Come Independence Day, many of us have functions in our schools, organisations and even in our housing societies. We decorate the premises with balloons, paper and even flags. But after the celebrations what happens? The main flag that is hoisted is folded and placed inside safely. What happens to the decorations? It has been seen that in many places the decorations are left as they are. Then these flags are torn and thrown on the ground by children. In many places, small children even step on it in their play and their parents and other older people standing nearby enjoy it. That is all the respect given to them. Independence Day is no longer a celebration of freedom. But it has become a mere event for enjoyment.
The flags that are used for decorations often land up on the ground and even older people trample it under their feet. Have we realized that the flag, may it be made of paper, is the symbol of our freedom – the freedom that is precious to us- the freedom that our freedom fighters won for us after a lot of struggle?
Besides it is a crime under the Indian constitution. According to Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, “Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”
Among Hindus, we consider dried out flowers or previous day’s flowers which have been offered to God, as nirmalya and they are consigned to running water, so that they do not come under our feet. Similarly, can we not consider the decorations made from flags as nirmalya and consign them to running water? This was suggested by my Mom, a 71 year old daughter of a late patriotic Government Servant.
We were returning yesterday after the Independence Day Celebrations and saw many paper flags fallen on the road. One also had the mark of a shoe on it. This distressed us. Mom immediately picked up these flags and placed them respectfully on the parapet wall of the building, where these were initially tied.
Mom says, “People, who give a speech after hoisting the flag, anywhere, should address the importance of freedom and the symbols of freedom that we have. Someone told me that these decorations are made up of papers only. I told them even money is made up of paper. What do we do with it? I strongly suggest if the purpose is over for the day, these flags should be preserved carefully like the cloth flag and used next year. Or consign them to running water. This should be taken up as a national campaign and if possible volunteers should be engaged for that day. Political parties can do this easily.”
My grandfather brought up my Mom by teaching the importance of the symbols of freedom, which she ingrained in us. Wherever we have lived till now, Mom has mentioned this to the children of the colony during the celebrations. But today things are different. People have said “Who has time?” and “Why waste time on this?”
What would you say about this?