Patriotism rests in heart and cannot be forced down the throat. Respect for national flag and national anthem, the symbols of patriotism, has to flow out of love generated and not forced under fear of law.
While petitions for recall of Apex Court November 30, 2016 order which justified playing of National Anthem in cinema halls on the ground that it would “instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism” are being disposed off, S.S.Bijral former IGP and state BJP spokesperson welcomed observations of Justice DY Chandrachud: “should we wear patriotism on our sleeves. Next thing will….…where do we stop this moral policing?”
Bijral noting further the observation of Justice Chandrachud : “There is no mandate that people should stand up when National Anthem is sung in a cinema hall. This is obviously because a cinema hall is a place of entertainment….” said in pursuance of The Prevention of Insults To National Honour Act 1951, singing of National Anthem in cinema halls at the end of the movie remained in vogue for sometime around sixties, but was discontinued being unenforceable with cinegoers crowding at the exit gate ignoring their national responsibility.
Former senior cop Bijral noting Apex Court Bench indicated it was open to modifying its 2016 order replacing the word “shall” with ‘may” making playing of the National Anthem optional, said this would create violent ‘Anthem vigilantism’ in cinema halls and cause reprehensible situations like ‘cow vigilantism’ created in country hitting low its global image.
Referring to country’s ‘soft state’ image with enforcement leaving lot to be achieved, Bijral who himself stands up at home even in honour when National Anthem is played on TV, pleaded that petitions calling for recall of Apex Court 2016 order be favourably disposed off considering past experience and its unenforceable. Instead he urged that the authorities who matter should devote themselves to issues like mass political and public corruption, rising prices, unemployment, pollution and filth all around that fail to generate their expected love for the most honourable National Flag and National Anthem. Let those in governance respect their moral responsibility, people, Bijral said, would never lag behind in patriotism.