National Anthem at the movies?

Nationalism is a feeling, not a law to abide by. Respect is instilled, not enforced. And our national anthem is not a song, it’s a sentiment.

Our honorable supreme court announced last week that the national anthem is to be played before the screening of films all across the country. Moreover, it is compulsory to stand.

I find it highly absurd that when you are in a jovial mood, chit-chatting with your friends and family and looking forward to a great movie, you are suddenly reminded or rather forced to show nationalism. I respect my national anthem, I do but I don’t see a point proving it to the world. Our national anthem is not a tax that must be paid. It’s not a traffic rule that must be adhered to. Its an absolutely brilliant lyrical expression that celebrates our nation and its people. We, as citizens need to understand it’s essence and respect will be automatic.

I can very distinctly remember how my chin rose up with pride when the anthem was played during the school assemblies. Nobody told me do so, it was instinctive and that is the way it should be. I fail to understand how love for your motherland could be made a matter of jurisdiction and certification. It is something which needs to be instilled during the school days, not when you wish to spend leisure time. Moreover, it is likely that this decision will embolden Hindu groups that are pushing for a stringent brand of nationalism.

Respect is one thing, obedience another; devotion is one thing, compliance another; commitment is one thing, submission another.

Patriotism binds us all in a mutual feeling of unity and brotherhood and steps must be taken to instill it but an imposed hearing of the national anthem at cinemas is definitely not one of them.