Har Ghar Tiranga: Despite plethora of options, khadi Tricolour remains most coveted

Khadi Bhandar has 22 kinds of flags in two categories — with rope and toggle or just flags

Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 11:08 PM IST
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Har Ghar Tiranga: Despite plethora of options, khadi Tricolour remains most coveted | FPJ Photo

Mumbai: At South Mumbai’s Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, while most corners of the large premises are vacant, one row buzzes with people seeking attention from the staff present. Many leave dejected at the eventuality of having to wait for another day.

The Flag Code may have been amended and cheaper or free options are available for those who wish to fly the national flag, but the craze for a khadi Tricolour remains undiminished.

The go-to place for all things khadi has been witnessing a rush ever since the prime minister's call of 'Har Ghar Tiranga' for every household to fly the flag.

The store manager and staff said sale volumes have more than doubled and certain categories of flags are sold out as soon as they arrive, forcing buyers to make multiple visits.

"Having a khadi national flag is a different feeling,” said Anil Pawar, who was making his third trip to Khadi Bhandar. “There is a different pride. You cannot have the same with any other material."

Pawar said he had bought a small flag for himself and one for his housing society. Now he was looking for one for his workplace. “It was out of stock earlier, so I have come again to take my chance. This is my second trip today,” he said.

Khadi Bhandar has 22 kinds of flags in two categories — with rope and toggle or just flags. These are meant for poles, buildings, balconies, cars, desks and chests and range in size from 1x1½ inch to 14x21 feet. The smallest is priced at Rs21; the biggest costs Rs36,056.

"The most sought after are the 2x3 foot and 3x4½ foot flags,” said manager Mahesh Manjrekar. “These are sought by public authorities, institutions, societies and residents to put up on flagpoles or balconies."

Manjrekar said the order to produce the flag in large numbers came late. "The government notification itself is of July 31,” he pointed out. “By the time it reached the lower levels, it was August 5. Hence production is struggling to match demand. We are unable to provide it to government departments and institutions either. Even so we have already sold over 50,000 flags.”

Sales in previous years seldom exceeded 20,000. “Small flags are also being sought in large numbers this time,” the manager said.

Police officers and employees of public-sector units and public bodies were among those thronging the store. "We have come from Goregaon,” said one officer who was returning empty-handed. “Our police station needs a flag but it is not available, so we came here."

Some organisations tried their luck by getting a senior officer to speak to the store staff, but that did not help. Others were told to look at nearby places like the GPO but they preferred to come back later.

"Khadi is Swadeshi, hence it connects with us the most,” said Jitendra Waghmare, who was making his second trip on behalf of the Bharatiya Vidyapeeth Dental College, Kharghar. “That is what we have come for. Our institution is very clear on this. We want a khadi flag."

Manish Patel from Bandra was also making his second round. "They still do not have the size we are looking for,” he complained. “I had made a payment and reserved it. The institution I am buying for wants a khadi flag, so we are not looking at other options."

A person who had come all the way from the hill station of Matheran also had to leave without the flag.

While the craze to buy a flag was palpable, buyer Naresh Chalkhi had a word of caution. "There is a sense of devotion towards the flag,” he said. “The government wants every household to have one, but many do not know what to do with it later or how to look after it. It will be painful to see flags lying on the road or, worse, in the dustbin. The government should do something about that too."

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