Historian MGS Narayanan on National anthem row: India not a nation, but federation of nationalities


“People who come to cinemas for entertainment don’t need to be force-fed nationalism. This move to impose nationalism won’t succeed. In fact, it will fail,” said MGS Narayanan.

Historian M G S Narayanan has termed as “stupidity” the Supreme Court ruling making the National Anthem mandatory before movie screenings. Calling it a good example of judicial overreach, the former chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) said there was no need to justify or criticise the same as the order will fail on its own if people don’t make it fail.

“People who come to cinemas for entertainment don’t need to be force-fed nationalism. This move to impose nationalism won’t succeed. In fact, it will fail,” he said in an interview published in Mathrubhumi Weekly.

Narayanan, who is one of India’s top authorities on ancient history, said India does not have a nationalism as it is more a civilisation. “We can call it a federation of nationalities, but not a nation. I have never felt it is a nation,” he said. “The national anthem comes into relevance only when there is a feeling of nationalism. But this feeling cannot be created by force, it should come naturally,” he said, adding that the efforts to force these feelings will in the end have a negative impact.

Narayanan, who was appointed head of ICHR during NDA rule, said these moves reminded him of a “dictatorial minority”, which was against the concept of democracy. “Article 51(A) in our Constitution is clear that the respect of our country and its symbols is not something that should be achieved judicial force,” he said, adding that the 1986 Supreme Court ruling in the case pertaining to students from the Jehova’s Witness community underlines that our culture teaches us tolerance and our spiritual leaning espouses tolerance.


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  • India was a nation from very ancient period.In Vedas,Itihasas,Puranas everywhere we could see valid evidences. The nation is the ultimate form of security measures in the relevant social aspects.The country was not a federation of nations as Dr.M G S say.All the emperors, kings and rulers identified the reality of oneness and wished to unify that.Digvijaya,Aswamedha,Chakravarti status etc are the explanation. Later in puranas India ( the concept of Bharatvarsha arises) was explained those land between Himalaya north and south in Kanyakumari.The 24 Janpathas of ancient India also and the setting up of theerthas and sacred places irrespective of different lands of Bhratavarsha are the examples of the oneness and cultural unuty.He is right in modern concept it was not having a centralized administration. ButChandragupta,Asoka,Samudra gupta and later Shersh and Akbar tried to explore the nationality of the country.His opinion about S C order in chanting of national anthem are correct. The order is misleading of nationality and its expression.

  • Buffoons like Mr.Narayanan don’t strive for national unity even at grassroots level and pass on random views based on their own prejudice. Even president of USA, Donald Trump is taking a nationalistic stand today in order to make America stronger again. A country of 50 states having vast differences in people’s attitude, beliefs and perception of the Country in spite of commonality of spoken language. Historically USA had had a violent past between Northern and Southern confederation of states. Great Visionaries like Abraham Lincoln made it possible for that country to Unite. When they can unite for the country’s well being then what’s the problem with India which was always having a common thread of values, beliefs and customs in spite of different languages and religions.

    It’s very essential today in India to make efforts to educate people especially the new generation about the nation’s true history, great leaders who have sacrificed their life for nation’s sake, the western civilization’s failure in creating a balanced society in spite of advancement in Science and Technology. We are undergoing a very crucial period of time when this great country of ours is bombarded with outdated Marxism theories, import of Western Ideologies, Media & Press very much aligned with Western way of thoughts about life, relationships and society.

    If our country can watch movies like Murder, Jism, ragini MMS, Delhi Belly, PK and make it a commercial success then its even more important to make movies or short films on Chatrapathi Sivaji, Chandragupta Maurya, Maha Rana Prathap, Adi Shankaracharya, Sant Tulsidas and other great saints be showcased in theatres and TV’s. This will atleast spark curiosity and interest among some percentage of younger generation to learn more about our country.

    Jai Hind
    Jai Hind