Anupam Kher, Sonu Nigam and Gautam Gambhir Image Credit: IANS/PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s (SC) direction to the Narendra Modi government to decide on the playing of the national anthem in public places, including cinema halls, has reignited the debate on the purpose served by it.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said several people have opposed the playing of the national anthem just to come across as liberal and intellectual.

“A few days back, I read some statement that said that while the national anthem is going on, there is no problem in remaining seated. It really hurt me,” he said.

Parrikar said that people were commenting on the issue only to remain in the limelight.

“Those who speak against the nation are considered to be wise, intellectual and elite. It has become [a] fashion to speak against the country. Today, we need to awaken nationalism in the country if we want to keep the country united,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) has ordered all its employees to sing the national anthem every morning and the national song Vande Mataram every evening. Jaipur’s Mayor Ashok Lahoty went to the extent of saying that anyone opposing this decision “should go to Pakistan.”

“There was no immediate reason or cause to take this initiative. At the institution where we work, we should begin our day with positive energy. In any government office, there cannot be a bigger positive sense or positive energy than the national anthem,” Lahoty told media.

He said that apart from patriotism and love for the country, the singing of the national anthem will also develop work culture, ensuring that everyone goes to work with positive energy.

“It will increase collectivity and discipline; another aim is to make people come to office on time,” he added.

Rajasthan state Congress vice president Archana Sharma has supported the Mayor’s decision.

“When the national anthem started playing in the JMC office, our party members were present. We have no issues with that. But the Mayor still said that those who oppose the move should go to Pakistan. This was uncalled for,” Sharma told Gulf News.

Celebrity view

New Delhi: Walking into the controversy over the national anthem, cricketer Gautam Gambhir has said since people can wait in a queue outside a restaurant for over 30 minutes, there is no reason why they cannot stand for 52 seconds for the anthem inside cinema halls.

“Standing and waiting outside a club: 20 minutes. Standing and waiting outside favourite restaurant: 30 mins. Standing for national anthem: 52 secs. Tough?” tweeted Gambhir.

Singer Sonu Nigam said while he honoured every country’s anthem, he also believed theatres and restaurants were not the place for it.

“There are some people who are saying the national anthem should be there in cinema halls, some say it should not be there. The national anthem is a prestigious and sensitive thing and I think it should not be played in certain places like movie theatres or restaurants,” he said.

Veteran actor Anupam Kher questioned that if people could wait at restaurants and stand in queues in front of theatres or party venues, why they couldn’t stand for 52 seconds for the national anthem in cinema halls.

“Some people are of the opinion that standing up for the national anthem should not be made mandatory, but for me, standing up for the national anthem shows the upbringing of that person. We stand up in respect in front of our father or teacher, similarly getting up for the national anthem shows respect towards our nation,” Kher said.

Actor Vidya Balan today voiced her opinion on the controversy over playing the national anthem in theatres, saying patriotism cannot be forced.

“I don’t think the national anthem should be played before the films. You are not in school where you start the day with the national anthem,” Balan said.