Anyone who has stood recently in front of India Gate in Delhi and seen the fluttering tricolour must have experienced moment of pride. A flag means different things to different people. For a sportsperson, it’s motivation to perform on an international platform; for an army officer, it could be symbolic of the call of duty. For most of us, it is a reminder that we are proud to be Indian. It is a unifying factor which each of us can relate.
Unfortunately, Chennai doesn’t have a space where the national flag is celebrated. Unlike the iconic landmarks in other cities, we do not find a national flag hoisted in a public space. A group of Chennaiites have started the Chennai Tricolor Initiative to put up the country’s tallest national flagpole in a public space.
“ During the flood, we saw the city come together, but thereafter, people went on with their respective lives. There has been no such event since that has brought Chennaiites together. We want to initiate a movement where citizens can contribute to a cause,” says Javeeth Ahamed, a volunteer with the initiative.
The team behind this has put up a petition ‘Support Installation of a Monumental National Flag in Chennai’ on change.org. In the petition, they have said, “As citizens we offer to crowd-fund the cost of a 200ft flagpole, to be installed in Marina Beach, a public space that is accessible to everyone. We request the co-operation and support of the authorities and also for maintenance of the National Flag on an ongoing basis via the Public Works Department (or other appropriate department).”
Putting up a flag is a complicated process and could cost up to Rs 40 lakhs. “There are a host of procedures that need to be followed — from what material has to be used to who stitches it, its location and the height of the pole. We are advised by the Flag Foundation of India, founded by Naveen Jindal, a body that takes care of the installation and maintenance of the Tiranga. We want to work with the government and understand the procedure. Though it is a crowd-funded initiative, we will need the government’s support in the implementation, and maintenance, of the flag,” says Javeeth, adding, “We know we have a long way to go, but it’s a start.”