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An unflagging obsession

We all love our national flag — a few of us a little more than the other. But nobody, and we mean nobody, is quite as obsessive about it as RK Pandey.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2008 22:24 IST

We all love our national flag — a few of us a little more than the other. But nobody, and we mean nobody, is quite as obsessive about it as RK Pandey. Mr Pandey has been successful at spotting people ‘dishonouring’ the flag as a vampire is good at spotting an open-collared neck showing a thick artery. His ‘victims’: Sania Mirza, Ramdev, Sharmila Tagore, MF Husain, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and the latest, Hamid Kazi, MLA from MP, among others.

The lawyer wants to be given due credit where he sincerely thinks its due, stating that he has “meticulously studied the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, and the Criminal Procedure Code”. But is Mr Pandey being a bit too enthusiastic about fighting baddies who, in his mind, insult the nation by treating the flag in a shabby way? We do think so. Mirza, for instance, was caught in a photograph resting her feet with a tricolour in the frame. Husain had depicted the flag in one of his paintings that wasn’t necessarily a kitschy paean to Bharat Mata.

The law, after much haranguing by commonsensical people, was earlier changed to allow people adorn the tricolour on their selves with some (silly) rules still in place. We know we’re not quite as comfortable in celebrating our patriotism by wearing a national flag as a swimsuit or piece of underclothing. But hell, we love our country and our flag too, without getting totally neurotic — and publicity-seeking — as ‘über-patriot’ RK Pandey.