I visited the movies for the first time after the Court mandated burst of patriotism at the beginning of a movie has been a rule. All the while when people debated on it, I must say that I felt that people overreacted. I definitely laughed at this prospect but ignored it among the more severe tidings across the nation. Being a firm believer of democracy, I did feel that the court cannot simply force the citizens unto something they aren’t comfortable with.
When has nationalism been interchangeable with fascism? With a country like ours, where an anti-national label is pushed down the throat of anyone opposing the diktats of the lawmakers and self-proclaimed social media patriots as well.
Here, I am in the movie hall. The whole national anthem introduction has skipped my mind, because it never affected me in the first place. After a few advertisements and naming the sponsors, the national anthem plays. And I am reminded of this new law and I stand up. I am not disheartened by the whole thing; I am simply in shock that this is how it feels.
Let me get this clear, standing for a national anthem is no anomaly. We all obediently stood for it during school assemblies, sports days and other days of national importance. What I observed was a stark difference between the both. Back in the school days, there was a pin drop silence and we all sang the national anthem in unison. And almost every time, I got goosebumps at the last stanza. It almost fell like a sudden surge of love for the country. To this day, every national anthem sung has a similar effect on anyone paying attention to it.
However, in the movie hall when the national anthem was played, there was a unison of uff and shh and ohh. The person standing in front of me, folded his hands behind his back, as either a mere show of arrogance or a tiny act of rebelliousness that would lead nowhere. As if, this would change anything.
The only thing that I can guarantee is that a mockery was made of the national anthem. People stood silently only out of fear of breaking a law. They reserved the comments till after the show with laughing rounds of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. For people who think that mandating the national anthem is going to strengthen us as a nation, they are mistaken. This is a mockery of the anthem that swells the chests of its citizens with pride and it is slap on the face of democracy.