During the beginning of this month, the Supreme Court’s order making it mandatory to play national anthem in cinema halls across the nation has initiated ( or should we have to say rekindled) the debate on thrusting nationalistic pride. Last month the nation had a big debate on demonetization. And this month here comes another one. So this is a truly democratic nation (!) where we are all provided with topics one after the other to ponder with.
Few years ago while the Big Cinemas chain, run by Reliance, played the musical version of the Indian national anthem and all were insisted/ forced to stand for it before the show began. On behalf of the Cinema chain, the drive was said to be an intention to promote patriotism and respect to the motherland. It garnered mixed responses, with some acknowledging the intention positively and accepting it. The rest gave a thumbs down pointing that Cinema hall is a venue for recreation and people who come there will be in relaxed recreational mood. Playing serious content like national anthem there would actually be derogatory rather doubted the sustained positive reception, justifying the original intention, thus stated.
I’m not here to criticize or analyze the apex court’s directives. But my intention is to question myself whether is it necessary to impose such practices on the citizens. On our attempt to define patriotism in a colloquial way, in an over simplified format, we might put it as ‘The love for the motherland’. We’ve been raised with patriotic feeling. And patriotism is an emotion as far as man, the social animal, is concerned. If we try to ask ourselves rationally, ‘when will someone love his/her own nation?’ what you think comes up in thoughts?
Every citizen will have a sense of belonging and an emotional attachment, when he/she finds his homeland has him under his wings. The integrity with which it embraces everyone together; the plane at which all the regional, religious, cultural, lingual boundaries vanish and the felling of oneness as Indians surface up. Ensuring that is the most primary responsibility that any ruling government holds. When this is delivered, there is no need to promote patriotism. Patriotism, is a strong emotion, like I mentioned before, and emotions can’t be designed or manufactured. They are to be elicited.
Further the question that stands before us is whether singing national anthem actually will help promote patriotism? OK, let’s give this thought a break. Alright, the orders have come from the highest judicial authority if the nation. Let us make it very simple to interpret whether or not to force people on such exercises. By law forcing a woman to accept a man’s love is a punishable crime. Now the same justice system is forcing its citizens to fall in love with the country, by rule, while apart from few exceptions every one of them already love their country already.
Instead of imposing such measures in the name of promoting love for the nation, won’t it be logical to ensure better governance and create the milieu where patriotism naturally gets elicited and promoted? Often the judicial system intervenes in commoners’ lives, of course with reasonable public interest, offering many directions and making them mandatory by law. On how many occasions has our justice system, with reasonable public interest, has intervened and ruling governments course of actions, directing and guiding it for the betterment of citizens of the nation? (For instance, Questioning on how far the elections promises are being realized in actuality and insisting on the political party to account for the promises those remain unrealized.)
Protecting and ensuring equal and better lives to the people must be the top priority of just and not controlling the citizens.