Mumbai. To instill “committed patriotism and nationalism”, the Supreme Court on 1st December ordered that “all the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem” as a part of their “sacred obligation”.
While this did not come as a big blow to all the people who had been doing this willingly, there were some who saw a tectonic shift in their lives. In order to ensure that people follow the diktat, the commissioner of police decided to deploy one constable per cinema hall. In lieu of this order, Head Constable Tukaram Patil got deployed in a multiplex theater in the heart of the city. He was overjoyed. According to him, standing guard in a AC theater was far more comfortable and respectable than standing at a “bandobast” for ignorant and illiterate politicians. He also added that the getting to watch free movies was an extra perk that he loved.
Things however took a turn for the worst when the first show started playing. As it is common with some over liberal people of the society, they refused to stand up for the national anthem. They argued that they were not able to fathom the relevance of it as they were in the theater to watch a mindless Bollywood flick. There was, however, another section of pseudo nationals who insisted on people standing and this started a ruckus. Tukaram, being out of practice, was barely able to stand and lost it completely when the crowd started creating a fuss.
Pertaining to his duty, he picked up his Lathi and started charging upon people to stand up for the anthem. But he was taken aback when someone from the crowd picked him up for moving around during the national anthem in uniform. Tukaram was red faced and could do nothing but stand still. He was in catch 22 situation where he could not decide whether to check upon people to respect the anthem or first do it himself. Such was the shock to him that he did not even realize that most of the people had left the hall in about an hour. Incidentally, the film being screened was “Befikre”.
As customary, Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the movie goers and the makers were hand in gloves in this matter and had knowingly created this situation. Rahul Gandhi followed in and said that he has proof that the PMO was involved in defaming Tukaram. Even the regional flag bearers on bad governance came forward to defend Tukaram and alleged that the supreme court was being partial as Tukaram belonged to the indigenous population of the state.MNS even threatened to install spikes in theater seats to ensure people are not able to sit not just for the national anthem but the whole movie. They were however, silenced after somebody gave them a fact check that the ruling was pan India. The PMO however, chose to maintain its status quo off late and went Manmohan.. on the issue.
The incident has caused a grave discomfort to Tukaram both physically and emotionally. He has expressed his concern to our correspondent and has also decided to take this matter up on the most unbiased platform of all – the social media.