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Striking the patriotic chord with a difference

india Updated: Aug 14, 2010 00:30 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

The motto of Commonwealth Games Federation may be 'humanity, equality and destiny,' but come October 2010 the Scottish anthem is sure to create a wave of discomfort for English Athletes.

The matter in contention is the contingent's national anthem, to be played during the Delhi games, which makes a generous dig at England. Scotland does not have a permanent national anthem as it is part of United Kingdom, and so, have chosen the song to play each time one of their athletes is on the podium.

Despite controversial lyrics like "Stood against Prince Edward's army" and "We can still rise now and be the nation again," the song was chosen for the Games in by the resounding margin of 211 of 226 votes among Scottish athletes polled.

The song, Flower of Scotland invokes the historical event when Scots defeated England's Prince Edward in the battle of Bannockburn. The song goes onto call on the people to rise up again and fight for the ‘hills, which were previously dearly held.’

While centuries may have passed since the Scots sent ‘Prince Edwards army homeward’ as the lyrics of the song go, the anthem is held onto for pride, glory and well… the embarrassment it causes too.

There is nothing new in rivalry between the Scots and the English, but to get an example of it during the Commonwealth Games will be a first, although the anthem has been played during international rugby and soccer tournaments before.

While the English media has raised reservations against the central theme of the anthem, even some Scottish sports personalities have voiced their concern over what they call an ‘immature-mentality.’ Finlay Calder, former Scottish rugby player feels the lack of respect for English counterparts in any sporting event is appalling. In an interview to the Scotland Herald, Calder said: “This anti-English stuff has to stop. Before we can go forward we’ve got to grow up.”

Supporters of the anthem though fail to see the grimmer picture of having an anthem with political undertones play during an international sporting event. “The song strikes a chord with our players and fans. I don’t see any harm in playing it during the Games as well,” an official of Scottish Rugby Union told HT.

The Scottish Chef-de Mission Jon Doig though refused to comment when contacted on Friday.