Every morning at 8 am, residents of Faridabad’s Nangla Jogian village drop what they are doing and stand in attention, hands by their side, as 16 loudspeakers come to life with the familiar tune of the national anthem. They know it’s time thanks to the announcement: “It is now time for the national anthem, and you are all requested to stand for the same.”
Soon afterwards, people can be seen getting to their feet — shopkeepers manning stores leave their plastic chairs, children stop their games, while a group of women with children on their hips pause mid-conversation. Even tempos and cars come to a halt. Stating that the idea was to instill a sense of pride and patriotism in people, village sarpanch Gulshan Keena said, “We wanted to start this practice since last October, when we heard of a similar thing in Telangana. But it took us a lot of time to arrange for funding. As a result, we were only able to execute the plan from the first week of June.”
According to members of the panchayat, Rs 1.5 lakh was spent on installing speakers across the village. “Ours is a small village of around 3,000 people, living in about 400 houses, so we needed only 16 speakers to cover the entire area. These have been installed at the main junctions in the village… Two more will be added in the near future,” said Bhim Singh, a member of the gram panchayat.
In the neighbouring village of Bhanakpur, 22 speakers costing around Rs 3 lakh were installed in January for the same purpose, to cater to its 5,000-odd residents. Although residents of Nangla Jogian claimed they were the ones who first came up with the idea, which they said was “leaked to someone in the other village by mistake”, the sarpanch of Bhanakpur said they too decided to launch the practice “after hearing of the one in Telangana”.
“We had installed the speakers to just play the national anthem. However, we have found that they serve another purpose as well — to make announcements about events and government schemes such as distribution of pension,” said Sachin Madotia, the sarpanch of Bhanakpur. “Earlier, we would have to go home to home, investing three or four hours on the task… now it is completed in minutes,” he added.
Unlike Nangla Jogian, however, the timing of the anthem varies in Bhanakpur depending on the season — 7 am in the summer and an hour later during winter. “We do not force people to stand up, there is no vigilance as such. That is their prerogative. We have just given them an opportunity to show respect for the nation,” said Madotia.
Gopal, a resident, said, “The anthem was routinely played at school each day… extending it to the entire village is a good thing. It gives us a chance to set an example for our children and show respect for the nation. It also instills a sense of community among residents, because it is something we do together each day.”
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