Do we know how to treat our Indian National Flag?
Our Independence Day, the 15th of August just went by. Very soon the 26th of January will arrive and we will find ourselves hanging paper/plastic flags in our localities, motivating children to practice a song for the event in our society or office, colour-coordinating our outfits for the event, senior members of the organizing committee will write an exceedingly inspirational speech and try all their might to not make it boring for the kiddos. We are the generation who believes that all patriots don’t come in an army uniform. Implementing righteous behaviour at work or on the street is all that we, civilians, need to do to keep our country on the path of truth and development. We believe, as citizens of India that not only are we entitled to civilian rights but also that we have duties to deliver whenever the situation demands.
Then why is it that, when immersed in the festive fervor of the Independence Day celebration, we forget to even recall the flag code? A simple duty of respecting and defending even a small paper flag is neglected. I am pretty sure that most of the kids don’t even know what the flag code is. They freely pluck flags from the strings and malign them as if it were a party tassel.
Every year, the day next to 15th August and 26th January, witnesses numerous national flags on the street, getting torn, soiled and stepped onto all across the country. After the celebration is over, the maligned flags (plastic or paper) are merely the cleaner’s business. Since when did our national flag stop being every Indian citizen’s business?
Some of us might find protecting our flag as baseless as standing up to the national anthem in a movie theatre. Patriotism, as a feeling, cannot be proven by singing the national anthem or by picking up our national flag lying on the street. Okay, so let us eliminate the flag situation here. No patriotic sentiments attached. Let us look at this way that instead of the tricolor, there’s a piece of plastic or paper strewn on the road. Would we still pick it up and throw it in the designated dustbin? After all, keeping our Bharat Swachh is very much our duty and one of the unconventional ways to show patriotism and above all, our duty as a world citizen to keep our surroundings clean. A situation like this is precisely the business of a Kachra-walla to clean everything we fail to throw in the dustbin. (Believe me, most of us don’t even notice that the cleaning staff is to be called as “Safai-walla”, and we being the ones to loiter should be called a “kachra-walla”. Duh!! Logic!! ). We have to realize that picking up a flag (or even a piece of plastic) is every bit our business too and it comes above our status, qualification, income and ego. And it becomes a really big business for us to handle if we are the one throwing it in the street in the first place.
The flag code surely has many points but I would quote a few of them that are relevant to this issue:
- Display of a damaged, disheveled flag is an offence. The national flag should not be dipped on any occasion.
- The national flag of India should not be used as a festoon or a decoration, or allowed to touch the ground. It is not to be used as an advertisement, garment or wrap of any sort.
- It cannot be torn, damaged, burnt, or disrespected in any manner. The disposal of a flag should be done as a whole, in private, preferably by burning.
- It is also an offence to draw or deface the flag with any inscription or graffiti.
As much as I am a self-proclaimed crusader of the imaginary squad for the protection of our national flag, I want to share that the things I said I actually do. I spotted paper flags on the ground all over the vicinity of a garden where Independence Day celebration had taken place. It rains in the month of August so it was pretty much obvious to spot the dropped flag get drenched, torn and soiled. I invited a few kids who we out playing and we collected all the flags in a plastic bag. While all this was happening, three members from the organizing committee noticed and congratulated us for the effort we made. I made sure, on my part, to educate the kids about why I disturbed their evening playing hour and set out collecting torn flags from the street. Well, now is the right time to mention that I very much live in that society and I wasn’t invited to the event in the morning. Nevertheless I did my part as a patriot by the evening.
The Instagram post created by my friend is attached below as a testimony.
Let me know how you feel about this issue.