By Indira Hirway*
If someone asks me whose patriotism is doubtful in our society, my quick answer will be “all cinema goers”. This is because our “leaders” who are “patriotic” have identified them as such. The recent statements of our “leaders” state that all Indians (i.e. film goers) should compulsorily stand up and sing/listen to the National Anthem before they can watch a movie in a theatre.
Also, “doors must remain locked so that none can create any kind of disturbance that will amount to ‘disrespect’ to the National Anthem”. A likely reason for this order is perhaps some of our film makers and actors have been recently suspected as “unpatriotic” and have been asked to go to Pakistan – a paradise for all “unpatriotic people” (?)
Considering the fact that “patriotism” of many more people has been suspected in the recent months, I suggest an extension of this order to many more areas: Anupam Kher has put this feeling very well in his “eye-opening” comments on this order that it is sad that we have to be told to do this! It should be mandatory even otherwise, i.e. before you start seeing a movie you yourself should get up and sing the national anthem. Perhaps he means to say that wherever possible, we should get up and sing our National Anthem in a spontaneous manner!
Going by this spirit, I am encouraged to suggest that these leaders should extend this idea to many other areas: All entertainment programmes, dramas, concerts, music programmes, dancing programmes, mushairas – all should begin with the National Anthem. As Shekhar Kapur had suggested, this order should be extended to Indian Parliament also, as “often its drama too is movie like”, entertaining, as well as annoying.
When I think more about this, I realize that this “patriotic” idea should be extended to all our activities, after all patriotism must be included in each and every action of ours: All markets should open with singing / playing national Anthem; each school and college should begin with national Anthem (patriotism is to be inculcated in our young minds!).
All banks must spend a few minutes on singing /playing National Anthem, including the people who are waiting outside! Finally all offices including government offices should start their work with singing National Anthem.
After reading Anupam Kher’s comparison of people standing in queues at restaurants and people singing National in cinema houses again a very new idea comes to me, why should people standing in all queues — at railways, buses, restaurants, and even toilets should sing our National Anthem?
My fertile new idea continues again: Why shouldn’t the local bodies blow a siren at 10.00 am in the morning to remind people to sing National Anthem? What a wonderful scene will it be when the entire country is drenched in patriotism!
Then when I saw on American TV the President Trump advising the players of the NFL (National Football Team) in USA to sing the National Anthem while standing upright and then they, along with donors and spectators, all singing it sitting but with great gusto, I felt proud of our “patriotic leaders” who are so much drenched in “patriotism” that they can go to any level — beating and even murder people to protect our “Bharatiya Culture”!
My fertile brain, however, again troubles me and asks a question: what is the meaning of patriotism and do my pseudo-Hindu friends understand it?
*Director and Prof of Economics, Centre For Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad