It was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s dream to see the Indian Tricolour hoisted on the Red Fort, a wish that came true only later,
when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the National Flag on 16, August 1947. A day before that India had gained freedom from the British rule and proudly flew the Indian Tricolour as an Independent Nation. On that day, an ancient civilisation became a modern nation state. Every year, on 15 August , the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the Indian flag at the Red Fort to reaffirm our commitment to preserving the freedom that was won after a long struggle.
Turning the pages of history we find that the flag always belonged to the ruler and never the people.
During ram Rajya it signified the Raghuvansh; under emperor Ashoka it was for the Mauryas; the Alam was the royal standard of the Mughals and the union Jack stood for the British power that reduced India to a subject of the British Empire- it was about the victor’s march, conquering armies and triumphant emperors. The flag was not at all about people, as it was for power. Infact, the flag has ever been for the common man in the past, as it always belonged to the ruler. But mere boundaries cannot define a nation. It is when people believe in the idea of their shared existence, the values they hold dear, and the sacrifices they may be required to make to uphold those ideals, it is then that the flag becomes an emotional anchor. The national Flag symbolises territorial sovereignty as well as emotional integrity that binds us as one nation, one people.
I had a fascination for the Tiranga and its colours since childhood. However, my love for the Indian Flag grew stronger in 1990 while studying in the US when I witnessed the American’s passion for their flag. They would display their “Stars and Stripes” at all places, on every occasion and event of their daily life. After my return from the US, I wanted to do the same , here In India, and display the Tiranga. All along I had believed that it was the right of an Indian to fly the tricolour, but I was wrong. I could not fly the Tiranga at my factory in Raigarh, and consequently , a prolonged legal battle ensued.
According to the Flag code of India, the flag could be flown only on ceremonial occasions, not on all days. This unfair restriction was simply not acceptable to me. If democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people then why didn’t the flag belong to the people of India who had struggled and made supreme sacrifices for independence?
It was Mahatma Gandhi who felt that a flag is a necessity for all nations. He said,”It will be necessary for us Indians-Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Parsis and all others- to whom Inida is home to recognise a common flag to live and die for.” Sarojini Naidu, “ the Nightingale of India”, expresses the same sentiment unequivocally: “Under this flag, there is no difference between a prince and a peasent, between the rich and the poor, between man and woman.” Armed with the wisdom and words of our freedom fighters and the advice of senior lawyers, I took my case against this unjust law to the highest court of the land and prevailed. For the first time, in our 5000 year old history, the flag finally belongs to the people of this country.
On 23 January, 2004, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ruled that flying of the National Flag is the Fundamental Right of an Indian citizen within Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India that grants freedom of speech and expression.
Nothing makes me more proud than to see our Tiranga flying high. It is important to display our National Flag not only at important public buildings but also at our homes to showcase our national pride and unity. As an Indian each one of us is proud of our flag.
I feel an emotional connect with the three colours of the flag. I fly it daily at my home, my office and all my industrial establishments. It is close to my heart. Every morning while pinning the flag on my jacket, I am reminded of my responsibility with a sense of dedication to the country.
The flag is also a symbol of our success and unity, which was witnessed in the spontaneous celebrations on the streets of India when we won the Cricket World Cup, 2011.
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Konkan to Kohima, people waved the Tiranga with joy and pride. It is greatly satisfying to see this passion in our youth. Every time they wave the flag with gusto, the pride and patriotism shines through as does their dedication to the nation.
In my drive to promote the Tiranga, I interact with different kinds of people. During one of my meetings with our young leader Rahul Gandhi, he said, “Naveen, since this flag is so dear to you, why don’t you install a monumental flag in Delhi on the lines of some other countries in the world.”
Rahul’s suggestion inspired me so much that the Flag Foundation of India has by now installed 64 monumental flagpoles across the country including a 207 feet monumental flagpole in the heart of the capital city, New Delhi.
Six decades after independence, the colours of our Tiranga have acquired a larger aura
Saffron stands for sacrifice: let us make it about selfless service to our society with honesty.
White stands for purity; let us make it about corruption free probity I public life.
Green stands for growth: let us make it about sustainable development.
The Ashok Chakra is the wheel that denotes movement, a way forward to peace, progress and prosperity.
Our Tiranga is the wind beneath the wings of a billion-plus people whose dreams are ready to take flight, hopes soaring with confidence in our ability to be the change we want to be.
Jai Bharat, Jai Hind.
Mr. Naveen Jindal