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Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar while speaking at the unveiling of an album ‘The Sport Heroes’ aimed to inspire the younger generation towards sports and winning for the nation; he said that singing the National Anthem in front of a packed Wankhede Stadium before the 2011 World Cup final is the “proudest feeling” he has ever had in his life. He further said that singing of national anthem goes to a different level altogether, when you are playing against Pakistan in 2003 World Cup, standing inside the stadium, in the middle of the group, with 60,000 people singing ‘Jana Gana Mana’. The right-handed former India batsman says his chest swells in pride while singing National Anthem.

In recent days, we Indians have been talking and experiencing a lot of distortion of emotions over whether to stand or not to stand for National Anthem before the screening of movie in the cinema halls. In a verdict of Supreme Court on 14th Feb 2017, the verdict is clear: all the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.  Prior to the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem.

After the National Anthem is played or sung, the doors can be opened. When the National Anthem shall be played in the Cinema Halls, it shall be with the National Flag on the screen. a time has come, the citizens of the country must realize that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to National Anthem which is the symbol of the Constitutional Patriotism and inherent national quality. It does not allow any different notion or the perception of individual rights that have individually thought of have no space. The idea is constitutionally impermissible.

Let’s look at how some other countries of world treat their National Anthem and National Flags:

The convention in the United States is pretty clear: when the National Anthem is being played, whether or not the American flag is displayed, all individuals should face the flag/the source of music and stand at attention with the right hand over their hearts. But the United States does not discipline its citizens for failing to stand up.

Russia fines its citizens for the offence of mocking its National Anthem, and its government is considering adding criminal charges of up to one year of imprisonment or hard labor for not respecting the national anthem of nationalanthem2the Russian Federation.

In Mexico, according to the Law of the Coat of Arms, Flag, and National Anthem, all schools and universities are supposed to honour the flag on Monday mornings, and the beginning and end of school terms.

In Italy, the National Anthem isn’t played at schools or other public places, except during sporting events, at formal state ceremonies and at public rallies attended by the President. No one is required to sing along or behave in some particular way while the National Anthemis being played. However, Italians are required to stand and show respect to any National Anthem.

Thailand’s love for its anthem is more intense than most. It is played every day on television at 8 am and 6 pm. Students of all ages gather in front of the national flag at 8 am and sing the National Anthem together. The national anthem is also played regularly in government offices, and before movie screenings. However, there is no law regarding the national anthem in Thailand. It’s just an unofficial convention.

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Rationality: The matter about standing in respect of the National Flag and National Anthem is a collective action; we collectively watch a film in cinema halls, which is a shred activity based on collective intention of watching a film. We jointly attend a single objective – the film. So when jointly we all stand in respect for the National Anthem, it just shows our intrinsic emotion. As a gathering of some hundreds of people we are moved by genuine affection for the country may be for those few minutes. For those few minutes, we vouch for collective identity. National symbols are useful to transcend collective identity, which for few moments gives us a sense of higher purpose. I call it the social cohesion of the people.

The act of standing up and respecting the National Anthem promotes harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India, rising above religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.  My eyes get moist with tears when I see and hear the National Anthem. And it’s a matter of just 90 seconds. It’s sad that some citizens of the country feel that they are being pushed into standing in respect for the anthem against their will, and the act described as ‘irrational’. I don’t understand that why few people find the act irrational?  I don’t understand how it amounts to an indiscriminating act??

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