Patriots by defaults and those who needs to qualify!
Shishir Tripathi | January 30, 2015
Some years ago while watching Karan Johar’s hyper-melodramatic take on “loving your parents” I was forced to stand up. The scene set in London was about celebrating our national symbols. Shah Rukh Khan’s son in the film, giving patriotic goose bumps to his parents, sings the national anthem, amidst all white students.
Overwhelming as it was for his mother, played by Kajol, who wants to keep ‘the Indian’ in his son intact; it was no less for the audience. Some people stood up to the recital of the national anthem and the entire audience followed the suit, including me. Anyway, if I would have decided otherwise, nobody would have called me a traitor or a jihad sympathiser. I am a Hindu and by default a patriot.
However, everyone is not a patriot by default. It is different for others. “You Muslims will never learn to respect India,” said an email from an anonymous “patriot” to a friend who is by all means a dedicated journalist and a patriot. Just a few days ago while covering the Republic Day celebrations in Chandigarh, for a leading daily, she wrote on her Facebook page, “…the day I eagerly wait for when I could actually smell the fragrance of patriotism".
She was excited and talked about the celebration in unbroken breath to me over the phone. But yesterday, talking about the mail, she said, “It kills me from inside when people say such things.”
When the vice president of India decided to stick to protocol and not salute the national flag while it was hoisted on the Republic Day, there were people who doubted his patriotism. He is a Muslim and needs to prove his patriotism. Doesn’t he?
The murmurs from a few people criticizing Hamid Ansari reached the point where the vice president’s office had to issue a clarification, explaining that going by protocol only those in uniform have to salute the flag, the rest should stand still. That is why two cabinet ministers indeed stood still and did not salute the flag, but it was only the vice president who was singled out for controversy.
Sad as it is, the fact remains that the media to a very great extent was silent on the issue. Major TV debates which claim to be the “voice of the nation” refrained from giving a minute to the issue. Edit pages also lacked space as they were busy debating Indo-US ties, with president Obama present to grace the occasion.
Now returning back to Karan Johar’s family drama where our easily-hurt hyper-patriotism was at full display. After the recent incident I dug up a bit deeper to find out if my action in the cinema hall – standing up when the national anthem is played – was mandatory or not. I figured out that not following others would not have invited any legal action against me as it was not required by the rule book. And I would have also easily escaped social ostracisation as I am a patriot by default.
The rules regarding the national anthem states, “Whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention. However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary the Anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.”
Social media is an open place, where all kind of voices, informed and ignorant exist. One should not expect that those who make that crude judgment have enough patience to check the rule books before awarding a sentence. But then there is enough space among this social media insanity where serious voices exist. If they lay dormant then it is surely a wakeup call.
Four senior judges of the supreme court have publicly made serious allegations against the chief justice of India. Will it have wider impact on judicial discipline? I think so. I think the CJI will have to take note of it and rectify the mistakes he was making.
Two people were killed in the fire that broke out at the Polyethylene Swing Unit of Panipat Naphtha Cracker Complex on January 22. As a precautionary measure, the swing unit is temporarily under shutdown. Indian Oil Corporation said that five persons working in the nearby area came in
India is the most dangerous place in the world to be born as a baby girl. It has the dubious distinction of having 75% more chances of girl children aged between 1-5 years dying as compared to boy children. India is among the fastest growing economies in the world, with a contradicting child sex ratio worl
The trainees of 37th International Training Programme on ‘Planning and Management of Urban Services’, organised by HUDCO’s Human Settlement Management Institute, interacted with HUDCO’s CMD, M Ravi Kanth. The training programme started on January 15 and would end on March 9.
Prime minister Narendra Modi underlined the need for a consensus among the nation to realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, as he addressed the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday. After introductory remarks by the Forum`s founder and executive chai
REC Transmission Projects Company Ltd (RECTPCL), a subsidiary of Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC), has handed over project specific special purpose vehicle (SPV) namely ERSS XXI Transmission Ltd to Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL). Competing alongside with the private p