Cinema Halls directed to play national anthem ahead of movie, viewers must stand

  • August 23, 2019

Come September 20, 2019 onward, all cinema halls in Nepal have been directed to play the national anthem ahead of a movie. The day coincides with the fourth anniversary of the promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution, and is a part of  a wider move by Oli administration to make Nepali citizens ‘love their national anthem and their national flag’.

‘Once the national anthem is played, there is no question about an individual not standing up’, an official with the communications ministry has been heard saying. Citing the Procedure for use of National Flag and National Anthem 2069, a Nepali national upon hearing the national anthem is expected to ‘stand upright in an attention position, heads held high, chest out, and sing the lyrics with pride and enthusiasm’. Failure to do so is an offence.

Before incorporating cinema halls, the procedure dictated the national anthem be played at ‘any national festival/program, various official programs, army/police gatherings, national sports programs, school assemblies, before beginning and after ending TV/radio broadcasts (beginning of day and end of day).

Interestingly, this is not the first time such a decision has been imposed upon ‘movie-goers’. A similar rule was strictly enforced during the Panchayat era. The move was lifted after arriving upon democracy.

According to the administration, this year’s Constitution Day is going to lay special emphasis on our ‘national flag’ too. The government has requested all ‘national servants’ to gather at Tundikhel on the day – with a national flag in their hand. Similarly, a march past will be organised in Singha Durbar, where public service holders will be required to participate in – again, flag in hand.

The government has also asked the public to be involved in the celebrations – requesting schools to speak about the valour of our ‘freedom fighters’, and urging communities to organise ‘concerts/functions’ at local junctions with the ‘nationalism’ as its central theme, etc.