The Supreme Court has ruled that the National Anthem will be played in every movie theatre across India before the screening of every film. It is a noble attempt to instill “committed patriotism and nationalism” in the citizens–because we know commitment has to be ‘injected’ in people–by way of playing the anthem in an entertainment venue before films of varied nature in front of a mixed, not necessarily Indian, audience
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The new normal in Indian movie theatres will be public display of patriotism instead of public display of affection. A major victory, of course. Everyone will stand up in respect for the anthem, including the people barging inside the hall late for the show. Or will they be prevented from entering during the anthem, or prosecuted for their bad sense of timing
Of course, the movie theatre is the best place to ensure order, discipline, punctuality, serious behaviour and anything else that goes against the grain of entertainment. If should be more like a school assembly
Somewhere in the crowd a crying child’s cries will merge with the melody of the national anthem and the hapless parents will find that showing patriotism is something you need to teach your child very early in life
Some over-enthusiastic elements may end up forcing people to stand up. It’s happened before. Thankfully, the disabled seem to be exempt this time. But that might not come in the way of hypernationalism
Don’t be surprised if those who look Indian, but aren’t — like our friends from Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh — are forced to stand in attention. The minor detail of their nationalist allegiance can be brushed under the carpet
This is just the dose we Indians need, especially since we seem to be struggling with an identity crisis and a sense of lost nationality with defective notions of freedom. The tolerant establishment structures have come to our rescue time and again and handheld us to show a Utopian India where we should shun our imperfections. We need to embrace the perfecting element that is nationalism and public display of patriotism.
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