When the national anthem becomes a pleasant surprise!


I am very fond of teaching and I recently got an opportunity to teach Mobile Computing to a bunch of Masters of Computer Science (MCS) course students at the Ferguson College here in Pune. Its quite an experience to manage the weekend teaching sessions with my day job of a software engineer, but that’s matter for different blog.

I would like to share an experience I had during the class last weekend. I had decided to start the class early that day, around 7:30 am. Now that was a first for me too because to be honest I am not used to getting up that early! I was a little preoccupied with what I was going to teach and was trying to set up the laptop and projector for the presentation slides, when suddenly all the students got up. I was initially puzzled, but thought that they might not able to see the screen clearly or wanted to move to the front benches.

But they did not move an inch! I was all the more bemused now. I asked a student as to what the matter was. Seeing my obvious predicament he replied that the national anthem was playing on the college public address system and that they were standing still as a matter of respect for it.

I was taken aback! When I tuned my ears too I could listen to the anthem being played. I now joined them. After it got over everybody sat down and we were ready to start with the business. But before I could do that, I asked myself one question, when was the last time I sung the national anthem?

In the fast paced and digital life we experience nowadays such incidences are a pleasant surprise. Reciting the national anthem used to be a everyday ritual during school days. Then I used to go to the Independence Day celebrations on 15th August at my college for some years after I passed out of there – where I might have sung the anthem for the last time. I used to like it. But eventually life got ‘busier’ with other engagements and I stopped going. Independence Day was reduced to purchasing miniature tricolor flags available on the streets the day before and hoisting them at home, at then forgetting about them in the joy of a getting a holiday from office/work. This attitude needs serious rethinking now.

Ironically the students who stood up in the first place were of the same age group as the people we blame for being selfish and tarnishing our tradition and harmony. We say that they have no respect for elders or society in general and only indulge in the revelries of modern life by taking advantage of the easy money available to them. While this is a matter of opinion and debate, this incident was a reminder that there are exceptions and we should not stereotype someone based on personal prejudices.

Well, I don’t think I am ever going to forget that day!


11 thoughts on “When the national anthem becomes a pleasant surprise!

  1. It’s not the younger generation which is tarnishing our culture but it’s few mean politicians who come to politics only to make money.

    Last week I’d been to a movie, a multiplex. It’s a custom that in certain theater’s in Bengaluru to play National Anthem before the movie starts. It is appreciable that everyone in the audience were standing while the National Anthem was being played and the point here is that everybody is from every phase of life – children, adults, senior citizens.

  2. Hey, thanks for the comment.

    I agree with you. Many times it is the wealthy youth, including children of rich influential people who prove to be the bane of the society. Though there are exceptions, but this trend is certainly on a rise in the last few years.

    It was a nice initiative to start playing the national anthem at theaters. Obviously how many theaters adhere to this rule is a matter of contention, but its nice to see at least some people taking pride in singing the national anthem along with the tune being played.

  3. You can’t expect anything from the influential people.

    Even if all the theater’s start playing National Anthem and in case if people won’t respect, it will prove to be disrespect to the whole nation.

  4. Playing national anthem in theatres has become compulsory in India.. and it is really a good thought out thing by the government.. As Nikhil said, we don’t get any chance to listen or sing the national anthem in this busy life after our school.. But yes what we can do is listen and sing along our national anthem in theatres.. it is not about only listening the song but its about feeling Indian.. which is really needed… as Nikhil got bit thoughtful after the incident.. it can be effective on many of us.

  5. Hi mate…first of all…teaching to MCS students…that’s something dude…good on ya mate…how about organizing some online sessions for the less fortunate people down under eh ? I am flirting with the idea of teaching…who knows..may be I will take it up…although..no offense…they need people with PHD’s here…I try to convince them that I am one already…a Pretty Huge Deuchebag !! LOL.

    About the National Anthem. What a wonderful anecdote mate. You talked about people standing up to show respect as they must…I have two questions..one…how many of them do it…out of respect or with a “matter of fact” attitude? Two: how many people treat it as a “commercial” and show up after it? It sucks why people don’t respect our roots. I can’t be the one to talk about it either…as I am in a foreign land planning to apply for citizenship. I am no hypocrite.

    While it is weird to say it is NOT a compulsion, its not..we have freedom of expression don’t we? It is definitely implicitly implied. Having said that they should not feel obligated to do it…but WANT to do it, without any initiation. What say ?

    I think no other ad made in India and there are quite a few good ones…compares to this one..have a look


  6. Pingback: What about them roots? « Virtual Panopticon

  7. @Ranjeet:

    Thanks for your comments mate. And the youtube video you shared.. was very very inspiring!

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that you should be “wanting” to stand up and show respect to the National Anthem. Then it doesn’t remain an obligation any more.

    Now, how many people truly show respect to their roots and how many do it because they see someone do it (treat it as a commercial as you put it) is a different story. Strangely, you can easily make out if someone is bluffing or if someone is serious.

    Well, to round of, I personally don’t think being in a foreign land undermines your respect for your motherland or the country / state of origin. I mean, you start to feel a sense of belonging to a place if you live there for a substantial amount of time, and that ‘pull’ always remains wherever you go. Even becoming a citizen of some other country does not mean you will not want to salute the Indian Tricolor, or not feel proud on the 15 August, or won’t feel good when some Indian does well in sports for example. This is true not just about India but any nation on the planet – anyone would be naturally proud of their country’s heritage.

    By the way, the ‘teaching’ thing – when it started – was a real surprise for me (I am planning a separate blog on that topic). I never thought I’d go down that line, but now it feels great. And I think that if you do enter this field someday you will become a very popular teacher.. believe you me!

  8. @Nikhil/Ranjeet

    Of you two who was standing and paying respect to Nation Anthem while watching the Youtube video?

    PS: Don’t fire back the same question to me. And, no personal grudge.

  9. Well, to be frank, when I opened the video for the first time on my laptop I had the speakers OFF, and it took me a while to turn them ON again – have a problem with them. So I saw most of the video without sound. But I could feel the goosebumps when the old cobbler stood up to the national anthem being played on the radio (obviously without sound I only assumed it was the national anthem that was being played).

    So, no, I did not stand up. But I stopped all that the I was doing and paid full attention to it. I really felt very proud of it after that.

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