He forgot the tune..!

THERE’S a video clip doing the rounds through whatsapp, of the Prime Minister of India, walking off while the Indian National anthem is being played in Russia. The clip jokingly explains, that Modi’s been globe-trotting so much, he’s forgotten his own national anthem! I have no doubts about Modi’s love for India, though if this had happened to another, an arrest warrant would have been issued.
Today, the courts have declared, in the same country Modi belongs to, that it is a crime not to stand for the national anthem, and politicians have even started introducing Vande Mataram, another patriotic song to be sung in schools. “We need patriotic citizens!” they say.
Which brings me to a question: Should patriotism be enforced, or does it spring from within? It’s like a lover courting his beloved, telling her, “If you don’t love me, I’ll kill you!” “What?” she cries bewildered. “Stand up, when you address me! Show me respect when you speak to me!” he shouts.
“What’s that you have in your hand?” she cries terrified. “A knife to threaten you with! I’ll slit your throat if I hear a disrespectful tone!” “But I want to love you for the good qualities I might find in you! For kindness, compassion, your firmness, your discipline!” “Enough!” shouts her lover, “Love me or I’ll kill you!”
Same scene when we try to enforce patriotism. “Stand up!” say the politicians to the people, “Stand up while the anthem is being sung, or you’ll languish in jail, and…” “And what?” the people cry helplessly. “You will be branded as unpatriotic!”
I have seen many national anthems being sung, with fervor and passion. The passion isn’t from the tune, nor from the words, or from some policemen or Kim-Jong looking to see whether they are just mouthing it, not singing it. Nay, it rises from their hearts!
And what happens if there ain’t passion? What happens if they sit, or slouch or in the eyes of others, act disrespectful; nothing! If you don’t have it buddy, tough luck, you’re missing something our country offers!
Ten years ago, with a group of choristers I sang my national anthem on a stage in Austria, on our Independence Day! I cried! Tears of joy! An outpouring of love. An enveloping of sadness, I was so far from home: I looked at the others on stage with me, each sang with same feeling!
“Hey!” says her new lover, “Take your time, learn about me, and then love me with all your heart and soul!” “I will!” she whispers, “I can feel love flowing in my veins!” Patriotism is love, and love cannot be enforced.
I don’t know what the honourable Indian judges are going to do, when they see the video of Modi walking off while his anthem is played, but I’ll plead for him, “He’s not less patriotic, he just forgot the tune..!”
— Email: bobsbanter@gmail.com

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