center | Har Ghar Tiranga: The tricolor as a sacred symbol of national unity and determination

The “Har Ghar Tiranga” is a brilliant campaign of the Modi government. It reinforces the BJP’s identification with the national flag and the spirit of patriotism, making the opposition not only weak and disunited, but envious.

As children, we always looked forward to Independence Day, especially the raising of the national flag. It was a solemn occasion followed, of course, by the distribution of snacks and sweets. The latter were the added attraction, especially for children. But what struck me, even as a child, was how less enthusiastic the adults were than us. I wondered why: why skepticism, if not cynicism, about the nation crept in as people got older.

I remember asking my father. He answered gravely: “When you take hard knocks in life, you lose faith in the system, even in the way your country is run. Yet, it is a day when we must all come together. My father was born when India was still a British colony. He had a better idea of ​​what it meant to be free. “Under this flag, all are equal – prince, peasant or pauper,” added, as if to explain its deeper meaning.

I didn’t realize then that he was echoing, albeit unconsciously, the words of Sarojini Naidu. Addressing the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947, the day of the dedication of the national flag, now affectionately known as our tricolor flag, she said: “Remember that under this flag there is no prince and there is no peasant, there is no rich and there is no poor. There is no privilege, only duty, responsibility and sacrifice. Whether we are Hindus or Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs or Zoroastrians and others, our mother India has an undivided heart and an undivided spirit. The men and women of resurgent India rise and salute this flag! I ask you to rise and salute the flag.

As a child, I also wondered why we weren’t allowed to fly or even display the national flag in our homes. The flag code forbade it. As a doctoral student in the United States, I found the stars and stripes unfurling in many American homes. Why can’t we do the same in India. Fortunately, the flag code was first changed in 2002 and then again last year to make it much more open to ordinary Indians and citizens. Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his last speech “Mann ki Baat”, invited all of us not only to unfurl the flag in our homes as part of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign – the tricolor in every house – but also to post it on our social media manages and pin it virtually, for which we will also obtain a certificate. Truly, this signals the democratization of the flag and the transfer of its ownership from the state to the people.

Some of my most moving and proud moments were when I unfurled the national flag from the lawns of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla as Principal. These premises were once the Vice-Regal Lodge, the seat of British Imperial authority and the summer capital of India, until our second President, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, handed them over to the nation for a research and graduate institute. To be free means so much more when we know all the struggles and all the sacrifices necessary to earn this right and become a nation. More than ever, the possibilities of a free India become all the more apparent as we embark on the celebration of [email protected], Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

On August 2, the birthday of Pingali Venkayya, the freedom fighter who designed the flag, Home Minister Amit Shah launched the anthem “Har Ghar Tiranga” from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Arena . The anthem, funded and produced by the Ministry of Culture, features many celebrities raising or saluting the flag, with a montage of vignettes running the length and breadth of the country. It is sung by Asha Bhosle and Sonu Nigam, with Amitabh Bachchan also speaking a few lines. Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Prabhas, Anupam Kher, Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, PT Usha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu are among those featured there as well. The catchy tune was composed by Devi Sri Prasad, popularly known as Rockstar DSP.

The video displays and extols the strength and diversity of India, our achievements in various fields, as well as the beauty of our country. What struck me was how marginalized tribal and ethnic communities were highlighted. The most memorable images are not the ones we are used to seeing on the streets of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Mumbai, but rather distant places and remote places, quite tantalizing in their beauty and scarcity. The video shows the ongoing challenge of all these diverse regions and people becoming one nation under Tiranga.

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Read also

Marked in History: Who is Pingali Venkayya, the man who designed India’s national flag?

Har Ghar Tiranga: PM Modi urges Indians to hoist Tricolor as he remembers freedom struggle

Adjusting the flag code, tricolor for Rs 25, selfie points: how the Center pulls out all the stops to make Har Ghar Tiranga a success

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Those who want to read politics in its exclusions will find that the “Father of the Nation”, Mahatma Gandhi, is not there except in his bespectacled appropriation as part of the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. Jawaharlal Nehru, who dedicated the flag to the nation, is of course absent, as Congress never tires of reminding us. They want to show it with the flag in their own tricolor counter-campaign. How ironic that the National Herald, which Nehru founded, is now behind a Law Enforcement Branch money laundering case against his great-grandson, Rahul Gandhi, and his mother, Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi.

As for those in the anthem, the congressman who is actually tall, actually in the form of the tallest statue in the world, is Sardar Patel, but in the statue of Modi’s unity, which makes him tribute. Also Swami Vivekananda and Subhas Chandra Bose, whose two figures appear fleetingly. And of course the country’s ‘Hriday Samrat’, Modi himself, who appears as himself at the end and also in the photo of the last still from the film, the poster of Azadi ka Mahotsav.

The “Har Ghar Tiranga” is another example of a brilliant campaign by the Modi government. It reinforces the BJP’s identification with the national flag and the spirit of patriotism, making the opposition not only weak, disunited, but envious. After all, who can go against a nation’s flag? It is the single significant symbol of our identity as a free nation under which we must all unite, regardless of our differences or disagreements. The Opposition, by dint of quibbling and complaining, ends up being a bad loser.

My only caveat is that no one should be forced to fly or display the flag, nor those, for whatever reason, who cannot do so, targeted as unpatriotic or anti-national. As my father used to say: “All are the children of Mother India, whether enthusiastic or belated.

The author is a professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. The opinions expressed are personal.

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James V. Hayes