The national anthem..!

EVEN as the Supreme Court insists we play the National Anthem before watching a movie, I have one request, please learn how to sing it, otherwise stand at attention and just listen to it. We are not a nation of good singers and very often we make this joyful song into a sorrowful one.
We take away from it all the patriotic passion that normally accompanies a national anthem. There should actually be a proud lifting of chin, a steeliness in the eye and a vibrancy in the voice. Instead our pitch slouches, our tune changes and our voice rambles, settling down finally in the last line of Jaya Hai out of sheer relief!
Most of us are basically a tuneless people and that spoils that which is meant to inspire. Have you ever played antakshari? The game in which one group ends with a certain syllable and the next group starts another song starting with the same sound?
The most horrible sounds come collectively from rival groups as each participant tries to shout out filmi numbers which Lata Mangeshkar or her sister or Abhijeet sing so sweetly in studio.
Each member in a group pitches differently, each sings to his or her timing and the end result is sound rising in meaningless noise, till neighbours call the police! But that’s only a game and when our revered national anthem is also torn to bits in antakshari fashion, it isn’t funny.
I remember ever so well, the National Anthem being played before the finals of the last World Cup. I saw the expression on the faces of our cricketers. There was pride in their posture and a determination to win for their country. Can you imagine what would have happened if the team had been asked to sing?
I doubt we’d have reached the semis..! And yet we insist on singing! I remember also singing our National Anthem in Austria some years ago and I know the training that went into it. Our music director, a Parsi and a perfectionist made us rehearse dozens of times before we sang on stage.
Has any school or college taken the trouble to teach children how to sing the anthem? Have you as parents actually practiced it at home with yourchildren? Or do we expect them to sing naturally just because we’re born Indian?
So here’s my appeal to the learned judges, “Make it a crime if it is sung wrong. Just like the national flag cannot be desecrated, so also our National Anthem should not be torn to bits!”
Let us learn to sing our beautiful National Anthem, written by Tagore in tune, or just stand at attention and sing it in our minds when it is played..!

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