On 11th December 1911, Rabindranath Tagore composed Jana Gana Mana, it was first sung later in the month, on 28th of December at the Calcutta session of the Congress. It was made our National Anthem in 1950 by our first President, Rajendra Prasad.
I was introduced to it in the kindergarten and ever since, stood at attention every time the song played. It so happened that I heard the song only two times a year, on the Republic Day and the Independence Day. Until 30th November 2016, when the Apex Court made it mandatory for every cinema hall to play the National Anthem and project a picture of the National Flag on the screen before every show. It was also made mandatory for the audiences to stand-up when the National anthem played.
Now, I don’t mind the arrangement. In my opinion, it is a great initiative taken-up because I strongly feel that people often need to be reminded what a great nation they live in and what this nation stands for; it’s principles, values and virtues; just before they sit down to watch ‘Great Grand Masti’.
I don’t believe Nationalism and Patriotism are being forced on us, because, you see, ‘forcing’ would mean inflicting physical harm or public humiliation upon people who’d violate this norm, owing to some legitimate reasons such as being physically disabled, which clearly doesn’t happen, does it?
I don’t mind the arrangement because how could there be more appropriate a place than a movie theatre for playing the national anthem. The reasons are quite apparent why the National anthem is not played before Parliament’s sessions, aren’t they?
October 2017, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to take a call on whether the playing of National Anthem should be made mandatory inside cinema halls. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud spoke against the logic behind mandating that people to stand up when the National Anthem is played in the cinema halls before every show. He said there was no need to “wear his patriotism in his sleeves”. He further added, “You don’t have to stand up at a cinema hall to be perceived as patriotic.”
Justice Chandrachud said cultural and social values were imbibed from parents and teachers and not what the courts enforced through orders.
As Indians we have the right to question, criticize and ask for change regarding the National Anthem and even the National Flag, our constitution gives us this right. The case is posted for hearing on January 9, 2018. Until then, you could all stand up while the National Anthem features before movies or do what I do: arrive ten minutes late.
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