Thursday, February 24, 2011


I take it every morning, six days a week. Dropping whatever I was doing at the moment. Standing to attention. No talking or fidgeting allowed.

I may fudge my taxable income figures, or curse the government, buy goods from sellers avoiding customs duty, or apply for a Green Card at the first opportunity. But I must never fail to stand up whenever the national anthem plays. Because in our topsy-turvy, show-and-yell society, I must always flaunt my patriotism.

In our college, "Jana Gana Mana" plays every morning, Mon-Sat, before lectures start. We stop in our tracks and stand immobile, while the Nightingale of India melodiously - and rather lengthily - sings the well-known words.

Words written by a favourite poet sitting down at his favourite desk in his long gown, a faraway look in his eyes, white hair and long beard and serene smile creating an almost-divine image of creation. Words springing from a creative mind, overflowing in doodles and squiggles on the pages where he scribbled. The creative mind that penned, not one but two national anthems for two bordering nations - India and Bangladesh.

You see, posture has got nothing to do with patriotism at all.

It is the thrill you feel in your veins when the tempo in the song increases at "Jana gana MANGALADAYAK jai he" and the trumpets and drums unite in harmony to accelerate the blood in your veins. It is the little goosbumps on your skin and the prickle of sudden tears in your eyes at a nameless pride that swells up during the song.

Patriotism can be felt sitting down also.

If we can pray sitting down, why cannot we love our country sitting down?