Our PM Narendra Modi has rightly called for wide publicity and sensitisation of Central and state departments as well as the public to strictly use “paper flags” instead of plastic flags and ensure that national flags are disposed in ways that are consistent with the “dignity of the flag”. Millions of patriots have laid their lives to achieve freedom and our National Flag is a symbol of their great sacrifice. Many sacrificed their life to save the honour of the Flag by not allowing it to fall down on the ground. Unfortunately, people have forgotten to maintain the honour of the Nation. Abuse of national flags takes place on Independence Day and Republic Day, due to use of plastic flags. The plastic or paper Flags that are held in the hand on the ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Republic Day’ with great honour and love during the flag hoisting ceremony are seen lying on the streets, drains, filthy places in the afternoon of the same Day itself. Is this not an insult to the bold patriots who suffered bullets of the British and the Portuguese on their chest to save the honour of the Flag?
There have been complaints that after Republic Day and Independence Day, flags made of plastic are often found lying on roads and gutters. There is a new trend of selling flags made of paper and plastic, which is incorrect. It is observed that paper and plastic national flags are found strewn all over roads and even in gutters right from January 26 and it takes time to dispose of plastic flags. The government has already passed orders banning the manufacture, sale, distribution and display of plastic national flags. According to our Flag Code, “The National Flag of India shall be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting.” Necessary action as per Mumbai High Court’s orders should be taken for prevention of insult of National Flag. All heads of departments and other officials should take care to ensure that the National Flag is used only in a manner consistent with the provisions of the flag code.
Our National Flag is used in festoons. After all the celebrations, people just leave them there. The flags fall to the ground and are stepped on. Plastic flags are preferred by many political parties for the election campaign.
The Model Code of Conduct bans the display of any banners or flags in public places.
The flags are not only environmentally unfriendly, but also physically hazardous as the loose ends of the twine they are attached to, fluttering from lampposts and buildings, pose a danger to two-wheeler riders and pedestrians. The burning of non-biodegradable waste, including plastic flags, releases dioxins into the atmosphere.
Don’t we think that similar to the National Anthem and pledge printed in school textbooks, a message about National Flag should also be printed! Our National Flag should not be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting or in any manner for decoration. It should be hoisted on important national, cultural and sports events. The paper flags should not be thrown on the ground or discarded after the event and should be disposed of in privacy with the dignity of the flag, Efforts should be made to educate, and spread awareness to the people of the country through advertising, in print and electronic media, so that the proper usage and dignity of national flag should not suffer in any manner.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)