Patriotism is no cakewalk

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  • Published 10.04.07

April 10: Patriotism is chasing two national icons — Sachin Tendulkar, for cutting a Tricolour cake, and N.R. Narayana Murthy, for not singing the national anthem.

Murthy has said sorry after a furore broke out over his remark that the national anthem was not sung during the President’s visit to the Infosys campus on Sunday to avoid embarrassing foreign employees.

“If the media statement has hurt anybody’s sentiments, I deeply apologise,” the Infosys chief mentor said.

By then, the Karnataka government had decided to call for a report from the police and take appropriate action; home minister M.P. Prakash had told the Assembly it was an “unpardonable crime” if Murthy had said so; and some other MLA had demanded his arrest.

The apology came in the evening. “We played the instrumental version of the national anthem so that we could all sing along, and all of us did so. We wished to share the pride of being an Indian in the gracious presence of our President. We are informed that this is as per the protocol,” Murthy said, adding Infosys was a “proud Indian company”.

It is Sachin’s turn now to prove he is a proud Indian.

Caught on camera bringing the knife to a cake in the colours of the national flag in Jamaica, the cricketer has been put on trial by a group of people from Indore who make it their business to see no one is “unpatriotic”.

His posters have been burnt and legal action threatened unless he says sorry.

The Tiranga Abhiyan, a group that claims to have taken many celebrities to task, has, however, not sought an apology from the Indian high commissioner to Jamaica, K.L. Agarwal, who hosted the event where the cake was cut.

“Tendulkar will not do such a thing intentionally. He respects the national flag and had even sought permission to use the Tricolour on his helmet. If an explanation is sought, it should be sought from the Indian high commission,” said BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, defending the batsman.

“He says… with so many people around, he did not realise the colour of the cake when he was suddenly asked to cut it,” Shukla added.

The Union minister of state for home, Sriprakash Jaiswal, also had an opinion. “The person who made the cake should be held responsible for this,” he said.