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The national anthem row in PVR Cinema: I don't support the action of the family but I do oppose the duality of the crowd's behavior!
It seems that the movie "Tamasha" has brought some real life tamasha in a PVR Cinema hall. It happened during a late night show of Tamasha.

In an inopportune development, an unfortunate video is doing rounds these days on social media where it is seen that a family – one man, three women and a child (possibly a Muslim Family) – who were made to leave a PVR cinema hall (probably in Juhu or Kurla in Mumbai) by people around them. The reason for their ouster was that "they had disrespected the national anthem" by "not standing up" while it was being played as a customary ritual before the beginning of the movie. The incident came to light when a moviegoer filmed the altercation and posted it on Twitter and Face book, leading to an online uproar.

I was stunned when a group member shared the video on WhatsApp. After that I observed the reactions of group members, which were mostly likes, super likes and thumbs-up in support of the crowd. In some other groups too, I noticed similar reactions. I read tweets and comments under many articles published on various platforms on this controversy, where I observed that there was a clear division between people in their responses. Some had cheered it, while some questioned the need for "playing the national anthem" before the beginning of a movie (a practice followed by cinemas in Maharashtra since 2003).

But as I watched the video, I got upset not by seeing the family which was defending its stand of "not standing while the anthem was playing" but by seeing "the duality of the behavior" of the crowd, who were shouting at the family. It is really regrettable that the family was forced to exit the cinema hall and their ouster was applauded by those seated inside the hall.

The reason why I got upset was seeing the sheer duality of people who were in the hall and bullying the family. Many may not agree with me but the fact is that if I ask how many of them attend flag hoisting on Independent Day / Republic Day in their area, I'm sure I will not get a 100 percent yes. Let alone attending flag hoisting, let me ask those people and those who say "its unpatriotic" or "anti-national" if you don't stand up while the national anthem is playing, how many of them haven't considered "Republic Day" or "Independent Day" as a holiday?

Considering these national days as holidays…isn't it unpatriotic? Most of us also don't even go to cast our votes during elections. What should we call that? I mean the list will be a really long one…where we have sheer double standards to measure the "patriotism" with different yardsticks.

Again, in the cinema hall itself by forcing the family to leave the cinema…what exactly did they prove? Hooliganism! It can clearly be heard from the kind of language, sorry "vulgar language" being used by the self proclaimed "patriots". One of them was heard saying "thappad maroonga" (I will slap you). And since when did hooliganism become "nationalistic or patriotic"? And what would have been the scene had the family refused to leave the cinema hall?

Nothing but violence? And who said that you can take the law in your hands and become jingoistic?

As per my knowledge, it is not mandatory to stand while the national anthem is being played. But it doesn't amount to "disrespect" (at least legally) if someone choses to sit while the national anthem is being played unless he/she prevents others from singing it or create disturbances in between. No where it is written that it is "unpatriotic" if you don't stand when the national anthem is being played.

I think we should stop judging "patriotism" in this way. The fact is that if the video is an accurate portrayal of what actually took place, then the family could also consider suing the cinema under the Consumer Protection Act for physical threats as well as for the disruption in the cinema experience. That speaks volumes about the law of the land. How many of you really say that the "crowd showed patriotism"? It's simply felonious behavior.

Point is "patriotism" can't be forced. It is definitely a mark of respect to "stand up and pay attention" to the national anthem but not necessarily a disrespect if you don't stand. I don't have anything to say to those who don't stand up for the national anthem. I would prefer to leave it to their call instead of taking law of the land in hand and spoiling the sanctity of the atmosphere where the national anthem is being played. I feel that way I would pay highest respect to the national anthem. It unites people and never divides them.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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