side.

Representational image. GettyImages

Representational image. GettyImages

Then we scream blue murder about our rights being infringed upon because we cannot give two minutes to a rhythmic sense of belonging.

People get holier than thou and pound their chests as if they were being consigned to hell and their integrity impugned. It becomes a national issue.

I might personally hold the opinion that it isn’t really necessary at cinema halls and does trivialise the anthem. Fine. You might think that it is pointless and even hypocritical. Others may feel even more strongly.

But once it is a fiat and is established as just that then I am not going to enter that cinema hall and insult my anthem.

I will stand.

I see no reason not to because if you object to this ‘imposition’ then find out the address of the Chief Justice’s office and go stand and protest there.

Make your feelings known outside the Supreme Court. Take your chances.

But do not target the anthem. Jana Gana Mana has nothing to do with the controversy and is mutually exclusive from your liking or rejecting the command.

Not to stand or to take it out on the anthem during the rendition is not a badge of valour or significant of some grand gesture of independence. You are not striking a blow for anyone, so get over your over inflated sense of self.

You pay taxes you don’t like. You may have been against the demonetisation process but you are lining up. There is a bundle of laws that make no sense. Like filling up forms at the airport when it is all computerised, but we fill it. Under the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911, not more than 20 people can get together. And the Indian Sarais Act, 1887 demands that if you fall ill in a hotel, the owner or management must clear the place of all vegetation to prevent allergy. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 allows the government to take away your land without giving a reason at any time so go fight that, not be loutish when your National Anthem is on.

It is not as if we haven’t done it before. Indians were made to stand at attention for the Union Jack under police observation and carted off to jail if they moved till 1947 in cinema halls. Ask your grandfather.

We had it on in halls and theatres after the 1965 war for some years then it faded away.

If we can play it for a sport and cry ourselves a river of emotion well, this is just another performance on a screen.

So stand or buy yourself a DVD and sit at home.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 14:46 IST

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