Should We Stand Up for the National Anthem?
Gambhir: I want to know the truth about why there was a debate about standing for the National Anthem. My personal belief is that this country has given you so much and there should not be any debate about standing for fifty-two seconds, whether it is played in the cinema halls, schools or wherever. I want to know the truth about that.
Sadhguru: Namaskaram Gautam! Is it not ridiculous that you should even ask this in our country today, unfortunately?
We must understand, a nation is not some God-given thing. It is an idea that all of us have agreed to. A nation is instilled in the form of its constitution, and the symbolism of the nation comes to us in the form of a flag and of an anthem. So the question is, if we want to operate, live, prosper and excel as a nation, is it important to have pride and allegiance to the nation?
I am not someone who is talking about nationalism. I am for humanism. I am for universality of human existence. But right now, the largest segment of population that you can address is a nation. India as a nation is 1.3 billion people. It is a world by itself. If we do not build a strong sense of nationhood, we cannot prosper, we cannot contribute to the world’s wellbeing, and we cannot be of any significance.
The anthem is one aspect of this. “Should I stand up or not?” Well, if you have no legs, we will pardon you. But even if you have no legs, you must show some sense of respect for the anthem and flag because these are the symbols of nationhood. It is through this that a nation is integrated. If you cannot sing your anthem with pride, where is the question of nationhood?
“Why should I particularly stand up in a cinema hall? I have come there for entertainment!” Let me ask such people a question. When did you last participate in the Republic Day Parade? When did you last go and attend a flag hoisting on Independence Day? When did you go and sing a national anthem somewhere? Maybe only in school when you were forced to do it. Since then, you are benefitting from the nation, but you do not want to contribute to it and protect it.
The Indian Army and the other wings of the forces – these million-and-odd people are standing at our borders, constantly risking their lives, every day. Every day you hear of casualties. Please tell them that we do not care a damn for this nation so that they can also go home and live their lives. Why are they standing there to protect this nation at the cost of their life, if you do not care anything about the nation?
It is important that a sense of nationhood is built strongly into the minds and hearts of every youth and every citizen in this country. This is one thing that, unfortunately, we have failed to do post-independence. This should have been done immediately after Independence, because a nation exists only in our minds and hearts. Post-independence, when there was an enormous emotion and spirit about the nation, this should have been done. Unfortunately, the process was not done effectively. A whole lot of people have identified themselves with their religions, caste, creed, sex, clubs and whatever else, and above all, their own sense of crude individuality.
So should we stand up for the nation? One hundred percent! Is anthem a part of standing up for the nation? Yes! Fifty-two seconds. Is there a debate about this? I think their only problem is, their hands are full of popcorn and coke – they are afraid it will spill. That is why they do not want to stand up.
Let this argument stop! If we are concerned about the 400 million people who are not even properly nourished in this country, it is important that we bind this nation with a strong emotion of nationhood. Without this, there will be no nation, because nation is an agreement that we have all come to. When we say we are of this nation, we have agreed that there are certain things that we will value, respect and stand up for.
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