'At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new...' said Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India.Recently my aunt, who lives in Trinidad, came to visit me and she saw an Indian flag in my house. It was one of those flags that we find at the streets. I had purchased it at one of the signals, but I don’t own a car and therefore all I could do was to keep it on my dresser. She was delighted to see the flag on my dresser and asked me to buy for her too because she said that she is a proud Indian and loves to flaunt her nationality in her adopted place. She asked me to buy ten flags for her. Why would she want ten flags, I had asked her and she had said that she would like to distribute it to her friends because she was very proud to be an Indian.
I could not buy for her immediately because these flags are only available on January 26th and on August 15th when Indians are super patriotic.
Actually, ordinary Indians can only fly the flag on Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15), and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) even though it was ordinary Indians who won India's independence.
Worse, our politicians and bureaucrats (who during the freedom struggle remained loyal to the British and now they remain disloyal to their own people) have the right to fly the flag when and where they pleased.
It is mainly because Indian flag entails huge responsibility upon its citizens, known as the Flag Code, such as, it must be maintained well; it must not be torn; when the flag is hoisted, all must stand at attention; likewise when it is pulled down, and so on.
But how many people know that? The next day of those two important days, we do see these on the streets flying with the rest of the garbage, little value for a piece of tri-colored flag.
A little Samajdhari on national flag:
The Indian national flag was originally designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1921. With a few necessary changes, the flag was adopted during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947, just a couple of weeks before India won her independence. The flag served as the national flag of the Dominion of India from August 15, 1947 to January 26, 1950 and as the national flag for the Republic of India thereafter. Based on the flag of the Indian National Congress, the flag is a horizontal tricolour with saffron on top, white in the middle and green at the bottom. A navy blue wheel known as the Ashok Chakra lies at the centre. The wheel with 24 spokes has been taken from the Lion Capital of Ashoka on the Ashoka Pillar.Nevertheless, I am sure it will have its greatest respect at my aunt’s house in Trinidad. It will be stored in a better place and distriuted with pride.
The Indian national flag, when presented to Mahatma Gandhi, had two colours; red for the Hindus and green for the Muslims. The traditional spinning wheel suggesting self-reliance took up the centre. Gandhi modified the flag by adding a white stripe in the centre for other religious communities. The red was later changed to saffron to avoid narrow-minded associations. The tricolour comes to mean what the country represents with orange standing for courage and sacrifice, white for peace and truth and green for faith and chivalry.
I hope to pick up a dozen or two for my aunt on this August 15th