A few years back I was rushing to a theater in Quito, Ecuador to catch one of my favorite movie franchises, Pirates of Caribbean 4. I am a big fan of South American music irrespective of genre. Whether it be a folk music or any Don Omar’s popular number, I could always feel a sheen of happiness on my face listening to South American music. Hence, without any doubt, Ecuadorian National Anthem, “Salve, Oh Patria” would have made me feel nothing but happy if it were played in the theater. But I also don’t deny that I would have gotten really confused as to why this type of song was played before the movie like Pirates of Caribbean.
Supreme court today ordered the national anthem to be played before every movie in the Republic of India, settings 10 day deadline for cinema and multiplexes across India to carry out the directive. This apparently is a humble initiative to instill a sense of patriotism and nationalism. This is because when national anthem is played it is imperative that everyone shows honor and respect. I do have a lot of respect for the honorable Supreme Court of India. But, I feel that bestowing time and energy in analyzing the petition filed by Bhopal resident Shyam Narayan Choski’s appeal to make national anthem play before every movie is ridiculous and sheer wastes of time. Similar to my above mentioned example where I don’t understand the relationship between pirates of Caribbean and Salve, Oh Patria, I feel that it would be rather awkward to play Jana Gana Mana before Arrival, Don’t breathe or even worse before amazing movies of Bollywood history like Grand Masti or Mastizaade!
I had stayed in Mumbai for around 4 years and am a big time movie freak. I do admit that almost every weekend, new movie release made me feel nostalgic about my school days, when Jana Gana mana is played. However, apart from “nostalgia” about school days it didn’t give me any kind of additional abstract feelings. I beg to state that I am a proud Indian and each and every time I don’t need to be reminded about patriotism and nationalism. I am a person who rejoices India’s grand achievement in Olympics, rejoices demonetization as fight against black money. I am a person when I jump in happiness when I see tricolor being raised high along with flags of other counties in foreign Countries. Thus, for a true patriots like me, we don’t a national anthem in our recreational place like movie theater to remind us of our patriotism and nationalism. Regarding others who think otherwise, it is their choice and can’t be forced anything whatsoever. To re-iterate, I am not very sure how the patriotism and nationalism can be instilled. Life would have been so much easier everywhere if this was the scenario. Chinese Business man planning to tie up with an Indian Businessman for his business expansion in India, he just have to play Jana Gana Mana in the beginning of his presentation and then next step he has to do is to directly jump to final “thank you” slide. Bingo! One of the biggest Chinese Indian strategic alliance just took place successfully.
National anthem is a national anthem! And for God’s sake! I feel it is respected more only when it is played in national and international Events like sports, international political meets, Independence Day marking love and respect to the beloved nation.
Maharashtra movie theaters already have this rule since 2002, all thanks to Narendra Verma of the Nationalist Congress party on the pretext of getting closer and making them united. But time and again it is proved to be wrong. Every year instances of violence are reported due to some people not standing up during national anthem in the cinema halls. There is nothing in the Indian constitution which mandates an Indian citizen to stand up when national anthem is being played.
The most recent case was of a writer and award winning rights’ activist Sahil Chaturvedi who was assaulted by a couple for not standing during national anthem in Goa. In another incident in October 2014 in our own amchi Mumbai, an Indian man was abused and assaulted by a few men, because, his South African girl friend refused to stand up during the national anthem. There was also an embarrassing instance when our national level, highly appreciated Bollywood star, Preity Zinta threw a boy out from a cinema hall for not standing up during the national anthem. Ironically she bagged a title of “goonda” instead of “patriotic”, thankfully reflecting that majority of the social media crowd is pretty sensible.
I can’t imagine starting my weekend in a pub after I stood up for national anthem or savoring my favorite Italian dish after Jana Gana Mana. And my office. I don’t even want to comment about the office thing.