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Cheap is not necessarily better when it comes to making the Tiranga. | Photo Credit: V.M. Maninathan[/caption]
In April of the celebratory 75th year of India’s independence, the Centre amended the Flag Code of India and allowed the import and manufacturing of machine-made national flags — made from polyester.
This was meant to celebrate the Tricolour and make it more accessible. But it missed the point: the khadi flag was crucial in its symbolism and to Gandhi’s wish to ensure work for India’s spinners and weavers. In its design, the Tiranga, our national flag, was intended as a metaphor for India and its diverse communities, linked together by the sacred wheel of the Ashoka Chakra.
Equally important to the creators of the flag was its base material. Khadi was the fabric of our freedom movement; the spinning of thread on the charkha
, and the play of warp and weft on the loom, wove together the themes of Swadeshi, our traditional hand crafts, and employment for rural communities, especially women.
For Gandhi and successive post-Independence generations, the flag embodied our identity, our ideals, our hopes and vision for the future. As per the Flag Code of India published in June 1947: “The National Flag of India shall be made of hand-spun and hand-woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting.” Over the years, production of these flags gave work to thousand...