INDIANS – in India and across the world – have great respect towards the Indian national flag. We take immense pride in hoisting it, especially on every Republic Day and Independence Day; grand celebrations are held and the national flag is hoisted with pomp and gaiety across the nation and wherever Indians reside across the globe.
But have we ever asked ourselves how authentic are the flags that we hoist? If at all, these national flags are the original deal? Or just mere replicas?
To find some answers, we visited the Maharashtra state police website http://www.mahapolice.gov.in and read the Flag code (http://www.mahapolice.gov.in/files/flag_code_of_india.pdf) of India.
The preface read: “There is universal affection and respect for, and loyalty to, the National Flag. Yet, a perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed, not only amongst people but also in the organisations/agencies of the government, in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to the display of the National Flag.”
In other words, many of us might actually be unknowingly hoisting the wrong flag.
According to the Flag Code of 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 National Flag of India shall be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting.
- “The National Flag shall be rectangular in shape. The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2.
- “The standard sizes of the National Flag shall be as follows: — Flag Size No. Dimensions in mm 1 6300 x 4200 2 3600 x 2400 3 2700 x 1800 4 1800 x 1200 5 1350 x 900 6 900 x 600 7 450 x 300 8 225 x 150 9 150 x 100
- “An appropriate size should be chosen for display. The flags of 450 x 300 mm size are intended for aircrafts on VVIP flights, 225 x 150 mm size for motor-cars and 150 x 100 mm size for table flags.
Further, it says:
A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/ display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise. Consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
Moving on, there are also some rules concerning the official display of the national flag:
- The National Flag may also be flown on the Headquarters and the residences of the Heads of Missions/Posts abroad in the countries where it is customary for diplomatic and consular representatives to fly their National Flags on the Headquarters and their official residences.
- On all occasions for official display, only the Flag conforming to specifications laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards and bearing their standard mark shall be used. On other occasions also, it is desirable that only such Flags of appropriate size are flown.
So where can we get the official-original national flag of India?
Just one place the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangh (Federation) in Hubli, Karnataka. The Indian national flag is made here as per BIS (Bharat India Standards) strictly adhering to the flag code of India. The procedure is exhaustive and not anybody’s piece of cake.
How’s it made?
The cotton, which is well-suited for production is procured from the market and used for yarn manufacture. This raw-cotton is converted into a yarn of required count by processing it through various complicated machineries viz. openers, cleaners, draw frame, comber, roving frame and charaka.
Two different types of clothes are woven on handlooms – one is the Bunting cloth, which is required for making three panels of National Flags – and the other, Duck cloth, which is required for sleeve attachment. Every care is taken while weaving to ensure that the required number of ends per inch, picks per inch and the weight is at par with the BIS norms.
BLEACHING AND DYEING
The bunting meant for manufacturing the top and bottom panels are bleached and dyed in India Saffron and India Green respectively. The dyed pieces are free from dyeing defects, such as uneven dyeing and streakiness.
While dyeing, utmost care is taken to see that, the dyes selected must give the required shade, good fastness to light and washing, correct PH value and dimensional changes, as per BIS norms.
The Flags are done by machine stitching comprising lock stitches. The four corners of the Flags are reinforced with triangular pieces of bunting of the same construction and colour as is used for making the Flags.
Finally, a sleeve is provided along one side of the Flag.
A toggle is attached to each Flag at the top by splicing the hemp cordage around it. The toggle is attached at the top of the Saffron panel with an intension to avoid hoisting of the flag in reverse. Wood toggles are made from well-seasoned timber from either Viz, Haldu, Padauk, Shisham, Sal or Teak. At every stage of manufacture, BIS norms are followed and the Flag is stamped with ISI mark. The toggled Flag is steam-ironed and folded neatly.