Blog: Har ghar tiranga made easier

The author analyses the controversy in recent days on the amendment made by the Union Government allowing the manufacture and import of machine-made polyester national flags

Jul 11, 2022 03:45:00 AM | Article | Carol Goyal

With the 75th year of Indian independence fast approaching, there has been much controversy in recent days on the amendment made by the Union Government allowing the manufacture and import of machine-made polyester national flags.
 
To enable this, the 2002 Flag Code of India has seen some revisions. The rules earlier permitted only flags made by 'hand-spun and woven wool or cotton or silk khadi bunting' while the import of machine-made flags was banned in 2019. A recent amendment to the flag code however now states that, 'The National Flag shall be made of hand spun and hand woven or machine made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk khadi bunting'.
 
One (un)official version on the change that has been made is because mammoth flags that are not lowered at sunset and are kept illuminated at night, especially those hoisted at heights need material that is tough and wind-resistant. The example proffered is that of one of the country's tallest tricolors, near the India-Pakistan border at Attari, which was apparently not hoisted for several months due to damage caused to the flag by high velocity winds. 
 
Another perhaps more plausible explanation is that in the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, millions of flags will be required for the har ghar tiranga (tricolour at every door) and that is not possible with the current manufacturing of only khadi flags. So far khadi flags have been made at North Karnataka’s Hubballi which has the sole BIS-approved Indian tricolor manufacturing unit. The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) at Bengeri in Hubballi has obviously not taken the dilution of the khadi monopoly on the flag very kindly. Machine made flags will allow vast quantities to be manufactured so that every house can hoist the tiranga on 15 August this year. 
 
It will be interesting to know what happens now that flags can be machine made: The Flag Code includes a rule that there should be exactly 150 threads per square centimeter, four threads per stitch, and one square foot should weigh exactly 205 gm or 7.2 oz. 
 
One also hopes that the polyester flags will strictly adhere to the 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 realise that to avoid any possible discrepancy, White’s textile colour is pinpointed to be cool Grey and Green is specified as India Green! 
 
The flag code, by the way, states that the tricolour can be of nine standard dimensions — 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 450 x 300 mm size can be used on VVIP flights, and those of size 225 x 150 mm on official cars. All table flags are allowed to be 150 x 100 mm in size. The tricolour should be rectangular in shape and the length-to-width ratio should always be 3:2.
 
Controversy vis-à-vis the tiranga is not knew. 
 
Sachin Tendulkar got into trouble in 2007 when he was seen in a video cutting a cake with the tricolour on it. In 2011, a case was filed against Amitabh Bachchan for wrapping himself up in the tricolour while celebrating India’s victory against Pakistan in the World Cup. Mandira Bedi wore a saree with a tricolour and got into a big time mess. So much so an FIR was 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 because he had held the tricolour upside down while celebrating India’s World Cup victory. The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 was invoked when a farmer, Balvinder Singh died near Ghazipur in UP while participating in the farmers’ agitation and his family wrapped his body in the tricolour. Union culture and tourism minister Prahlad Patel and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal got into a slugfest with the minister accusing Kejriwal of using the national flag as a 'decoration' during a televised address.
 
It is really a conundrum on whether nationalism has been diluted by letting the tricolour be made of materials other than hand woven khadi; because it is nationalism of another kind, the ‘har ghar tiranga’ that has dictated mass production of flags so that every house can have and display one on Independence Day. Frankly, as long as the pristine pride of the national flag is maintained, and the tricolor is held aloft with pride, controversies don’t really matter.
 
(The author is director, Everest Advertising.)