Recently, there was an unusually long hearing on an application to recall the Supreme Court’s November 2016 order forcing movie-goers to stand up for the National Anthem before the start of every film. The court has decided to let the government decide whether this move should be done away with.
Now, this has sparked a national debate on whether the National Anthem should be played before the movie or not.
The very first thing I would like to highlight is that our National Anthem cannot be made optional. The idea of Nationalism is intrinsic, and it always gives me goosebumps. But in recent times, we are witnessing fanatic religious sentiments such as the chanting of ‘Jai Shree Ram’and ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ overshadowing the national interest. Nowadays, one’s pride in their religion often exceeds their pride in their country, which I feel can be problematic.
The playing of National Anthem before a movie has its own history. It dates back to 1962 when people sang the song as a patriotic gesture before the Indo-China war. It felt necessary during that time. Cut to 2016, when the SC made it mandatory for halls to play the National Anthem before the screening of every show.
One argument is that the National Anthem is revered and should be played on solemn occasions as opposed to an inconsequential moment like before a film screening. Theatre is a place for entertainment, not a place to remember our national sentiments. Are we not proud citizens of this country, if we don’t sing the National Anthem before every movie? If this situation is of such immense importance, then the Central Government should enforce a law relating to this. Otherwise, we are just trivialising the significance of the anthem, which people might stop taking seriously.
But there is another side to the same coin. Can’t we stand for a mere 52 seconds before the start of a film? In a lackadaisical chanting, we only end up disrespecting our National Anthem which is otherwise sung on only two days of the year, i.e. Independence Day and Republic Day. In standing up for the National Anthem every time, we honour the lives of countless men and women who have fought and even given their lives for India’s independence, growth and welfare.
Now, the whole debate is resting on the central government as the court was unable to extricate itself from an order which is widely misunderstood, although it may have been issued with good intentions. It appears as if the SC had no option but to throw the ball back to the government.
What is your opinion on this issue? Do let me know in the comments section below.