Purnea 'first' in flag hoist race
|Children jostle to put up strings of Tricolour at a school in Purnea. Telegraph picture|
Purnea, Aug. 14: As the rest of the country will wait for the crack of the dawn to celebrate the Independence Day on August 15, Purnea will celebrate it as soon as the clock strikes 12.
Hoisting the National Flag on the intervening night of August 14 and 15 has become a tradition in Purnea.
Purnea Merchant Association has collected money from businessmen of the area and have organised a function on Independence Day. More than 1,000 people will gather at Jhanda Chowk and take part in the unfurling of the National Flag.
State spokesperson of Bihar Congress Committee and resident of Purnea V.K. Thakur told The Telegraph: “People of Purnea have played a significant role in getting India free from the British. More than 10,000 people gathered at the door of Rameshwar Prasad Singh ‘Patel’, then Congress president, and soon after hearing the news of India becoming free, the people here celebrated the Independence Day, probably the first in the country.”
Thakur added: “Since people had gathered at the residence of Patel, it was natural for him to unfurl the Tricolour. Since then, his fa- mily members have been unfurling the flag. The place got its name Jhanda Chowk after Independence.”
On Independence Day, the district administration used to participate in the function. But this tradition came to an end 35 years ago. However, local people continue to unfurl the flag in the absence of the district administration till today.
Dinkar Snehi, the secretary of Purnea Merchant Association, said: “We used to collect money from the businessmen so that we could continue the tradition of hoisting the National Flag. We are proud of the people who embark on the tradition to celebrate the Independence Day first in the country.”
He added: “We have in- vited the oldest member of the Patel family to hoist the flag at Jhanda Chowk. We will distribute sweets to thousands of people who will gather here on this day.”