National Anthem-Pashupati Aarati Conundrum – Are those in mourning expected to rise too?

Lawmakers, National Assembly members while discussing Tourism Minister’s decision to play the national anthem ahead of the evening aarati has sparked a new debate – the most important of them all, are those in mourning expected to rise to the national anthem too?

The question, coming as a criticism from Nepali Congress lawmaker Bhimsen Das Pradhan, ex-Defense Minister caused other members of the Federal Parliament to ponder. Driving the point home, he said that the national anthem is meant for national events and places – not meant to be played at a site of cultural/religious interest every day.

He also criticised the government’s decision to enforce the compulsory playing of the national anthem in cinema halls ahead of a movie, reminding everyone present the rule reminds of an oppresive era – the ‘Panchayat Kal.’

Nepal Communist Party, the ruling party of Nepal is being met with criticism from several sources for their decision to force ‘nationalism down public’s throat’. A move usually adopted by communist nations (North Korea, China), the administration bombards public spaces with national elements with an intention to subconsciously associating a ‘love for the nation’ with a ‘love for the ruling party’. For example, just like we are taught to love the flag unconditionally, our minds will work towards ‘loving the party, and its elements’ – a kind of an indoctrination.

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs has also released images of ‘approved T-Shirt designs’ to be adorned during our third Constitution Day and other national holidays. Try logging in on their website – http://www.moha.gov.np/, an ad-block featuring the T-shirts design brandishing a Nepali flag on the chest is shown – close that pop-up, and another one features, which asks you to ‘celebrate Constitution Day with great pomp and fervour, wave your flag proudly, let there be Deepawali (light) in every home’.

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