Monday, March 15, 2010

An insult to the National Anthem

Ever wonder how the exercise of playing the National Anthem before a movie started in theatres? I found this article in TOI archives. I guess it was published before the move was implemented. Moreover, there is discussion about playing the anthem after the movie got over. In either case, it reminds me of the situation in the book Catch-22, where every soldier has to sing "Star Spangled Banner" before every little movement, including being served his meal. No one will dare to say its silly because hey! Aren't you patriotic enough? 

Let's dissect the issue point by point. First, does singing the national anthem make you feel patriotic? Does it remind you that you are from a country called India? Suppose it does. The next point is, will you feel more patriotic if you are forced to sing it when you are cushily positioned in a theatre seat? I believe we go to the movies to enjoy ourselves, escape our daily troubles blah blah. Is it entirely right to make us scramble out of our comfortable seats, popcorn cola in hand and stand in attention to the National Anthem? I will concede, possibly, that is the one moment when I feel one with the entire audience in the theatre. I don't know why it happens, maybe that's the power of the National Anthem. So maybe, there's some good to it, though it is highly debatable about whether it is the right time and place to play the National Anthem.

Now my next point of concern is, put aside arguments one and two. Suppose you believe with all your heart that it's the right thing to do. Playing the National Anthem before a movie promotes patriotism and is healthy. Can theatre owners at least ensure that the Anthem plays out properly till the end? Before MNIK, the Anthem abruptly stopped halfway. Before Alice in Wonderland, the screen showed "Please stand up for the National Anthem" and blacked out after a few seconds with no National Anthem. Isn't this insulting to the National Anthem? Should theater owners be fined for this? It's not a joke is it, to play the National Anthem or to just announce it and not play it? I believe it is better to banish the whole exercise rather than having our Anthem insulted like this. I still don't understand the logic of the whole thing, btw.

p.s. Interesting aside, the National Anthem has its own website


  1. Our national anthem has its own saga. I had presented it in my ancient blogs but it was ignored by the servile masses. Visit for details. Here are a few gems:-
    To begin with, India's national anthem, Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen of England when they visited India in 1919. Most of us think it is in the praise of our great motherland !!!
    The Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka implies that King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata is "the bestower of good fortune".
    Nehru chose the present national anthem as opposed to Vande Mataram because he thought that it would be easier for the band to play.

  2. Easier for the band to play? Haha!
    Either ways, even if what you're saying is true, it doesn't matter because
    a) people don't know the meaning of what they're singing and
    b) they've been singing it for 60 years now and it evokes a sense of patriotism because you sing it in front of the National Flag.
    So, what is anyone going to do about it? I suggest you go to some politician looking to gain some publicity, for your cause :D

  3. Believe me, I have argued so much about playing-national-anthem-before-movie with so many people! n I do not find any sense in the whole thing. what to do?!! n yea, bout the meaning of the anthem, its taken a political twist now; with some parties realizing the meaning now and stressing on singing vande mataram instead of jana-gana-mana.