The Union HRD Minister, Mrs. Smriti Irani in a meeting held with 46 vice chancellors of the Central Universities across the country at Surajkund, Haryana, mandated that the Indian tricolour should be hoisted at all the Central universities. The tricolour should be hosted on a 207 feet long pole and it would weigh 125 kgs. The cost of installing the tricolour would be 45 lakhs and it would require a monthly upkeep of approximately Rs.65000/-. The flag would signify a strong India and would instill a sense of unity and integrity amongst students. The wordings of the resolution had a nationalistic flair to it. The resolution read as follows, “At a central place in every university, the national flag will be flown prominently and proudly”.
The government was rattled by the sudden spurt of anti-national sentiments across the country. The country was on the boil following the suicide of Rohith Vemula, then the anti-national slogans at JNU university , followed by the demand for ‘azadi’ at Jadavpur university. The cauldron was being stirred and the anti-national fire was getting stoked. There was indeed a fear that the sparks from JNU would be carried via social media to other parts of the country. The Government feared a conflagration and hence the need for this mandate.
The Indian flag, barring the armed forces does not form part of the daily lives of most of the Indians. It suddenly shoots into prominence on Independence day and Republic day, to again fade into oblivion later. However, one thing, that we all need to be conscious of is the feelings, that are evoked when we see the National flag fluttering away proudly in the wind. A ‘true’ Indian, either gets goose bumps, feels a choke at his throat, or tears simply well up in her eyes. The immediate slogans that come to our mind are ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ or ‘Vande Mataram’. Do we ever think about such slogans like, “Cheen ke lenge Azaadi”, “Lad ke leenge Azaadi”, “India Go back”,”Bharat ki barbadi tak jang rahegi..Jang rahegi”…. Off course not.
Several questions come to our mind when we think about this mandate.
Was this a knee jerk reaction of the government ? Would the flag result in stamping out the anti-national sentiment and result in an imposed nationalism , which the rebel happy current generation would object?
This was a calculated move by the Central Government and according to me a correct, non-controversial one. Nationalism is above, caste, creed and religion. This is a tiny step of the government in the right direction. India is far better placed than its Asian counterparts in terms of National security. The environment is conducive for learning and education, which is not prevalent in some of the other Asian countries. This conducive environment needs to be preserved and nurtured. The unknown, unnamed soldier guards our borders, and owes his allegiance to the Indian flag. The tricolour on the campus may not be able to plant the seed of Nationalism in all the students, but even if it succeeds in influencing some of them, then it is a gain for our country.
We should not look at this as ‘Imposed Nationalism’, rather we should look at this as a course correction, if at all we are going down the wrong path. This mandate is also a signal from the centre that, they are here to conserve the unity of the country. Any Activity which is anti-national cannot be condoned under the garb of ‘freedom of expression’. There can be a discussion on the pros or cons of a person being hanged, whether proper judicial protocol was followed, whether all evidences in favour and against were examined before the court came to a conclusion, but anti-national slogans demanding fragmentation of the country, slogans sympathising with the convicts cause and pledging to complete his mission that he had set out to do, is a definite and an emphatic NO, and they should be nipped in bud.
Why do we need such a huge flag at the height of 207 feet to evoke nationalism amongst students ? Is this a prohibitive cost, which could have been used elsewhere for the betterment of students?
The government wanted this flag to symbolize a strong and united India. Any symbol needs to leave an imprint on our mind, and the human mind is easily overawed by the sheer size of any structure. The plastic flags that we get on Independence days and Republic days, are easily misused and thrown away carelessly after the ceremonies are over. This flag, however is here to stay. It will be permanent and will stand as a faithful sentinel overlooking the future of our country. Any cost that is incurred for this, is an investment and cannot be prohibitive and should not be looked at as such.
To sum up, would this move result in prevention of Anti national slogans and anti-national activities on our universities ? – May be yes, May be No.
Has the government got it’s act right and intentions correct? – A definite Yes!.