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Thursday, April 2, 2015

the pleasure of singing National anthem ... some chose not to !!

At Melbourne, India thrashed Bangladesh by 109 runs to march into Semi finals.  Dhoni won his 100th ODI in the QF.  It was unique at Melbourne as before the match, National anthem of participating teams was played – and one man was behind was both of them.  ‘Jana Gana Mana’ the National anthem of India was  written by  Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung in Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27th  December 1911.  Amar Shonar Bangla,  is a 1905 song written and composed by the Rabindranath Tagore, the first ten lines of which were adopted in 1972 as the national anthem of Bangladesh. The song was written in 1905 during the period of partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon.   

Republic Day Parade 2015 was covered globally due to the high profile guest Mr Barack Obama, the US President.  Soon after the parade, photographs of President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar saluting the Tricolour, and Mr. Ansari standing in attention were circulated on Twitter.  Many were questioning as to why Mr Ansari was simply standing and not saluting the flag.

Breaking his silence on criticism against him in the social media for not saluting the Tricolour during the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, Vice-President Hamid Ansari later stated that as per protocol only those in uniform salute the national flag while the National Anthem is being played. Those in plainclothes are just supposed to stand in attention, he added. Till a few decades ago,  in all Cinema theatres, National anthem used to be played at the end of every show - there would be mad scramble to get out of the halls as some  people will not stand and respect the National Anthem; thus, in someways, it is a relief that it is not played now. 

The  Cricket World Cup 2015 also saw English Captain embroiled in controversy of not singing the anthem.  England captain Eoin Morgan was criticised for not singing national anthem;  the Dublin-born skipper said he would not  sing the Irish anthem either  !   Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan  an Irish Cricketer is now captaining England after living in the country for more than 4 years.   The left hander from Middlesex has scored ODI hundreds for both the Nations and is noted for his ‘reverse sweeps’.

In a strange explanation, his former mentor defended stating that Morgan does not sing as he is very shy.  The Dublin-born batsman, who switched from the Irish to the English side in 2009 and was made captain late last year, has stayed quiet as ‘God Save The Queen’  boomed out at the Cricket World Cup.  While some suggested his silence is because he is from Ireland, those close to the skipper say he is simply too shy to sing on camera. Asked why he has not been belting out the anthem before the Test matches in Australia and New Zealand this month, Morgan said it was 'a long story' and 'a personal thing'. Adding that he would not sing the Irish anthem either, he said at a press conference: 'It's pretty simple. I have never sung the national anthem when playing for Ireland or England. It does not make me any less proud to be an English cricketer.

Morgan's former deputy headmaster Kevin Jennings, who gave the cricketer a scholarship when he was 11 years old, told the Daily Telegraph that his decision not to sing was not political.  He said: 'He’s a very shy fellow. I would imagine he’d be quite self-conscious singing in that context. I would say it’s as simple as that. He certainly wasn’t in the school choir.

Only recently, 6-year-old Harry Westlake,  became an online 'legend' for belting out God Save the Queen at London's Twickenham stadium ahead of the Six Nations clash between England and Italy.  England rugby mascot Harry Westlake was described as a 'legend' by full-back Mike Brown for belting out the anthem.   Six-year-old Harry could be seen singing with all of his heart before the match at Twickenham and his performance went viral on Twitter. Before the football World Cup in Brazil last summer, England Roy Hodgson demanded that his players sing the national anthem with pride.

Morgan's silence has divided opinion on Twitter, with some saying that the England captain should sing the national anthem. The England cricket team represents England and Wales and rules state that only British and Irish players can be picked. These British and Irishmen must be born in England or Wales, however they can qualify by residency, as Morgan did by living in Middlesex for four years. However during those years he was still allowed to play for Ireland, as they do not play full Test cricket like England do.  Morgan was the third Irishman to switch allegiance, after Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin.  Until 1992, the England team also represented Scotland.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Mar 2015.

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