A Glass Act

A lot of heat is being raised by people – politicians and wannabe’s, in particular – against the decision of Infosys ( read NRN ) in playing an instrumental version of the National Anthem so that it would give a choice to those in the assembly to either sing it or choose to remain respectfully silent. In particular, the remarks of Mr. Vatal Nagaraj –

Terming Murthy a ”traitor”, he sought the State Government to take immediate action against him and deport him.

smack of a personal vendetta.

In a statement released afterwards, Mr Murthy said that he decided that only an instrumental version of the national anthem should be played so that everyone could choose whether or not to sing along.

All I want to ask is this – how many of us really know the anthem by heart? In particular, It would be enlightening to know how many politicians know it by heart.

Given that many of us – I know I do – fumble at singing the anthem, it was a correct decision to give a choice to all those in the assembly(including their foreign trainees) to either sing it or choose to remain simply remain standing.

What’s the big deal, then? Politicians of all hues and colours, such as Minister for Home M.P. Prakash, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj, K. Jayaprakash Hegde (independent) and J.C. Madhuswamy of Janata Dal seemed to have taken a personal affront at this issue. Its surprising that even a newspaper of the calibre of the Deccan Herald has taken a similar stand; the difference being that no reporter/writer has been credited with the article.

To all our politicians, let me ask you this:

If a referandum were to be done on the question of who would be more unpopular – politicians for giving democracy in India a bad name or NRN for supposedly insulting the national anthem, what do you think people will say?

I say – people who live (or, are supposed to work) in glass houses (the assembly, for that matter) should not throw stones! You never know when both will rain back on you!

14 Comments so far

  1. Nisho (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

    Very well said, Ravi. It is futile that they’re making a huge issue out of this. I think the politicians should spend their time more on keeping criminals out of the Lok Sabha rather than picking on NRN.

    And moreover, if they have so much pride in the national anthem or in the nation, they must first stop fattening their pockets with the taxpayers money… Bloody hypocrites!!!

  2. Chitra (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

    Very well written Ravi! Especially the choice of words for the title! Totally agree with your post too. It is time they start watching where their foot is, as Aesop says, there is no foot to remove from a closed mouth!

  3. NParry (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

    NRN is the true “Bharata Bhagya Vidhata” and not these spineless politicians. I can’t believe that Vatal is still breathing! He’s the evergreen hero of goonda raj in our city. If anyone deserves to be booted it’s him and the others who have joined him.

  4. Raghu (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

    I think politicians realize that there is a disgruntlement amongst the left-outs of economic boom. If that digital divide is not that huge, they are trying to create that impression. Obviously for votes. Not long back NRN’s effigies were burnt by so called Kannada activists. The issue then was his statement on OBC Quota.
    Here it’s going to be race for Shiv Sena brand of politics very very soon.

  5. Rajesh (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

    yes, yes yes..you got the pulse of it!

    How about blaming all those MP’s/MLS’s declaring false assets – 75% of them have exhibited serious integrity breach to nation giving false information confirming their ‘hidden’ interest! they are ‘traitors’!! shouldn’t we ‘deport’ them!!

  6. Lokesh (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

    I liked the last question you asked Ravi. I suppose one aspect that we need to understand here is that of the role of media. They seem to be present everywhere & everytime and they want answers to their ever growing questions. It requires a fair bit of knowledge, skill & what not to handle their questions & as we have here it is obviously not easy to deal with their questions. The politicians & others should realise that it is not fair to judge a person by one statement alone.

  7. Rao (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 12:39 am

    Fair or not fair, Mr. Murthy for once revealed his true colours, when confronted with an honest question. I’m dumbfounded that this very same man, who apparently, was once humiliated in a foreign country, an incident which eventually led him to start a world renowned “Indian IT Company”, today says that the National Anthem was not sung to not to “embarass foreigners”. And for God’s sake what is embarassing in singing the National Anthem, in our own country? So what if there are foreigners who cannot understand it nor can sing? No one asked them to sing the National Anthem.

    People with money and power think that they are above the law.
    Mr.Murthy as always, seems to do anything to please customers…er foreigners for the sake of $$$$$$’s. Anything.
    One good outcome i can see is now there will be second thoughts on Mr.Murthy being appointed as the next President of India, an idea that is in the news for sometime now.

  8. Ravi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    Thanks, all, for your reading and comments:

    @Nisho: Hypocrites is right but as politicians are representative of us, the people, there is need for a LOT of change!

    @Chitra: Thanks! Yup, foot-disease is all too prevalent with folks in Indian polity!

    @Nparry: It would be lovely if somebody did a brand audit on Mr. VAtal Nagaraj.

    @Raghu: Agree with you. But people can see through all this poppycock that politicians raise. Other the gallery folk, no one really believes them

    @Rajesh: I agree. Lets start a movement to demand deportation of people at the helm who do not deliver.

    @Lokesh: You could not have raised a more relevant point – that of the media. Its sad to see loss of objectivity within them.

    @Rao: Sir, I see your point. If you feel that Mr. Murthy make a mistake, lets not forget that we are all human and therefore fallible.

  9. suma (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

    Fame and money are great things; but there is a flipside to it. once you become a public figure you need to watch out what you are talking in public. just because our politicians are corrupt and unpatriotic or vatal nagaraj is more vitriolic than is probably necessary does not absolve Narayan Murthy of what he has said. The issue here is not that an instrumental version of the national anthem was played. The issue here is that he thinks singing the national anthem might embarrass the foreigners. If foreigners are so embarrassed by our national anthem, they would do well to lock the doors of their homes and sit in their own countries. It was a sad pointer to the feelings of inferiority that persists in Indians be they even great businessmen. That need to please foreigners shows an attitude of submissiveness. And those of you here who are so proud of fumbling while singing the national anthem – get a life.

  10. RajeshR (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

    While I agree with your broadside on the politicians, I wouldn’t go as far to support NRN on this.

    The problem was not as much that the instrumental version of the anthem was played; but NRN’s reasoning that it was so owing to the potential “embarrassment” of the foreigners was flawed. That was uncalled for – and he deserved to be censured considering his standing in the society and the number of people that look up to him. He subsequently apologized, so fair play to him.

    Having said that, the reaction to his actions (and the subsequent brouhaha) was also well over the top and equally uncalled for. But we see this happening time and again, fuelled primarily by the publicity-hungry media (and politicians). This is, I guess, the price some people have to pay for their fame.

  11. silkboard (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

    RajeshR’s comment above sums it up the best. That “embarrassment” bit seemed flawed, and NRN did apologize. Fair and square.

    But being a public figure, your actions have the potential of bringing several minutes of footage and fame to media and other ‘public’ figures. And that is what seems to be happening right now.

    On a separate note, I sometimes feel that Bangalore politicians see NRN as a sort of threat. Why, I wonder. NRN seems least bit interested in using his ‘standing’ to get into serious public service. (Presidency is *not* it. Neither are his on and off comments on policy matters like SEZ and taxes.) But the politicos seem to think otherwise.

  12. Vasanth (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 9:48 am


    Nowadays, too many medias competing with each other ask provoking questions. My mistake if you answer without thinking, you are on the headlines next day. All because of increased media and the lack of social responsibility these media people posses. What they want is publicity for their media and nothing else. Same thing has happened here also. Ofcourse, whatever the reason might have been, Mr.NRN shouldn’t have said that to media. But, it is unnecassarily blown out.

    But, all political leaders are behaving as if they were freedom fighters. Actual offense is in “eating” out public and Government money which all these politicians do collectively and keep silent since they have “mutual understanding” although they belong to different parties. All leaders are jealous about Mr.NRN and were waiting for an opportunity.

  13. raju k v (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    Is this an ordinary mistake/slip of the tongue?
    No way. This man who accumulated wealth by acquiring poor farmers land, and giving all the jobs to outsiders, does not command any kind of respect in his home state. Infosys,IT & NRN r the most hated entities in Karnataka. Most of the ppl r not happy either with NRN or so called IT revln. Life of ordinary Kannadiga has become hell, bcoz of IT. So, that is the reason precisely why NRN is attacked at the drop of hat.
    IT cos always blackmailed(or they thought so), the govt over going to other states. The question Kannadigas r asking is –“why r u not going? Pls leave Kntaka at the earliest. We will be the most happiest ppl on earth”
    Kannadigas r not at all benefitted by this IT.
    So, u all IT folks understand why there is such a hungama.

  14. NK (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

    Mr Raju K V, god knows who but somebody has to explain the value of ‘development’. Forget the Murthy debate, guy made a mistake (your Gowdas make one such everyday), but Blaming IT for ‘blackmailing’, ‘life of kannadigas’ has become hell’. Go to NIMHANS and get your brain washed back to normal man. Infrastructure and development are for everyone, IT-BT does not have monopoly over it. Ask you father and uncles how they struggled to find job in ITI, BEML or KGF, despite being first class engineers and then check how easily your cousins found job in IT companies with second class grades.

    Shameful to see such ignorant comments from educated people. I am assuming that you are an educated guy (internet, english and all).

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