With ‘son of the soil’ not meaning you were an Indian, but giving you certain privileges only if you belonged to that particular state, I realized most states are thinking they are nations by themselves. I imagined, the cultural chief of a state department smiling to glory and whistling a tune to himself. “You seem to be very happy with yourself,” I said, “and it’s a strange tune you are whistling!”

 “It’s the new State Anthem,” he said.

 “The what?” I shouted in astonishment. “You mean our state is going to have a separate State Anthem, just like the nation has a National Anthem.”

 “Yes,” said the cultural chief. “It’s a brilliant idea, don’t you think so? In fact, from what I have heard, all the states in the country are going to follow suit. Can you imagine, the Punjabi will have his own anthem in his language, the Tamilian will be proud to sing his in Tamil, the Bengali may use words by a new Tagore. It’s going to be glorious.”

 “And what about the National Anthem?” I asked.

 “Oh that,” said the cultural chief, “maybe we’ll still play it at the Olympics or the Asian Games, though even there it would be better if we played the State Anthem of the person who has won a medal.”

 “It could be very confusing to the other spectators,” I said.

 “Not really,” said the cultural chief, “considering we hardly win any medals.”

 “I don’t know whether I like this idea very much,” I said, sounding quite distressed. “I always liked to sing the National Anthem.”

 “Do not be a traitor to your state,” said the chief sternly. “you are first a son of the soil, and then a piece of the national turf!”

 “Okay, Okay,” I said, “but I still think there will be a lot of confusion in the country with everybody singing their own anthem.”

 “Maybe there will be more enthusiasm in the singing,” said the cultural chief, “have you ever heard the way our National Anthem is sung? As if people are ashamed to sing it. Most of them look as if they are waiting to finish the song and rush along to do something else.”

 “Yes,” I said sadly, “that’s true.”

 “Here,” said the cultural chief handing me a folder containing twenty-eight pages, “keep it with you……as the anthems from all over the country start coming in, you can stick it under their respective states…..but remember never ever mix up the tunes, or you could get lynched,…….we are a very patriotic people!”

I nodded then asked, “won’t there be confusion at the Red Fort if Kejriwal also demands an anthem?”

The cultural chief scratched his head, then looked at me, “No wonder we are clamping down on the press,” he said, “you guys ask the wrong questions..!”   

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