Vikram is a good friend who delights in irreverence and for whom I have a great fondness, in part, because of this irreverence, his love of laughter and his quest for the funny side of things.
However, some things are never funny. Mobs, for instance. Especially 'patriotic' mobs who don't have a single original idea in their head. Even their chest-thumping love for the motherland is derivative, at best, and dangerous, at worst.
Vikram writes -
I was already feeling very angry at people who refuse to question their beliefs (of religion, society, childhood conditioning, education, politics, etc.). And instead, choose to push me around to confirm to their beliefs.
So when the national anthem started, it was the LAST straw. I decided I WILL NOT be dictated by politics. And I WILL NOT stand up for the national anthem. I BELIEVE that one can show respect sitting, and so I WILL do what I BELIEVE.
As it turned out, he was abused, assaulted and evicted from a cinema theatre in Mumbai, for choosing to feel patriotic in his own way. This is tantamount to abusing, assualting and evicting a thinking, questioning mind, a creative patriot.
I usually stand up for anthem without any fuss, partly because it is too much trouble to fight the norm. Also because I don't want to face mobs. But yes, I'd like the option not to. I'd like the legal, constitutional, public option not to.
Because, like the poet said, ishq par zor nahin....
Love (and respect) is about wanting to. Love (and respect) - even if it is for a piece of geography and barbed wire, even if it is an incomprehensible mix of things you love and loathe - cannot be forced. You will, when you will, how you will, if you will.