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    The duty to respect the National Flag & The Anthem Vs. using them as a Symbol of Protest

    This article is written by Shivaansh Singh on the Debate point of View; i.e. The duty to respect the National Flag & The Anthem Vs. using them as a Symbol of Protest. Read this special post by Legal Thirst on the 74th Independence Day of India.


    I don’t think there should be a question of debating in to give respect to our national flag and national anthem. How do we represent ourselves, How do we get to recognize any country, How do we recognize any nation, Obviously, by the national flag. The national flag represents us as well as our country in the world. It gives us and our country recognized in the world. So, respecting the national flag is our duty.

    Now coming to the question of respecting our national anthem. People should take pride in our national anthem. Indian constitution has adopted its Hindi version on 24 January 1950 but actually, it was written in Bengali in a poem of Rabindra Nath Tagore which consists of 5 stanzas and we have adopted only the first stanza of it. The Supreme court of India has made it mandatory to stand as a symbol of respect while playing of National anthem.

    When we stand while National anthem is played or sung shows how much respect we carry for our National flag and National anthem. Soldiers are dying on the borders just to protect the national flag, so we should at least stand in respect of it. Using it for an individual purpose in a protest might not right. If there is an interest of the whole nation means to say for whole residents living in the country then using the National flag is correct as it will represent the country. A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a country. The national flag is flown by the government of a country, but can usually also be flown by citizens of the country.

    A national flag is designed with specific meanings for its colors and symbols. The colours of the national flag may be worn by the people of a nation to show their patriotism or related paraphernalia that shows the symbols or colors of the flag may be used for those purposes. The designs of a national flag may be altered after the occurrence of important historical events. A national flag is not a piece of cloth. It is the most solemn and constitutionally or traditionally authorized symbol of a country. It represents the whole country, the entire nation, its deals, hopes, aspirations, and pride. People throughout the history of mankind have laid down life for their national flag, as it is the strongest patriotic symbol.

    Ways In Which It is Adopted

    The national flag is often but not always mentioned in a country’s constitution but its detailed description may be delegated to a flag law passed by the legislature. Thus, the national flag mentioned briefly in the basic law for the federal republic of Germany of 1949. The federal flag is black- red gold. The flag of us is not defined in the constitution but rather in a separate flag resolution passed in 1777. Every free nation of the world has its flag. It is a symbol of a free country. The national flag of India was adopted in its present form during the meeting of constituent assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India got independence. It served as the national flag of the dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter.

     The design of the national flag for independent India was submitted by Mrs. Surayya Badr-ud-Din Tyabi was finally approved and accepted by the flag committee on 17 July 1947. She was an artist of repute and her husband B.H.F Tyabji was then the deputy secretary in the secretariat of the constituent assembly.

    “Teja tera rang to the main to.. teeja tere dhang se main to”

    It implicates about the third colour in the flag’s green shade, which sums up as “I was your third colour… the one as styled by you.”

    Such spectacles generally come wrapped in the visual vocabulary of majoritarian politics, wherein the voices and concerns of the largest community dominate. Loyalty to the flag is never sui generis; its citizens must be inculcated to display and demonstrate patriotism in this specific way.

    The vivid shades of the Indian tricolour have a secret subaltern history, a genealogy that has been largely forgotten. As India celebrates its independence from Britain, it’s a story worth remembering.

    A flag is a piece of cloth attached to a flagpole, representing a clan, community, army, office of authority, industrial house or an individual. In modern times a flag is commonly rectangular varying is size, colour and the design on it. On the contrary, a National-flag is more than a piece of cloth. It is the most solemn and constitutionally or traditionally authorized symbol of a country. It represents the whole country, the entire nation, its ideals, hopes, aspirations and pride. People throughout the history of mankind have laid down life for their National-flag, as it is the strongest patriotic symbol.

    Need of National Flag

    We see fights between people in some home, area, caste, religion, region, state, south India, north India, the only thing that can write us is “India, India” yes the nationalism is what for we are always united; and when we have to represent a country we represent it by a flag, every color, and Ashoka chakra has some value for it. Respect your country’s flag and other country’s flag too.

    The national flag is dearer, holier, and more valuable them all other earthly possessions to every independent nation. It is our sacred duty to respect our national flag who should remain to die for its defense; if necessary we have got independence, fighting the war against the British from 1600, and got independence in 1947. Our brothers, our fathers, and mothers everyone has lost their lives for an independent nation; and the national flag symbolizes it. It is very thankful if u hear a question like why should we repeat the national flag. The flag for which our father, brother, and mother lost their lives for that flag; for which soldiers are everyday sacrifices their lives just to protect the dignity of the national flag. We should respect and value it. It represents our country. It represents the dignity of our country.

    A national flag is a symbol of independence to any nation. All the independent countries possess a separate national flag. We are an independent nation too, the name of our country is India and we are Indian through a nation. We owned a national flag which is very sacred to us Our national flag is the symbol of unity for the people of different religions residing here.

    Need to Adopt National Anthem

    The tradition, history, and beliefs of a nation and its people are represented by the national anthem; like the other national symbols of the country represents. The national anthem reminds the citizens of the country the glory, beauty, and rich heritage of the country. The national anthem plays an important role in awakening the feeling of patriotism among the denizens of the country. In sports culture when players get a medal or any award. They feel proud at that moment when the national anthem is played.  The concept of the national anthem was first popularized in 19th century Europe. After getting independence from European colonial powers, many of the newly independent nations also composed their national anthem.

    The Wilhelmus, the national anthem of the Netherlands is the world’s oldest national anthem; that was written along the time of the Dutch revolt between 1568 and 1572.

    Japan is known for being the oldest national anthem lyrics. The name of the national anthem of Japan is Kimigayo. It was composed in 1880.

    Earth Anthem

    The global anthems which we also called Earth anthems; various artists had created this with large scale globalization in recent years with the aim of unity. The people of the world; and promoting love and tolerance for each other and respect for the country they live in. It is not widely popularized yet needs to be accepted by the public. Although the idea has been much praised by UNESCO. The main idea is of spreading the feeling of being cosmopolitan.

    The national song of our country, Jana- Gana- Mana composed originally in Bengali by Ravindranath Tagore; and which was later adopted in its Hindi version by the constituent assembly as the national anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian national congress. The complete songs consist of five stanzas. The complete songs consist of the full version of the national anthem. Like other national symbols- the American flag, the liberty bell; the statue of liberty-the the national anthem conveys meaning about the nation’s history, myths, and ideals.

    Why we should not use National Flag & National Anthem in the Protest

    On this question, I would like to draw attention to the recent issue that had been arising in the capital of our country New Delhi. People were using national symbols in the protest and they were protesting against CAA. The video of protestors singing the national anthem at Jama Masjid as a part of the anti- citizenship amendment act. Asim Ali, a research scholar at Delhi University said that; the use of national symbols in a protest is a conscious strategy of Muslims.

    Recently, masked intruders wielding iron rods and sticks attacked; and seriously injured student and faculty members at one of India’s most prestigious universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. These intruders have been linked to the student wing of the BJP; the right-wing Hindu nationalist party that is in power and is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Critics say this is the latest in the Modi government’s attempts to crush the protests; that have roiled Indian cities in recent weeks.

    Hundreds of thousands of Indians have poured into the streets; to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Registry of Citizens. To quell the protests, authorities have deployed heavily armed security forces; who have been beating up unarmed individuals, firing tear gas, blasting water cannons and shooting at people. They have barricaded roads, imposed curfews, and dissuade protesters. What’s more, the government has repeatedly shut down the internet, more frequently than any other country in the past year.

    Protesting Means You are Un-Indian ??

    Nevertheless, protest continues and protestors are waving Indian flags, singing the national anthem; and carrying placards quoting from the Indian constitution. The protestors in Indian cities come from many communities. Because the BJP’s policies are so anti- Muslim, Muslims are prominently involved. National symbols are potent tools in these ‘Muslim protesters’ fight against the BJP’s demonization of them as “UN-INDIAN”. While Hindu nationalists have told Muslims to “return home” Muslims on Indian streets are carrying the flag and singing the national anthem.

    To be very clear of this issue they use national flags but when forbidden by the authorities; they just forgot the dignity of flags by throwing it on the roads; that Flag for which the soldiers on the border are sacrificing their lives just to save the dignity of it, so is this justified to use it; and if you are using it you should take care about it. When it is said that Hindus in India are asking them to return is not true;but speaking about the truth the students of the universities in India said some anti-nationalistic statements and using the national flag in that protest. So is it justified to protest against the nation and using the national flag in the same protest?

    It is wrong as it depicts the disrespect of the National Flag. So is it justified?

    The protestors have also used national symbols to resist the regime’s attempt to characterize their protests as anti- India. Some of the most powerful images of the protest have been Muslim women wearing headscarves; and burqas while holding aloft pictures of B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, and draped in the Indian tricolor, kneeling gin prayer; often within a protective circle of protestors from other faiths. By doing this, protestors are making a political statement that people can hold multiple; nested identities that are complementary and even mutually reinforcing.

    Using the national flag and national anthem is justifiable only and only; if it promotes the interest of the nation not promotes the interest of a particular community or individual. And I believe too that it is the right of every citizen of the country to protest; but violent protesting, harming the nation’s property; giving harm to the nation is not justifiable by any vision.

    Doing violent protest and using national symbol; and singing the national anthem is against the dignity of the national anthem, national flag or any other national flag; using the national flag and national anthem or any other national symbol in violent protest; that harms the nation or any property of that nation does not make it justifiable through any angle. If they talk about protest, then it should be peaceful; and should maintain the dignity of the nation or any other national symbol.

    Anti- Nationalism Or Anti-Government ??

    As I had explained more above about nationalism; and the way nationalism should be done (not losing the dignity of anything). By that I mean with a national community – is a sentiment independent of political affiliation; something that can be felt by citizens anywhere on the political right has claimed the language; and symbols of nationalism in many countries. In the United States on stages festooned with stars and stripes; President Trump has declared himself; as a “nationalist” and called upon his supporters to do the same. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has missed no opportunity to marshal the union jack in his mission to “take back” Britain from the European Union.

    If we talk about India, the BJP government regularly invokes the interests and honour of the nation in campaign rhetoric and policy pronouncements. Modi frequently opens his speeches by leading the gathered crowds in a salutation to India.

    Albert Einstein famously condemned nationalism as the “measles of mankind” an infantile disease that humanity would outgrow. The dogged persistence of nationalism has been described as; “the starkest political shame of the twentieth century.” Many, if not most, liberals want this is unrealistic. Despite globalization, many people remain powerfully attached to their national identities. But as I had mentioned above, not all nationalism is bad. This means protest without violence is kind of expressing the rights of the people against the government; or against the policy which people or the majority of people think is not fulfilling their interest. So peacefully doing a protest is an accurate use of their right to protest. The political scientist Benedict Anderson famously conceptualized nationalism as an imagined community; that rests on love and camaraderie and generates a spirit of unity and fraternity.

    A Protest Against Government os not Anti- National

    Today and in the past, nationalism has been associated with xenophobia, racism, chauvinism, and conflict. Yet my thinking is that it can be a unifying constructive force. I have shown if done in a righteous way how strongly national identities can promote social welfare. Political scientists Maya Tudor and Dan Slater have found that; an inclusive national identity can lay the groundwork for establishing democracies. The problem is not nationalism but the problem is how people define it; and depicts by their acts, by doing violent protests and by harming the nation. In particular, who does and can belong to the nation, and who does and cannot?

    This is why the citizenship amendment bill and a national registry of citizens are so explosive. They are only the latest in a string of recently enacted BJP policies; that restrict national belonging, including revoking the autonomous status of Indian- administered Kashmir; a disputed Muslim majority region, accompanied by an ongoing Military siege, that is just again because of the way the people will start protesting.

    If we talk about Kashmir it is under the ongoing military siege just because the people will start pelting stones on the authorities; and burning the public vehicles, burning flags; they are just unaware of the fact that is doing the harm of the both, the government and themselves. So, to avoid the violence this step has to be taken; if anyone wants to show the denial of what the government has done; there are a number of possible ways, but they choose only protest; it’s okay do protest but do it peacefully that neither it cause harm to you nor the government; and maintaining the dignity of the flag just avoid disrespecting the national flag and national symbols; that not just represent you but also represents the nation in which you are living.

    And most of the time people in protesting against government raise the question on the national anthem; and other kinds of stuff so the simple answer to them; that this national anthem like other national symbols represents you as well as your nation; and by disrespecting it; you are not only disrespecting the national anthem but showing the world; how much respect you got for the symbols and anthems that not only represents you as well as your nation

    Disrespecting the Government Policies is not as same as Disrespecting the National Symbols

    Invoking these symbols in a protest in a wrongful manner the protestors are depicting that; there is a dire necessity of arresting whosoever is found disrespecting the National flag, National anthem, or any other national symbol. By intrinsic emotion, people are moved by genuine fraternal affection for the country;and its citizens and therefore respect the national symbols spontaneously. This feeling is best demonstrated during sports events. National symbols are useful in transcending and redefining individual identity, by giving people a sense of higher purpose.

    This is not about the government or its machinery, but the social cohesion of the people. The state and its machinery deliver important services to the people in the state, including fundamental rights and security. Therefore respecting the symbols of the state is a part of the social contract between the state and its people, whereby the people recognize and thank the state. National symbols are designed carefully to depict the core values and heritage of the nation; and respect for the symbols is a form of understanding and internalizing those values. Respect for national symbols is a learned behavior, promoted by the state often due to their agenda. The national symbol is to be merely acknowledged, and are not worthy of disrespect.

    Statutory Provisions for Protecting National Symbols Dignity

    Talking about the constitutionality of this topic so in India the “Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act 1971″ makes it a crime to disrespect the national flag and anthem. Nationalism as a type of religion; and consequently national symbols are compared to sacred objects (particularly in  India). Sacred objects should be respected irrespective of the religion.

    National Honor Act 1971

    If you are an Indian citizen then you are bound by law to obey every word of the constitution of India. Many confuse respect for the national anthem and flag with patriotism. This is untrue. The basic difference between both of them is that while one is a duty, the other is a feeling. Even if you don’t feel an ounce of patriotism, you still have to respect the national anthem and flag and maintain the dignity of every single national symbol that represents your nation.

    The fundamental duties are not legally enforceable and it is the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act 1971; that makes it illegal to show disrespect towards national symbols. Suppose if one does not believe in God but still one has to respect the religion of others; as it is his moral duty in the same way if you are not patriot still you have to respect the national symbols of your own country.

    It is perfectly ok to not feel anything when listening to a national anthem. Like all emotions, patriotism comes from within. Whether we are rational or not; we are reaping the benefits of people who are moved by patriotism. Think of that group of people (soldiers on the border) when they climb an impossible mountain and statistically speaking one of them might die in mission.

    What is the price you would charge for being a part of this?

    The salary he gets might motivate a bit for this sentry who is looking for a terrorist, crossing a frigid border. But, there has to be a much bigger purpose for him to put his life on the line. In all social creatures, there is a strong group bonding. For example, honeybees do their best to create and protect their hives. Their hive provides a whole reason for their existence. Honeybees entomb hives to protect against pesticides, sais by the scientist.

    A Nation is Like a National Sport- We find Meaning Beyond our Tiny Little Self

    The respect we give to the flag is a silent thanks to that person who is sitting there feeling a need to protect you; and we are here not even thinking to save its dignity and they are sacrificing their lives to protect the dignity. The sacrifice their lives just in the respect of the national flag and national anthem; motivates them to protect the national flag and maintain it’ s dignity. Think of it as a contract.

    You can stay safe at your home and sip your coffee because someone is patriotic and devoted to the nation in such a way that;he/she sacrifice his/her lives just to protect you and protect the nation and think of this that; to what extent he/she can go to save the symbols that protect their nation. And what are we doing here, just to oppose some policies of a government does protest in such a way that we disrespect the national symbols; someone, somewhere sacrifice one’s life just to prevent it falling it down and here we are just throwing it on the roads. Is this how are we respect our national symbols or give respect to those who are protecting us.

    We had to learn to respect our national flag, national anthem, and all the other national symbols that represent us and our nation and present a unique identity in the eyes of the world.


    The national flag, National anthem and all other national symbols that represent the nation are the prestige of our nation. It indicates the values and principles of the country. Each and everyone should respect the national symbol. A national symbol is a symbol of any entity considering and manifesting itself to the world as a national community. National symbols intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, and history. These symbols are often railed around as part of celebrations of patriotism; or aspiring nationalism and are designed to be inclusive; and representative of all the people of the national community. As I had mentioned above everyone has the right to protest and use the national symbols in the protest; but using them in a wrong way is altogether the different thing.

    Our Nation Our Pride

    Protestors usually use the national flag for their interests and disrespect the national flag by throwing the national flag on the roads; as we had seen many a time after the protest hundreds of the national flag are found lying on the ground; which is the most disrespectful thing towards the nation. Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture. Thus, symbols carry meanings that depend upon one’s cultural background. People need to learn that a national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a country; and not respecting the national flag is like not respecting the country. Every country has got a specific flag as its national symbol.

    The first flag was flown in the 18th century to tell others that we own a nation and this flag represents our nation or country. The national anthem and national flag give the country a sense of originality and individuality. They altogether signify a rich history, culture, and traditions, should be preserved and cherished; and should remain hearty to all the individuals of the nation or a country. Everyone should learn that respecting the national anthem; the national flag is the moral and fundamental duty of every citizen living in a particular nation or country.

    Let’s all try to save and safeguard our nation as well as the integrity of our national symbols.

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