Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Tricolour National Flag

On August 15, 1947: The tricolour National Flag was first flown above the Red Fort, Delhi, signifying the transfer of power from Britain to India.

The National Flag shall be a tri-colour panel made up of three rectangular panels or sub-panels of equal widths. The colour of the top panel shall be India saffron (Kesari) and that of the bottom panel shall be India green. The middle panel shall be white, bearing at its centre the design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes. The Ashoka Chakra shall preferably be screen printed or otherwise printed or stenciled or suitably embroidered and shall be completely visible on both sides of the Flag in the centre of the white panel.

The significance of the colours and the chakra in the National Flag was amply described by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in the Constituent Assembly, which unanimously adopted the National Flag. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan explained—“Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation of disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to soil, our relation to the plant life here on which all other life depends. The Ashoka Wheel in the center of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principles of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.”

A call to the Nation on the eve of our 60th Independence Day

Every year in the life of every Indian come these special days – the 15th of August and the 26th of January. Two more holidays…!. Or is it something more than that??
On one side we have the school children ― who are forced to wakeup much earlier than usual on these days and attend the flag hoisting, and on the other side we have people who probably have never seen any tricolour being hoisted since ages – because by the time they wake up these holidays all the flags are already hoisted. This is the same set of people who state that “Vande Maataram” should be our national anthem and not “Jana Gana Mana”, but haven’t sung either of them since ages.

Lost among these masses are a few awakened souls who atleast for a moment feel concerned and worried that “Everything is not fine with our motherland”. In these 60 years of Independence we have certainly not reached where we had set out for. On the contrary we are headed towards where we should not be going. Sad is the fact that most such concerns end up with either complaining about lack of ethical and moral values among we Indians comparing ourselves to the westerners or else blaming the Politicians of the country for being corrupt and malevolent and holding them responsible for the state of affairs in India and finally concluding “Nothing can be done”.

Bharat Uday Mission believes India can be set back on the right track. What is required is the good will and faith of the awakened masses led and guided by the sacrifices of the enlightened few. Most Indians dream of seeing India become the superpower of the 21st century, a golden sparrow of the world. Bharat Uday Mission is committed to give a divine hope to every such soul. We are dedicated to bringing India to the zenith of its glory – “Whatever it takes”.

This Independence day dedicated to all those concerns, worries and wishes of the common Indian man- Bharat Uday Mission comes up with a noble cause of avoiding the dishonor rendered to the Tiranga by we ignorant citizens. We call upon every citizen to stand up for the cause and try to avoid any such dishonor by him or in his presence.

Gone are the days when we as children used to sit down with crayons and a scissor and craft our own Tricolour and wave it with pride. Now-a-days it’s just the matter of a rupee – that’s all the flag made up of polythene costs. All we need is to pay a penny and wave it or even post it on our vehicles. We wave it until we get bored, or it remains hoisted on the vehicles as long as it can stand there – and then we will find it fallen on the road side forming part of the garbage.

How many of us even know that manufacture and use of poorly made cheap plastic flags is against the flag code of India. More so we are not supposed to use the flag for hoisting on the public vehicles. Ok fine we may object that how can we be questioned against expressing our love and pride for the Motherland and our very own national flag. But the insulting thing is where that love and pride disappears by the end of the day or the next day when the same flags are lying on the roadside with the garbage and even in the drains… Now, this certainly is a very reprehensible issue. In fact the flag code clearly states that ‘after use, the flags have to be disposed off properly with full honour’. Proper disposal is the responsibility of every citizen and a matter of respect to the nation to be adhered by every one of us.

So this Independence Day Bharat Uday Mission is on the mission of preventing dishonor of any form being rendered to the national flag in the city/country. This act comes as a measure of justifying the fact that a small team of enlightened individuals backed by the goodwill support and participation of the awakened masses can bring about a noticeable change in the city... And more so in the country too.

Flag Code and How it is being Violated in Public

It is a well-known fact that the Tricolour is treated too casually by many in the public. The National flags are seen lying on the roadside along with the other garbage and even in drains by the evening of the Independence Day, the Republic Day and other National Days. Cheap plastic flags, rather than the sacred Khadi Flags have become the order of the day. Such a treatment is not only a violation of the ‘Flag Code’ and other applicable laws like the ‘Emblems and Names Act, 1950’, ‘Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’, but also an atrocity on the patriotic sentiment of every true citizen of India.

Flag Code and How it is being Violated in Public

There are strict standards to be adhered to for making and using the flag. The Hubli-based Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) has been certified as the sole institution to supply national flags for the entire country, by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in conformation with the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Few Indians even know there is one. Some important stipulations laid down in the Flag code are as follows:

· First, there are nine standard sizes to which our flag is made, each with a special purpose for which only it may be used.
· The colors have to be of the exact shade specified by KVIC and BIS. Both saffron and green have to be of equal length and breadth.
· The length and width of the entire flag should be in the ratio 2:3.
· The chakra should contain 24 equally spaced spokes. The chakra should be printed on both sides; the position of both synchronized.
· There should be a four-thread stitch in each centimeter of the cloth. The flag edge (for rod insertion) has stipulated dimensions.
· Only, hand-spun and hand-woven cloth can be used for a national flag.
· Only cotton, silk, wool or khadi can be used.
· Whenever it is flown, it should occupy the position of honour and be distinctly placed.
· The flag must not be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting or in any other manner of decoration. It should not be used as a portion of a costume or uniform. It should not also be embroidered on any cushion, handkerchief, or printed on napkins or boxes.
· Only specified Indian dignitaries can fly the flag atop their cars.
· Even the half-masting during mourning has to be done only for certain dignitaries' deaths. This too in a certain procedure ― it has to be hoisted briskly, and lowered slowly.

Any defects in the manufacture of flags, such as colour, size and thread count are considered a serious offence and are liable for fine or imprisonment or both, as per the provisions of Flag Code of India. The flags will have to be first quality-checked by the BIS. If they find any defect, the entire lot will be rejected. Even the tailors need certain specified diplomas / training certificates to be recruited.

"Flying a plastic or paper flag can attract imprisonment of up to three years with a fine. Even for disposing of a damaged or discolored national flag (the Flag Code says these are not to be used), you have to gather a/few local leader(s), and in their presence, burn it and then bury it. Also, private citizens can only hoist it in their homes, not cars,"

The Indian Navy uses woolen Flags, the Army cotton and silk ones, and the Air Force mostly silk. The Flag Code of India says there are nine different sizes in which the flag is made. Each has certain dimensions and a specified use. The sizes range from a few inches to a few feet. The smallest one (Size Nine) ― 6 inches X 4 inches or 150 mm X 100 mm is for use as a table flag during meetings, conferences involving participation by foreign countries (you would have seen this one in countless TV clippings and newspaper photos); Size Eight – 9 inches X 6 inches or 225 mm X 150 mm is for use in VVIP cars; Size Seven ― 18 inches X 12 inches or 450 mm X 300 mm for VVIP aircraft and train carrying the President; Size Six – 3 ft X 2 ft or 900 mm X 600 mm for display in rooms on cross bar, etc.; on deceased persons; Size Five ― 5.5 ft X 3 ft or 1,350 mm X 900 mm) for smaller sized public buildings; Size Four – 6 ft X 4 ft or 1,800 mm X 1,200 mm on deceased persons entitled to state / military funerals and on small government buildings. Size Three – 9 ft X 6 ft or 2,700 mm X 1,800 mm on Parliament House and medium sized government buildings; Size Two -- 12 ft X 8 ft or 3,600 mm X 2,400 mm on gun carriages, Red Fort, Rashtrapati Bhavan; Size One -- the biggest of them all (21ft into 14ft or 6,300 mm into 4,200 mm) is for very large buildings with a high flag mast.