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Independence Day 2020: Why is the national anthem so important?

12:20 PM Aug 14, 2020 | Husain Rizvi

It was a fine day in Dubai when I decided to visit the cinemas and watch a newly released Bollywood film, but I was left with awe as I witnessed many Indian nationals not standing up during the national anthem.

I still wonder, what could have been the reason?

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It is understandable that people visit the cinemas for entertainment and not to show their patriotism, but anthems involve emotions and pride for the country, something which a true nationalist should not ignore.

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The Arabs, also present in the same cinema hall, did not pay their respect to the anthem by standing up but that does not come as a surprise given the Indian nationals who themselves did not stand up during the anthem.

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However, it is arguable that cinema halls are not the best places to play a national anthem given the modern scenarios where the anthem is not even played in schools anymore. In my opinion, national anthems are best suited for sporting events in arenas, where respect from both sides is usually witnessed.

Nationalism cannot be forced onto someone. Respect for the nation should come from within and it is shameful for those who deny the same. Citing the example of Salman M, a young man who was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram for refusing to stand up during the national anthem at the screening of a movie. He was charged with sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code and had to pay Rs 2 lakh and surrender his passport.

It is, however, important to keep in mind that national anthems draw the people of a country together. They build a nation's pride without being chauvinistic or depreciating neighbouring countries. Hence, it is of utmost importance to respect our national anthem, even if it means to stand up in a cinema hall filled with other nationals.

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