Cong: Polyester Tiranga violates spirit of freedom movement
The Congress has objected to the Narendra Modi government’s decision to allow machine-made and imported polyester to be used in manufacturing the national flag, contending that the move violates the spirit of the freedom movement.
The Congress has alleged the decision will boost imports from China and help one of Modi’s capitalist friends whose firm manufactures polyester.
The Opposition party has extended full support to the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha, which is opposing the decision and plans to launch nationwide protests.
The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha is the only unit licensed to produce khadi Tricolours, in Hubballi, and faces closure as a result of this decision. Activists and Gandhian intellectuals see the government decision as an attack on khadi and the spirit of the freedom movement.
The Flag Code says the “national flag shall be made of hand-spun and hand-woven wool/ cotton/ silk khadi bunting”. But the Union home ministry recently issued a notification saying machine-made polyester and imported cloth can also be used in making the national flag.
This, the government said, is being done to boost mass manufacture of the national flag because demand will rise phenomenally after the Prime Minister launches the “Har Ghar Tiranga” plan, encouraging every household to hoist the Tricolour on the rooftop.
The government expects around 20 crore flags to be sold over the next few months, with the nation completing 75 years of Independence on August 15.
Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “Those who didn’t participate in the freedom movement, didn’t hoist the Tricolour for 52 years at Nagpur (RSS headquarters), will never understand the relationship India has with the Tricolour and khadi. They have made arrangements for ‘har ghar Cheen ka tiranga’ (Chinese-made Tricolours atop every house). The same China which has captured our land.”
जिन्होंने आजादी की लड़ाई में भाग नहीं लिया, 52 साल तक नागपुर में तिरंगा नहीं फहराया, वो तिरंगा और खादी से देश का रिश्ता क्या समझेंगे।— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 8, 2022
पॉलिएस्टर के तिरंगे के आयात की अनुमति देकर ‘हर घर चीन का तिरंगा’ लगाने का प्रबंध कर दिया। उस चीन का जो हमारी भूमि कब्जाए है।#तिरंगा_विरोधी_भजपा https://t.co/XnqLQOl0pd
Later, party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said that China and an Indian company that manufactures polyester will be the biggest beneficiaries.
“Allowing polyester is another stark reminder that our pseudo-nationalist ruling party has no understanding of our freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress agrees with the demand of the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha for this amendment to be withdrawn and supports its decision to hold a Dhwaja Satyagraha on July 30,” he added.
Stressing that there was no need to tinker with the Flag Code as the Tricolour is a symbol of the nation’s freedom and sovereignty, Kumar said: “Khadi signifies how the people of India defeated the mighty British empire using the simple charkha, a symbol of self-sufficiency, spiritual humility, national integrity, social equality, communal harmony and ahimsa (non-violence). These are values alien to the BJP and its predecessors who played no role in the freedom movement, in the design of the national flag or in the popularisation of khadi.”
He recalled: “Rather, the BJP is inspired by the Hindu Mahasabha that formed coalitions with the Muslim League in Sind, Bengal and the North West Frontier Province to subvert nationalist forces, namely the Congress. Its parent organisation, the RSS, refused for half a century to hoist the Tiranga at its Nagpur headquarters. Far from respecting the national flag, it had three activists arrested on 26 January 2001 for attempting to hoist the Tiranga on RSS premises (Case No. 176, Nagpur). The BJP is the same party whose office-bearers are known to have joined terrorist groups.”
He added: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi likes to present himself as the custodian of India’s khadi industry, and called on Indians to purchase khadi products last year in his Mann Ki Baat address. By permitting the import of machine-made and imported polyester flags, Modi has attacked the essence of khadi and the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. While ensuring that thousands of workers lose their jobs, he has also ensured import of Chinese-made cloth for making flags. The self-styled champion of khadi will preside over the death of khadi, revealing himself to be a Polyester Monopolist.”
Recalling Modi’s lectures to Indians to be “vocal for local”, Kumar said the Prime Minister’s decisions were helping China, whether it was importing the entire bronze exterior of the Statue of Unity (Sardar Patel statue) or the 45 per cent jump in imports from China to a record $94 billion in 2021-22.
Modi has now opened the door to the mass import of Indian flags from China at a time Chinese troops have occupied 1,000sqkm of fresh territory in Ladakh, Kumar said.