Corruption, Patriotism, and the Tiranga

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What is the mother of all maladies that India suffers from? To my mind it is corruption. Corruption has become instutionalized in almost every system of our country. What makes a person corrupt? Narrow selfish interests and no sense of belonging or responsibility towards ones society or country. A person becomes corrupt when his self love surpasses his love for his society and his country.

Let us bring in another word - Patriotism. What is Patriotism? In a few words patriotism can be defined as love and devotion to one's country. People have tried to define it in their own ways too. Rabindranath Tagore defines it thus in Geetanjali : 

"Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake."

It shows his love for his country.

Coming back to the point, we can conclude that Indians who are corrupt lack patriotism. Extending the same analogy, with the level of corruption being what it is in our country, lack of patriotism is rampant in our society. Agreed?

It is very visible every where, Indians spying for other countries against their mother land for a few quick bucks, kick backs in defense deals, corruption in most Government offices, right down to corruption at the very grass roots – the gram panchayat.

That brings us to a very important question. Why are people patriotic? To understand this let us ask ourselves another question. What does the jawan, fighting at the border, risks his life for? Undoubtedly, his country, India. What symbolizes this vast, diverse country? The national flag. Our beloved Tiranga. The jawan walks head held high with the beloved Tiranga in his mind's eye. A true Indian!!! The Indian Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is the symbol of national pride and patriotism.

Look in the history books, all over the world the nation's flag has always created a sense of belonging and inspired people to do great things for their country.

Let us look at the following interesting facts here:

  • The Indian flag was hoisted on the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest on 29th May 1953.
  • Madam Bhikaji Rustom Cama was the first person to hoist Indian flag on foreign soil on 22nd August 1907 in Stuttgrat, Germany.
  • The Indian National Flag flew to space in 1984 when Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma went to the space. The flag was attached as a medallion on the space suit of Rakesh Sharma.

In India we have the following rules for Flag Hoisting: 

Code of Conduct

Being a national symbol it is respected by every Indian. There are certain dos and don'ts laid down for common people regarding Indian flag:

  • When the National Flag is raised the saffron color band should be at the top.
  • No flag or emblem should be placed either above the National Flag or to its right.
  • All other flags to be placed to the left of the National Flag if they are hung in a line.
  • When the National Flag is carried in a procession or parade, it shall be on the marching right or in front of the center of the line, if there is a line of other flags.
  • Normally the National Flag should be flown over important government buildings like the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts, the Secretariats, the Commissioners' office etc.
  • The National Flag or any imitation of it must not be used for purpose of trade, business, or profession.
  • The National Flag should always be taken down in the evening at sunset.

According to flag code of India citizens of India did not had the right to hoist the Indian flag except for some important days like Republic day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. A renowned industrialist Naveen Jindal challenged this in the court as when he hoisted the flag on his office building he was told not to do so as it may be taken as a breach of code of Indian flag. Then he lodged a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the court now the decision of the court is pending in this regard but a temporary permission has been granted to Indian citizens to hoist the flag on any day but in a respectable manner.

What is respectable manner? If you are at work and it starts raining, your flag at home gets wet. Is it disrespect? If guests turn up and in entertaining them you forget to remove the flag after sunset. Is it disrespect?

Now look around. How many Tirangas do you see fluttering in the breeze around you? Why is it so? Many countries have liberal laws regarding the use of their flags and you can see their national flags every where. They have flags 24x365 around their homes, in offices, in public places and on their T-shirts. It is a proud proclamation of their national identity.

In India you have to wait for two days in a year to see your beloved flag. 363 days in a year you barely ever see it. Are we ashamed of our national identity? Why have we made the hoisting of the Tiranga such a big deal that no one takes the risk?

With the national flag out of sight we forget our national identity. Today in India we have Biharis, Bengalis, Oriyas, Andhraites etc. etc. and etc. but hardly any Indians. No wonder we do not own our country. We remain divided in narrow mental partitions. We do not live and work for our country or society and so we start living and working for ourselves. No wonder we are a very corrupt nation with a massive starving population and yet the heftiest accounts in Swiss Banks.

Don't you feel it is high time we took quick steps to revise our laws and encourage people of all religions, castes and communities to make the Tiranga more visible in their everyday lives? As the sense of belonging, national pride and patriotism grows, the python of corruption will loosen it’s grip. It may appear a long drawn process but then there are no quick fix solutions to this gigantic problem.


 

Rajesh Chaubey, Guest Contributor, PatnaDaily.Com

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