There are always discussions around us in the media, on twitter and general social media outlets about the new rulings or expectations that everyone HAS to stand up for the Indian National Anthem. I’m not the one to argue that I hate standing up for the national anthem however the forcefulness of the decision is hard for me to digest.
But maybe this can set a precedence. We need to make it compulsory for people to stand up for everything that is required to make our country better. I actually came up with a list of such things :
- Stand up for your daughter whenever any relative questions her lifestyle or her marriage plans.
- Stand up for your son when someone questions why he wants to be a fashion designer or why does he cry.
- Stand up for your children when they decide to love in an unconventional way.
- Stand up for your daughter when people tell you that you shouldn’t let your daughter go out late.
- Stand up for other women every time their character is judged just because they go out at night or drink.
- Stand up for the women around you and their freedom to make choices without any society pressure.
- Stand up for every women around you regardless of whether they decide to be housewives or career driven. Celebrate the freedom and celebrate the choice.
- Stand up for women to explore and celebrate their sexuality.
- Stand up for those men who want to be house-husbands, might not have everything planned out in life and might earn less than their girlfriend/fiancé/wife.
- Stand up for the men who don’t conform to the ‘masculine’ identity of a guy.
- Stand up for those men who believe they don’t have to distribute naked pictures of their ex to be cool.
- Stand up for the men who want to explore their sexuality.
- Stand up for women who get belittled for being ambitious or driven.
- Stand up for the less privileged. Those who work in your house day and night out of compulsion so that they have food to eat.
- Stand up for the beggars who are ignored everyday.
- Stand up for the girls who don’t even get a chance to enter this world.
- Stand up against those politicians who abuse their power.
- Stand up against all those who make our country intolerant.
- Stand up against governments that stay silent. Stand up against party politics and lets start playing ‘country-first’ politics.
- Stand up for those fellow citizens who don’t get equal rights and can’t live or love freely.
Governments and Politicians
- Stand up for little children who die in a hospital just because a private vendor chose to not value human life. Stand up for Gorakhpur.
- Stand up for those who are living in silence, as second class citizens everyday just because you refuse to update the law and your mentality. Stand up and decriminalise sec 377.
- Stand up for many girls around the country who are silent and forgotten Nirbhayas, waiting for justice, waiting for a fairer world. Stand up for the victims.
- Stand up for those living in poverty who have to build fancy malls so that the elite can go and spend lakhs over there whilst blissfully ignoring the slums next to it. Stand up for the exploited labour.
- Stand up for those invisible kids who get pushed, shoved, scorned at every traffic light, market place and roadside while they beg due to circumstances out of their control. Stand up for the street kids.
- Stand up for those parents who who save every penny and starve themselves to send their kids to schools, only to realise the teachers don’t show up. Stand up and improve our education system.
- Stand up for those citizens caught between a crossfire of political strong-arming and show of military strength, all done for the piece of land and not for those who have lost their childhood, innocence and dreams in it. Stand up for Kashmiris and not just Kashmir.
- Stand up for those women who lie down on the bed every night, while a guy she had no intention or will to marry, forces himself on her to complete his daily ritual of pleasure and satisfaction. Stand up and criminalise marital rape.
- Stand up for those who are silenced into a corner overtime political figures and representatives normalise stalking, rape and abuse as typical male behaviour and question the woman for living like a human being. Stand up and hold your own politicians accountable.
- Stand up for the citizens who who deserve free speech, who deserve to question you, who have every right to live the way they want, love who they want without the fear of persecution. Stand up for democracy.
Obviously this ‘stand up’ list isn’t complete. There’s so much more we can stand up for. If we have successfully incorporated standing up for the national anthem into our systems, then this can’t be a hard one, right? Your democratic duty doesn’t finish as soon as a government is elected. Your democratic duty to educate yourself, to be aware and to hold accountable starts from the day you are 18 and get your voting rights and ends the day you die.
So the next time I’m in the theatre watching a movie and the national anthem comes on, just remember that I am standing because I have to. But till the time the parents, the women, the men, the citizens, the government and the politicians refuse to acknowledge the points above as the bigger issues threatening the existence of our country, I will never truly stand up for it from my heart. This independence day, lets remember that our land is free but our people are still not.