Ruling regime singing peans for national flag is nothing but propaganda
Sangh Parivar did not participate in India’s freedom struggle and disapproved of tricolour being adopted as national flag. Its sudden love for tricolour is part of a bid to rewrite nation’s history
Even as India prepares to celebrate the 75th Independence Day, the BJP is taking unusual initiatives. It is taking extra pains to exhibit loyalty to the national freedom struggle and the national flag. Anyone with a little understanding of history knows that neither the BJP nor its predecessors who form part of the RSS-led Sangh Parivar played any role in the freedom movement. In fact, all those forces committed to the RSS theory of cultural nationalism kept aloof from it, branding it as a political exercise which did not concern their ‘cultural activities’.
Indeed, they were adamantly reluctant to have anything to do with the national flag.
Even several decades after the country's independence, they were not apologetic about their approach which was supportive of the interests of the British imperialism. When the whole population of free India celebrated August 15 and the tricolour, they remained unmoved. For 52 long years after independence, RSS-BJP had never thought of unfurling the national flag anywhere near their offices. They had their own peculiar interpretations. But now, the BJP has suddenly woken up to the need to appear hyper enthused to champion the celebration of the national flag.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself made an appeal to the people to begin the Independence Day celebrations on August 13 itself. On July 22, he was keen to educate the people that it was on the same day in 1947 that the tricolour flag was approved as India's national flag. He wants all Indians to hoist the national flag on their house. Several festivities to celebrate the national flag were planned by the government.
The Flag Code of India was suitably amended to manufacture tricolour flags in huge numbers. It is reported that polyester cloth was imported from China in huge quantities to ensure the smooth availability of the Indian flag.
Prime Minister Modi is clearly out to project India's freedom struggle as per his party’s agenda, to dig and hide the real facts.
The tricolour has had a place of pride in the heart of Indians since 1931, when the Congress, during the freedom struggle, adopted a flag with the three colours. The RSS’ objection to the tricolour flag was aired by their founding leaders from the very beginning, with Hedgewar and Golwalkar standing in the forefront of the RSS tirade against the flag. They were preaching for a saffron flag with 'Om' at its centre, arguing that their flag represented India's cultural ethos. According to them, the saffron flag flown in India's temples right from the time of Mahabharat should be the natural choice of flag for the country.
In January 1931, when the Congress made the appeal to hoist the tricolour, the RSS came out openly against it. Hedgewar, the first Sarsanghchalak issued a directive among all the shakhas to hoist the Bhagwa Dhwaj instead of the tricolour.
All along its chequered history, RSS was eager to uphold a parallel view regarding the national movement and the issue of national flag was paramount for them.
On July 14, 1946, at a congregation of Swayam Sevaks in Nagpur, Golwalkar exhorted: "It was the saffron flag which in totality represented Bharatiya culture. It was the embodiment of God. We firmly believe that in the end, the whole nation will bow before the national flag."
In an essay titled ‘The Eternal Basis’, included in 'Bunch of Thoughts', Golwalkar wrote: "For example our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating...how did this flag come into being?”.
The RSS leaders consciously closed their eyes to the real and patriotic ideas represented by the tricolour. Educated and trained by the philosophy of hatred, they always kept a sort of vengeance towards the national flag. Its colours signify the unity and diversity of Indian society. The cultural, natural and philosophical beauty of the values embraced by a great people of a great nation is imbibed into the national flag. But the RSS-BJP always kept an emotional and political distance with the ethos represented by the national flag.
In Nagpur, at the headquarters of RSS, they hoisted a tricolour only in 2002 when AB Vajpayee became the Prime Minister. On several occasions, BJP leaders have disrespected the national flag and violated the Flag Code of India. For instance, during the final rites of its sernior leader Kalyan Singh, the national flag was seen half covered by the BJP flag. None of the top brass of the RSS-BJP, including the Prime Minister was concerned about this flagrant violation.
Now we the same people singing peans for the tricolour day and night. The RSS-BJP have their saffron dreams which, for the time being, they want to cover with the tricolour. For them, everything is meant for the sake of propaganda. Nation, national ethos, national flag, all are being projected with only one purpose – political games and clinging to power!
Long live the national flag!
The writer is a Rajya Sabha MP. Views are personal