This is what is great about Bombay. The fact that two single girls can go for a movie show at 11:15 pm, then sit at Worli sea face and then saunter into Home. Had gone to watch “17 Again”. Zac Effron is serious eye candy material!
But that’s not the point.
Here is what happened. We all got up for the National Anthem to be played before the movie began. The guy next to me looked like the ones whose attitude and looks scream, “I’m livin the good life mate!”
The sorry piece of crap first of all complained that what was the need for the National Anthem to be played at the movies, was moving about when it was being played and was the first one to sit down even before it ended. I was livid.
I wanted wild rabid dogs to spit on him.
I wanted diarrhea-ridden crows to poo on him.
I wanted his face to be mauled in scum. (I settled for spilling his coke on the ground).
Seriously guys, what sort of a generation are we? A generation that doesn’t even respect its National Anthem? What sort of a Rolex possessing, Viao handling, Blackberry scrolling, Davidoff sprinkling, Armani caressing, confused bumbling identity crisis are we in, where our Country means nothing more than two letters to be keyed in while filling out some ‘Hajaar’ application forms. All that a dastardly incident like 26/11 can get out of us is a few minutes of apathetic sympathy and meaningless candle lighting a week later.
Supposedly there is a controversy surrounding our National Anthem wherein many Hindutva zealots’ claim that the Jana Gana Mana is actually a song composed by Rabindra Nath Tagore commemorating the visit of King George V and his Queen and not celebrating our Motherland. So what? It has been our National anthem for 59+ years and will continue to be so. Why?
Because it gives us an identity.
Because it is a common thread between the Bahadur who keeps a night vigil in your society and the Ambani sleeping tight on his quilt embracing bed.
Because it encompasses all: an ULFA terrorist, an Andhra naxal, a deobandhi fatalist, and a dogmatic SwayamSevak.
Because it speaks of a common brotherhood.
Because it speaks of a common History.
And most of all because it is OURs for the taking, keeping and safeguarding.
Whenever I hear or sing the National Anthem, it infuses in me a very poignant sense of belonging that cannot possibly be explained in words. This beautiful country where only paradoxes exist, where duplicity and treachery go hand in hand with Athithi Devo Bhava, where snow capped peaks exist in tandem with arid deserts, where the worlds brightest minds interact with the illiterate and the oppressed on a routine basis, a country whose length and breadth cannot be traveled or experienced in one lifetime…..
I suppose such feelings are more pronounced in me because there isn’t a single part of India that I can lay claim to and call my own. A Tamilian by birth, a Tanjore Brahmin by descent, born and brought up in Jamshedpur in erstwhile Bihar and now in current Jharkhand, habituated to the colloquial Bihari Hindi more than the Iyer Tamil, having studied for four years in Poona, having loved and lived with Vada Paavs, cut chai and new found liberation, working for two years in Bangalore and managing with scant two words- “Kannada Gothilla”, resorting to accented English while in Chennai, getting pushed and mauled in Bombay local trains, celebrating Maharstra Day and Karnataka Day, rejoicing in day offs from school due to “Jharkhand Bandhs”, getting up at the crack of dawn for celebrating Deepawali and staying up till midnight bursting crackers for Diwali, kneeling down in genuflection at Vaishno Devi to being rendered speechless by the beauty of the Jog falls, rafting in the river Teesta to blushing at the paintings in Ellora, India seems more real to me, more mine than any of her subparts.
I cannot call myself a Tamilian, niether a Bihar born confused Tamilian ……(BBCT, cool na?!) nor a Puneri……My claim to History, in History is by virtue of my being born in this country. The sole tangible identity that I am sure of, proud of is the fact that I am an Indian. A country, whose existence far exceeds the combined sum of all its multiplicities.
I guess all that I am trying to say though the sudden written frenzy that has consumed me is that we cannot afford to be indifferent towards our Country. Cannot. Nope. At least have the decency to respect your National Anthem!!
And oh, before I end….
FYI: Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He…..The song was first sung in a session of the Congress in 1911. This session had decided to felicitate George V since he had announced the abrogation of the partition of Bengal, thereby conceding the success of the Swadeshi agitation, the first modern anti-colonial movement that had started in 1905. The closest translation to the very first lines go as, “We sing praises of the Dispenser of Human Destiny…. Who appears in every age”. This song was then followed by another song composed by Shri Rambhuj Choudhary which was solely in praise of King Geogre V. There was no real connection between the composition of the Jana Gana Mana and George V, except that the song was sung at an event which also felicitated the king.
And moreover, why would Tagore, a Nobel prize recipient, a die hard nationalist, the founder of the Swadeshi Shantiniketan….. compose a song steeped in servitude?? Think.