Please Rise For The National Anthem

What do you do when you hear that?

1. Stand up straight, hands by your side, chin up and with loud voice belt out 'Jana Gana Mana'

2. Stand up, shoulders hunched over, head down, hands clasped behind the back and head down, as if ashamed

3. Stand up lazily, shuffle from one foot to another, hands behind your back and / or in your pocket, and gaze into space in boredom

These are some of the postures that I have observed people assume, when asked to 'rise for the national anthem'. And am sad to say that there is a preponderance of people taking postures described in nos 2 and 3 over no 1.

Another thing I've seen is that people rarely sing along these days. This could be because they have dreadful singing voices or technology has made us lazy. And of course there are those singing the anthem all wrong.

It worries me. Because it seems like children are exhibiting these traits more and more. Children learn from adults. This must mean that adults themselves don't know the correct words, tune and respect, that is due to the national anthem.

Is the national anthem just any other song? Is singing the national anthem just tokenism? Does not caring about it mean we do not love our country? Are we becoming less and less patriotic? And if we are, does it matter? What does patriotism mean anyway? In a world where the Indian diaspora is growing by the day, has the notion of patriotism become obsolete? What do you think?

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17 Responses to Please Rise For The National Anthem

  1. Quizzerix says:

    I endorse your views.

    My annual YW Quiz at various centres concludes, quite appropriately, with the National Anthem. When I make the announcement to that effect, the one heartening thing all the children (and the overgrown ones accompanying them) rise without being told..But the flip side is that some of them just remain standing or start shifting while being stationary with an expression 'let's get it over with..' It is quite disturbing....

    I have always sung Jana Gana Mana..throatily standing in the right posture but many just 'stand at ease', stand with arms folded or just warble the tune while silently clicking the fingers as if it was a popular (in the filmi sense) number!!!

    All I can say (with apologies to Kavi Pradeep) is..."Dekh tere Desh ki halat kya ho gayi bhagwan, kitna badal gaya insaan..."

  2. Is singing national anthem an index of patrotism?Is love for your country measured by such social and legal impositions?The old practice of mandatory playing the song in cinema theatres have been given up as people disregarded.I read this sentence somewhere"If the government gives the public a feeling that being a citizen of this country is a glorious thing, people will be more than happy to raise the national flag and sing the national anthem anytime, anywhere That should be the focus … not compulsory [singing].”
    Let us foster a love for this country by giving people their dignity,a comfortable living free from hassles and honest governance.
    My love for my country is well beyond symbolic gestures though I stand in attention when the national anthem is played and I respect my contry's flag

  3. Couldn't agree more with Parthasarathi. While the National anthem is a proud symbol, inflicting it on movie goers is an abomination which is unique to insecure democracies. That is as disrespectful as the other behavioral patterns pointed out in the blog post. Second when we start defining abstract emotions like love, patriotism in strict tokenist gestures, we end up becoming intolerant. While following certain protocol is desirable, not following is certainly not treachery! Point taken that chewing gum, talking etc when the national anthem is being sung is wrong...we should draw the line somewhere...
    Perhaps the National anthem should be reserved for specific solemn gatherings to maintain its value..

  4. Very true. As mentioned in the post, a remedy for this problem might be to not use the technology to sing the national anthem. This puts us in a position that we have to sing.

  5. How many Indian know the difference between our National Anthem and National Song? The Cinema Halls which used to play the Anthem after the show have stopped as nobody bothers to pay respect. It took 60 years for the citizens to furl the National Flag at our will; that too after a long legal battle. Do we take such Nationalism and Patriotism seriously? Is there a political will or is it merely a ritual? We need to 'rise' above the ritualistic things.

  6. Sandhya says:

    I and my husband stand up immediately as soon as we hear the National anthem...at the CWG, we stood up so often so happily. My children used to stand up, but don't do so, now...growing up stage! I sing along always.

    I feel most of the children and adults too, do not know the words properly...so many reasons can be given for that!

  7. Amit says:

    And not to forget all the treacherous yawning and driving away the hovering flies and mosquitoes.

  8. Rachna says:

    I think some people feel awkward or shy to do it. But, I don't think that it is a measure of one's patriotism. One sees the maximum pride in the National Anthem and flag unfurling when in a foreign country and when winning an event somewhere.

  9. Aparna says:

    I sing it, probably because I was in the school choir and was taught how to pronounce the words and sing them in the right beat.
    My kids have not been taught the way I was, I know a lot of these kids do not even know the words. But I fully agree with Parthasarathy, we do not need these symbols to feel patriotic. We do not feel ashamed of our country, we feel ashamed of the way it has been governed for the last 60 years. Till the time every citizen in this country is given proper respect and a dignified existence, some people would slouch while singing the Anthem.

  10. Deepa says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  11. U have taken up a real and relevant issue. In fact, it is the adults who pay this kind of response to the national anthem. We Indians take all things in one block and don't even bother to show respect to the symbol of our national pride and freedom. We always want somebody to coerce the things on us.

  12. FOUR pillars of Patriotism
    Parents
    Teachers
    Society
    Leaders
    Unfortunately, Indians have failed on all accounts to generate that fervor of love for the country amongst children. The Gen-next is likely to migrate where they see mega-bucks and comforts ; after all that is what they see the nation doing!
    Do visit my site :) - it is http://wizardspost.com/

  13. Agreed Deepa! Point is Children these days seem to feel either "embarrassed" or "indifferent" to feelings of patriotism. The current generation is part of the consumer band wagon and not part of the tribe that grew up in the 70s, 80s like us. Unfotunately there are those who confuse patriotism for religious fundatmentalism and so on.. So a simple act like standing straight for a national anthem seems like an ordeal!

  14. PriPat says:

    Its because of todays teaching i feel...

    when v were in school we have to be present on the national holiday and we were dam eager for it... but now a day the schools only doesn't have flag hosting ceremony.. they declare it just as an other holiday... Today in children the value of patriotism and nation love haven't been inculcated... Lets be less materialstic and thing not of the ourself but something bout our country too

    Nice blog Great observation!!
    Will follow !

  15. FOUR pillars of Patriotism
    Parents
    Teachers
    Society
    Leaders
    Unfortunately, Indians have failed on all accounts to generate that fervor of love for the country amongst children. The Gen-next is likely to migrate where they see mega-bucks and comforts ; after all that is what they see the nation doing!
    Do visit my site :) - it is http://wizardspost.com/

  16. U have taken up a real and relevant issue. In fact, it is the adults who pay this kind of response to the national anthem. We Indians take all things in one block and don't even bother to show respect to the symbol of our national pride and freedom. We always want somebody to coerce the things on us.