Man the barricades! India and Pakistan launch national anthem war


India and Pakistan have fought many proxy wars over the years: trying to beat each other at cricket, racing to build nuclear weapons, performing bizarre dances at border posts (see above).

But they’ve now started perhaps the silliest: trying to get the most people to sing a national anthem.

Back in January, India became the world record holder when 15,243 people in Aurangabad, a town near Mumbai, sung Jana Gana Mana (‘You are the ruler of the minds of all people’). For some reason, Guinness gave them the record despite most US sports stadiums beating that each week.

In October, Pakistan realised this was an easy opportunity to give India a kicking, and so 42,000 people sung their anthem, Qaumi Tarana, at a festival in Punjab. They didn’t sing in time or in tune, as this clip proves, but apparently that’s no barrier to becoming a record beaker.

But now India’s got it back. Earlier this month, some 50,000 gathered in Kanpur to belt out their anthem and “uphold India’s pride”. Guinness is due to confirm the victory soon. No one seemed to film that event – fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint – so I can’t comment on the quality of their effort.

Whatever’s going to happen next is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pakistani government is right now giving all 176 million of its people singing lessons and preparing an event in Kashmir. Can another country get in on the act quickly, please?

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