As the 75th year of India’s independence is fast approaching, there has been much controversy in recent days over the Union Government’s amendment allowing the manufacture and import of national flags. machine made polyester.
To allow for this, the Indian Flag Code of 2002 underwent some revisions. Previously, the rules only allowed flags made from ‘hand-spun and woven wool or cotton or silk khadi’ while the import of machine-made flags was banned in 2019. The flag must be hand spun and hand woven or machine made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk khadi bunting”.
An (un)official version of the change that has been made is that gigantic flags that are not lowered at sunset and remain lit at night, especially those hoisted high up, require a strong, wind resistant material. The example offered is that of one of the tallest tricolors in the country, near the Indo-Pakistan border at Attari, which has apparently not been hoisted for several months due to damage to the flag from high winds. great speed.
Another, perhaps more plausible, explanation is that in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsavmillions of flags will be needed to harghar tiranga (tricolor at each gate) and this is not possible with the current manufacture of khadi flags alone. So far, khadi flags have been manufactured in Hubballi, North Karnataka, which has India’s only BIS-approved tricolor manufacturing unit. The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) in Bengeri in Hubballi obviously did not take the dilution of the khadi monopoly on the flag very kindly. The machine-made flags will allow large quantities to be made so that every house can hoist the tiranga on August 15 this year.
It will be interesting to know what happens now that flags can be made by machine: the flag code includes a rule that there must be exactly 150 threads per square centimeter, four threads per stitch and one square foot must weigh exactly 205 g or 7.2 oz. .
It is also hoped that the polyester flags will strictly adhere to saffron being CMYK 0-50-90-0, white being CMYK 0-0-0-0, green being CMYK 100-0-70-30 and navy blue being CMYK 100 -98-26-48. Few people realize that to avoid any possible discrepancy, the textile color of white is identified as cool gray and green is specified as indian green!
By the way, the flag code indicates that the tricolor can have nine standard sizes – 6300 x 4200, 3600 x 2400, 2700 x 1800, 1800 x 1200, 1350 x 900, 900 x 600, 450 x 300, 225 x 150 and 150 x 100 (all sizes in mm). Only flags of size 450 x 300 mm can be used on VVIP flights, and those of size 225 x 150 mm on official cars. All table flags can be 150 x 100 mm in size. The tricolor should be rectangular in shape and the length to width ratio should always be 3:2.
The controversy vis-à-vis the tiranga is not known.
Sachin Tendulkar got into trouble in 2007 when he was seen in a video cutting a cake with the tricolor on it. In 2011, a complaint was filed against Amitabh Bachchan for wrapping himself in the tricolor while celebrating India’s victory over Pakistan in the World Cup. Mandira Bedi wore a saree with a tricolor and got into a big mess. So much so that an FIR has been filed. Sania Mirza was seen sitting with her feet up on a table next to the national flag. Trouble resulted. Shahrukh Khan was on the mat for ‘insulting’ the Indian flag for holding the tricolor upside down while celebrating India’s World Cup victory. The Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act 1971 was invoked when a farmer, Balvinder Singh, died near Ghazipur in UP while taking part in the farmers’ unrest and his family wrapped his body in the tricolor flag. Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal got into a fight with the minister accusing Kejriwal of using the national flag as ‘decoration’ during the a televised speech.
It’s really anyone’s guess whether nationalism has been diluted by letting the tricolor be made of materials other than hand-woven khadi; because it is a nationalism of another kind, the ‘harghar tiranga‘ which dictated the mass production of flags so that every home could have and display one on Independence Day. Frankly, as long as the pristine pride of the national flag is maintained and the tricolor is waved with pride, controversies don’t really matter.
(The author is director, Everest Advertising.)