The National Flag is the pride of the citizens of a nation. It is especially true for our country, where a sense of patriotism is instilled in us from a very young age. Our National Flag, the Tricolour, symbolises patriotism, national unity, valour, sacrifice and a steely resolve to rise and shine. If one were to choose one national icon who symbolised all these values and much more, it would definitely be our beloved Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Today, on Jan 23, India is celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of the legendary Freedom Fighter as “Parakram Diwas”.
Our National Flag was adopted in its current form on July 22, 1947. Upon our Independence, on August 15, 1947, the Tricolour was officially recognised as the National Flag.
While our Freedom Fighters, ranging from Gandhiji to Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru to Maulana Azad, lived and died for the Tricolour, Netaji was in a league of his own. On Oct 21, 1943, Netaji announced the formation of the country’s first independent government, the Azad Hind government. Later, on Dec 30 in the same year, he unfurled the Tricolour at the Gymkhana Grounds in Port Blair, with the national anthem in the background.
Our Tiranga unites the country and gives the people an identity and a sense of purpose. With the National Flag, one ceases to be a Hindu or a Muslim, man or woman, rich or poor, powerful or meek. It’s the Indian identity that subsumes everything else. This is what makes the Tiranga so strong a symbol. It’s the singular unifying force for the 130 crore Indians.
Today, whether it’s the sporting arena or protest rallies, our homes or offices, we proudly display the National Flag. Whether it’s a sporting hero or an army commander, an astronaut or a socialite, the Tiranga gives everyone a sense of identity and belonging. It’s been a part of our happiness and challenging times, songs and folklores.
The National Flag was, however, not a part of our everyday life in the not too distant past. Common citizens were not allowed to display the National Flag except on select occasions like Independence Day on Aug 15 and Republic Day on Jan 26.
In 1992, industrialist Naveen Jindal flew the Indian National Flag on his office building at Raigarh in Chhattisgarh (then Madhya Pradesh). This was disapproved of by the authorities. This made Naveen file a Public Interest Litigation in the Delhi High Court in 1995, demanding his right to display the Tricolour, of course, with due respect and decorum. The final verdict in the matter was delivered by the Supreme Court on Jan 23, 2004, in his favour.
It was a happy coincidence that the countrymen earned the right to display the Tricolour with respect and a sense of responsibility, on Netaji’s birthday.
Our present-day India is faced with multiple challenges. It’s also true that challenges bring out the best in a warrior. When faced with a dilemma or a crisis, it’s useful to invoke our national ideals, symbols and heroes.
Today, Netaji’s inspiring words on freedom and patriotism are more relevant than ever before. His life and vision instil patriotic fervour in the youth. His revolutionary zeal, that lit up many lives and gave many a sleepless night to the British, can become the modern-day anthem for the youth. His legendary Azad Hind Fauj is the ultimate symbol of valour, sacrifice and unity – so relevant for today’s India.
His birth anniversary today, being celebrated as “Parakram Diwas” would inspire the young and old alike to face any challenge, internal or external, head-on, notwithstanding the constraints.
If the Tricolour was the source of inspiration for Netaji, it continues to, and will always, show the path for each and every Indian. On “Parakram Diwas”, when the countrymen proudly display the National Flag in every nook and corner, and the Tiranga is aflutter across the country, it sends out a message to Netaji, in gratitude, that the country that he bequeathed to us, remains in safe hands.
There may be occasional challenges, but the National Flag gives us the strength and fortitude to tide through the crises and live up to Netaji’s ideals.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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