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Nationalism before naashta: In this town, you must stand up for national anthem every morning

 

As the loudspeaker begins creaking at 7.45am, the people of Jammikunta, all 35,000 of them, get set to drop whatever they’re doing to stand still in a few minutes time. They get down from their bikes if they’re in the middle of the road, they put their spoons and coffee mugs down if they’re in the middle of breakfast, they pretty much shut down all other human activity, we presume, because minutes later, the test of their patriotism begins.

At 7.45am every single day for over a fortnight now, 16 loudspeakers across the little town in Karimnagar start blaring patriotic songs for 10 to 12 minutes, at which point the main item on the agenda begins: The national anthem. The initiative to ‘evoke nationalism’ was started by a policeman, Inspector P Prashanth Reddy, on August 15 this year.

“It has been 17 days now, I’m receiving overwhelming response for this programme. My phone keeps buzzing all day with congratulatory messages from across the state,” Prashanth tells TNM.

But why do people need to drop what they’re doing to feel patriotic early in the morning every single day? Is the national anthem the only way to feel love for India?

The inspector says that while there may be other ways of promoting a nationalistic spirit, this is the only method he could think of implementing.

But why do people need to drop what they’re doing to feel patriotic early in the morning every single day? Is the national anthem the only way to feel love for India?

The inspector says that while there may be other ways of promoting a nationalistic spirit, this is the only method he could think of implementing.

“I observed that a few national leaders embarrassed themselves on TV, who couldn’t sing the national song (Vande Maataram.) Nobody thinks about motherland anymore. People are busy with whatever they are doing. They don’t feel thankful to the motherland anymore. If this continues, nobody will know Jana Gana Mana. This prompted me to start this campaign,” Prashanth says.

So why coerce people to publicly declare their patriotism every single day? To this, the Inspector denies that his ‘programme’ is coerced or forced nationalism – despite the fact that the citizens are monitored on CCTV camera during the singing of the anthem.

“Many elderly people, even the disabled have been standing up in attention and singing the national anthem,” Prashanth insists.

“This is not forced nationalism. I’m just reminding them of their national duty and enabling them to become national duty wary citizens,” he assets.

Prashanth adds that the programme also has nostalgia value. “Many people have told me that it reminds them of the old school days, when they used to sing the national anthem during assemblies. They are asking for selfies and photographs. People from many states have also appreciated this campaign,” he says.

In the age of value addition, the Inspector claims his programme has an added advantage: “It will also act as a crime prevention tool,” he says.

He said that they don’t stop at the National anthem, but continue with playing patriotic songs after the National anthem to enthuse the citizens.

But not everyone is really happy with this campaign, according to Hindustan Times, a local leader on condition of anonymity called it is a case of overkill. “It may look inspiring to sing the anthem daily, but people might lose interest gradually and that would be more disrespectful to the national anthem,” HT quoted him saying.

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