On November 30 last year, the Supreme Court said that playing the National Anthem before the movies in theaters is mandatory because it would “instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism” in citizens. In addition to that, pictures of the national flag will also be displayed after the anthem and people must honour them and stand up while it lasts. “Time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism…people must feel they live in a nation and this wallowing individually perceived notion of freedom must go…people must feel this is my country, my motherland,” the court said. A PIL was filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, a retired engineer in Bhopal. He had brought before the bench examples to illustrate how provisions of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, were being breached & in its judgment, the court passed this order.
It is really sad that while our people fought for independence from the British Rule for more than 100 years, it has taken less than half that time for people to undervalue the struggle. This hard fought victory seems to be very petty in front of some people who do not value the pride of the Nation – the National Anthem. They have to wait for a Supreme Court ruling to tell them that it is mandatory to stand while the Anthem is being played. The irony is that even after the Supreme Court reminding them that the Nation is more important than personal freedom, people went overboard mocking the ruling and passing sarcastic remarks on the Social Media. These people are the very ones who put their hands over their heart when they hear the anthem of football clubs being played abroad or the anthem of other nations being played before baseball matches. They find the respect of the crowd pulsating & patriotic, even though these matches are played for entertainment; but when our own Anthem is played in Cinema Halls, it is something to be mocked because National sentiment is (wrongly) being mixed with entertainment, they say. In fact since the ruling, more than a dozen people have been arrested on charges of disrespecting the anthem.
We Indians love to criticize so much that we have even criticized the National Anthem itself. A whole section of people believe that it was written as a submission to the British. Such nonsense! Our founding fathers would have envisaged this Anthem as one which creates respect for the whole country, not just bits and parts of the country. Whoever wants to draw a contrary conclusion to this should understand that once chosen, it is the pride of the Nation; and as a citizen it is our duty to give it respect, nay, our lives to uphold the dignity of the National Anthem.
If that is the behaviour of the common man, our respected MLAs went one step further today at the J & K Assembly. National Conference and Congress members in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly reportedly tried to disrupt Governor’s address and continued to do so even as National Anthem played in the assembly. In fact, even the Governor started walking away as the National Anthem was being played. When questioned, some MLAs said that the Anthem was being played at such a low volume that they could not hear it. It is not surprising that they did not mention that the din made by them was too loud to hear anything else. BJP’s Ravinder Raina while saying that this was an insult to the national anthem, asked for an apology from National Conference, Congress and Governor for “insulting” the national anthem in the assembly. Commenting on the incident, J&K minister, Naeem Akhtar said shouting slogans in assembly is probably the only argument the opposition are left with.
To add salt to the injury, after insult to national anthem, National Conference MLC Shauqat Hussain Ganai described in the Legislative Council the slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani as a “martyr”, triggering protests from the ruling PDP and BJP.
The question remains that why only BJP & PDP are protesting these occurrences? What is the Indian National Congress doing? Is the National Anthem not important to them? Is Wani not a terrorist in their eyes? A party which has ruled independent India for more than 60 years does not know the value of the National Anthem? Is it any surprise then that people don’t trust them any more with ruling the country?
When politicians who are sworn to protect the dignity of the Nation indulge in such behaviour, it sets a bad example to the citizens of the country. If the citizens can be punished for insulting our National Anthem, shouldn’t these politicians be punished too?
Jai Hind !!!