All rise for the National Anthem

This new Supreme Court National Anthem thing is basically worthless. Jab banda shiddat se pit chukka hoga to Supreme Court kuch nahi kar paegi. (The Supreme Court would be able to do jack-shit once the person has been beaten by the public for not rising for the National Anthem)

Having said this, this is what I feel about the standing up for National Anthem issue. Like all such posts, let me premise this by saying that I don’t consider myself a very patriotic person. I pay my taxes, vote regularly, don’t litter but that about it. I am not the chest-thumping, slogan-chanting and basically the marketable kind of patriotic. Yet I always stand when the national anthem is playing. And I am fairly certain that this is more of a reflex than a feeling. I can say this with certainty about my generation that we have been hard-wired to stand up when the national anthem plays. Hell, I stand up at home when I am watching the Republic Day parade even when there is no risk of a public beating. So I don’t think that I will feel bad, let alone offended or annoyed, if I, or anyone else, doesn’t rise for the national anthem. Basically to each his own. Still, somehow I believe that everyone should rise for the National Anthem. And I have 2 basic arguments for that.

First, when in Rome. Imagine you are in the US of A and attending a sporting event. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played and everyone rises with fists held their chests singing along. Almost certainly you too will rise and stand throughout the anthem. This when this is not your country and not your anthem. So basically patriotism is out of the picture. You do it because it is the process. If you can do it for a country which is not India, you can do it for India as well. It’s not about showing patriotism but about doing what is a prescribed part of the process.

Second, by casually not standing for the anthem you lose an opportunity to make a statement. We are all aware of the “take a knee” movement that is spread across the US where people, primarily black athletes, take a knee at the time of the National Anthem to protest against the atrocities against blacks. This act of not standing for the anthem is powerful enough to make headlines worldwide and start a discussion. You too would want that option. But you won’t have it if your argument for not rising for the National Anthem is “why should I? I don’t feel like it!”.

To conclude I just want to say that I believe in your right to choose to rise, or not rise, for the national anthem and will fight for you if someone tries to take away this right from you. I just recommend that you rise whenever the National Anthem plays.

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