Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flag Hoisting - Independence Day

For the first time in my life I witnessed a flag being hoisted in a private space at my friend Bhasker's house in Banjara Hills. After the initial years when as a schoolboy I went with my father to see the Independence Day celebrations at the district level or at my own school, and those few times when when I saw the celebrations at the Parade ground, I really found no opportunity to be present at a place when the flag was being hoisted. Thanks to Mr. Naveen Jindal now everyone can fly the flag at their homes, as long as they follow the flag code and treat it with respect and honour. It was a fine thing that Naveen Jindal did and one that all Indians should all be thankful for.

The rules for flying the flag for all 24 hours require a very tall pole, 100 feet high, and lights that illuminate the flag (else one has to fly the flag only between sunrise and sunset). This in itself was a daunting task but was completed on time. The people concerned with this activity also took the trouble of spreading the message of national pride, distributing flags and other material to school children (there were two hundred or so orphans who participated in the event), put up hoardings all over the city with messages of unity. There was considerable effort and cost but it is the kind of an activity that we do not see normally, an activity that seems to have no agenda. It was plain and straight about national pride. A website by the name of www.freedom64.in was also launched stating the purpose and activities of the group.

A large group of friends, well wishers and relatives landed up at the residence and witnessed and celebrated the flag being hoisted. It was wonderful to see the huge tricolour flutter in the sky, against the blue skies, symbolising all that freedom stands for. A fine speech followed a few songs, by my friend's father, a senior parliamentarian and well known businessman. He said that India is great because it offers equal opportunity to all Indians, something that gave them the space to explore their own talents, dreams. As we march forward he said we need to build skills, something that we are lacking in, to be what we truly can be. he also stressed the need to share wealth, by way of charity and give back to the nation. I missed some other parts of his speech but I really found it interesting.

To me, it made a difference to be there, to share the sense of oneness with other Indians, to reiterate my commitment and responsibility to the nation. It gave me a deeper sense of purpose in what I am doing. Thank you Bhasker, for taking up this initiative and making a difference. It did to me, and surely to many others as well.

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