It takes a mature society to accept that there’s no need for public displays of nationalism and patriotism.
The Supreme Court’s judges have strongly voiced their opinions on the compulsory playing of the national anthem in cinemas before film screenings but have left it to the government to decide what will happen next. This is a bit of a legal conundrum as it was a Supreme Court order that mandated anthem playing. The differences among the judges — including the Chief Justice, who was a judge on the bench that passed the earlier order — was made clear in the unequivocal position by one judge: that it’s unnecessary to insist people “wear patriotism on their sleeve” each time they go to the cinema, in search of entertainment. But so too are sporting arenas where anthems are played — part of the jingoism ever present in sport.
It takes a mature society to accept that there’s no need for public displays of nationalism and patriotism. To equate playing the anthem with moral policing may be a bit stretched, even if the prevailing winds seem to favour a constant reaffirmation of nationalism in these tests of allegiance. But now that the anthem is compulsory, the government may find it difficult to withdraw it as this could be misconstrued as needless executive action denying people an opportunity to make a statement of their patriotism. It would make sense if the judges withdrew an order they had passed. Or is it that the wise men are on a cleft stick, and it’s now tricky to find a way out of this Catch-22 situation. It will be interesting to see the final call on all the flag-waving.