By Vageesha Mishra
1. Before heading to the comment section please read this article thoroughly. I had spam some because it seemed like their only aim was to lash out at me without reading a word I wrote.
2. At no point in this article or otherwise am I calling the people who do not stand up for national anthem “non-patriotic.”
3. Obviously I know that anybody’s nationalism/patriotism cannot be proved by standing up/not standing up for national anthem.
4. I agree that movie theatres aren’t the right place for it but if by any chance they decide to play it, I don’t have any objections to comply with the norms. I’d do it most gladly. I don’t agree to the making compulsory part as well.
5. The article attempts to raise bigger questions than the whole ongoing debate over an issue which is highly sensitive and pertains to a code of conduct that also serves the purpose of appearing unified, kind of acts as a unifying bond in a country marked by diversity. And these practices are followed around the globe. As citizens of a democratic set up we should be judicious enough to understand the –
A. Importance of codes of conduct(symbolism) before anyone takes to showing inclination towards their disruption,
B. How much weight to be given to an issue,
C. What can harm your nation’s unity, peace, respect, name and well being as well as your own before adopting a perspective.
“Why are they forcing us to prove our patriotism? The feeling should arise naturally,” said a journalist friend of mine in a passionate fury when I had asked for his views on the Supreme Court’s then order mandating cinema halls to play national anthem before screening a film, obliging moviegoers to stand up in respect.
Good for him, the apex court recently ruled in favour of people voicing his opinion, amending its previous ruling from compulsory to optional.
Personally, it wasn’t a big deal for me to stand up for a few seconds as a different set of images start to run through my head whenever I listen to our national anthem.
I become a little girl who is intently listening to her teary-eyed father telling her how so many people willingly offered their life so we could have our hard-fought independence from the colonial empire. That it’s not just to show our reverence towards our nation, but it’s also a way of paying our respects to each and every soul we have lost to reach here.
True enough, till today, I don’t need a court order to get on my feet whenever our national anthem is played out. In fact, between the lines of the composition, I can hear the echos of their altruism with which they happily put their lives on the line for their nation, our nation. And when I reach the end of it, there are goose bumps all over.
But I turn my head to find a bunch of young people, who had easily climbed up to their seats earlier, sprawled in their theatre recliners, scrolling through their phones. And just as the rest of us join them by sinking back into our chairs, you can spot a hint of hesitation momentarily run through their posture.
That’s when the words of my said friend had come rushing to me, they are forcing us to show our patriotism.
While they indulged in lauding the richness of their respective products on the screen as everyone impatiently waited for the movie to start, my mind got lost in contemplation.
It would be a lie to say that the behaviour of these youngsters had no effect over me but thanks to my upbringing where there was a heavy emphasis on instilling empathy in my character, I can’t go on making my mind without listening to other side of the story. In that case, it may be that the people of my friend’s view are pure patriots at heart but are turned off by the emphasis to exhibit their nationalism. Their methods though diverting from the mainstream tendencies, share the same feeling.
Besides there is one essential thing that can’t be overlooked, people do have a right to choose how they feel and we’ve got to respect that. That’s the best and worst part about feelings, they are subjective. Expecting the same conformity, citizens normally assign to tax, traffic, legal and other rules with areas involving emotional conditioning can often prove to be futile as happened in the matter at hand. Assuming a forced outlook in such cases renders further display of disrespect towards the cause especially since there were incidents of moral policing on the part of some citizens.
The SC’s modified order came after it was brought to the court’s notice that there had been a rise in vigilantism with incidents where old and invalid were forced to stand up in the cinema halls.
Taking law into our own hands is as bad as not having a desire to show respect towards things pertaining to patriotism. It reflects badly upon those who talk of such high values and then go on turning a blind eye to others. If your nation holds such a deep place in your heart, then so should its laws, your humanitarian side and compassion for somebody’s inability to stand up. Such acts not only dilute the subject, they question your mental soundness. If something leaves you unsettled, ask questions in a harmonious manner. Every citizen does have a right to question too in a democratic set up.
So, coming back, pardon my curiosity, but kindly enlighten me as to why this deep sense of patriotism fails terribly at the requirement of such a simplistic form of expression when it’s not forced? Especially when one of the underlying symbolism and sentiment behind standing up is directed towards the struggle and loss of life in the past, doesn’t matter if it’s present scheme of affairs making you unhappy (those lamenting over, “is this real freedom?”)
People are the backbone of a democracy. It falls upon them to behave with prudence. Acting out like a child even in the matters that require so little of you despite being on any side of the coin projects you as the weak, malleable kind and guess what? No one takes a child seriously.
Image – Pixabay
So, what’s your take on this?