Put India First
Independence Day fills the air with patriotism as people from all sections of the society hoist the national flag with much enthusiasm and zeal, with the tricolour adorning every nook and corner – from houses and schools to cars, shops and institutions. However, the very next day, the national ‘pride' ends up as littering the ground, lying limp in city gutters or burnt with garbage, because not many people know how to respectfully dispose off the national flag, not many of us know that it is our 'duty' to ensure that the national flag is not disrespected.
The National Flag is a symbol of the Nation's respect and pride. There is no denying that of late there has been a liberal use of the flag on Independence Day and a new trend of selling flags made up of paper and plastic. With a sense of national pride, people enthusiastically buy such flags but the very next day, we find these flags being trampled upon the road, in dustbins and elsewhere. People forget that in their eagerness to ‘show' solidarity with their motherland, they are insulting the flag.
As part of our social responsibility, IndiaFirst took the initiative of disposing the tricolour with due respect and dignity, and in the process we were able to raise awareness amongst citizens about their duty towards the national flag. On the Independence day evening and the next morning, our volunteers picked up flags from various places like markets, local trains, traffic signals and malls across cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. On the first day itself, close to 3.4 lakh flags had been collected, which were later disposed of according to the Government of India's official protocol, without hurting anyone's sentiments or bring any disrespect to our national flag. Not only were we able to serve the nation in our own discrete way, but it also rendered us an opportunity to make people aware of their duty. A damaged flag or one that is in a tattered condition should be buried as a whole in private and preferably by respectful methods consistent with its dignity. Besides, information regarding how to respect the national flag were also shared, for instance, where to hoist a national flag, the suitable height at which it should be hoisted, not letting the flag fall on the ground or being crumpled or trampled upon, not letting children play with it as a toy, avoid buying or using the flags made of plastic, not to pin up flags on shirt pockets, not to use the flag as a banner or for decoration purpose, not to join cloth pieces to resemble the National Flag etc.
With this activity we reiterated the question that almost everyone us has asked at some point of our lives -Patriotism is not for a single day, is it? Our national flag deserves to be treated with "dignity, loyalty and respect". It needs to be respected throughout the year, every day and every moment. If we don't respect it who will?