By Rakesh Dubey
Is there any intention to import ‘Tiranga’, our pride? Speculations are rife and a couple of news items in this regard have appeared in the media. If this news is true then it is a serious matter. As per reports the import is likely to be from China, and this makes it all the more serious. For any proud India the national Tricolour flag is not just a symbol. It is the identity of our country’s sovereignty and its existence. The government of the day needs to clarify this urgently.
Every Indian citizen needs to know that the ‘Tiranga’ was developed during the freedom struggle and was formally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947. During the freedom struggle, there was a spinning wheel in the middle of the Tricolor. Those days the spinning wheel and khadi used to be the two icons of our freedom struggle and the official Tricolour flags were always made of Khadi till recently.
The size and type of the flag, the spinning, stitching, everything is decided by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The Indian citizens should also know that Tricolor flags are prepared in North Karnataka, in Tulsigeri village of Bagalkot. Khadi is spun on hand-operated charkhas and the same is used by the Khadi & Village Industries Association (KKGSS) of Hubli to make the Tricolor. This flag production center supplies Tricolour flags in multiple sizes ranging from the largest 21 x 14 feet to the smallest x 4 inches.
Khadi & Village Industries Joint Association was established in November 1957 and the National Flag Manufacturing Unit was established in 2004. Since then the officially used flags are made on the basis of BIS standards. The ‘Tiranga’ reflects the spirit of independent India in many ways. The preparation of the Tricolour is largely done by women. These women are from different communities- Muslims, Jains, Christians, Dalits, Adivasis, Lingayats, Buddhists and Hindus.
It is also true that the social and economic condition of these people who make the Tricolor flag is pathetic. By working eight to ten hours a day, they earn below Rs 150 -less than three thousand rupee a month. No annual increment, no pension or any other benefit. As of now both Tricolor manufacturing and Khadi & village industries are struggling for survival.
As per reports Khadi Tricolur flags worth Rs 3-4 crore are made in the country every year. But this could soon perish for the Bureau of Standards has allowed non-Khadi flags to be hoisted in government offices. Now polyester flags can also be made and it is not necessary that they should be made only in the licensed flag making center. There have been reports that there are plans to import Tricolour flags from China as well.
During the last two centuries we have witnessed each country adopt its own flag as a symbol of their pride and existence. The ‘Tiranga’ is our most sacred symbol. Any move from the government to import Tricolour flags for mass distribution, will send a wrong message to Khadi flag makers within the country. Does the government want the people of India to forget Khadi or forget that the Tricolour was born out of the freedom movement? Any government in power has to treat the Tricolor sacred and eternal and should be considered so forever by every Indian.