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The dialogue

india Updated: Aug 10, 2008 20:44 IST

Hindustan Times
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Have you heard about this 13-year-old from Vadodara who’s written to the district collector about how on August 15 and January 26 everyone’s saluting the national flag and the days after, they’re all walking over it?
Hmm, yes. The boy’s name is Zubin Bhatt and he’s finally realised his dream.

What? Making his concern as a patriot be heard?
No, his dream to make it to the papers.

How can you be so cynical! The boy has a point. After all those paper and plastic flags being bought at street crossings and fluttered about, the next day they’re just lying in the gutters.
I agree that they should be put in a dustbin after the waving is done.

All you can think of is littering?! Do you know that the 2002 Flag Code of India prohibits the denigration of the flag and can get a violator into trouble.
By violating you mean...?

The flag can’t touch the ground or water, can’t be used as a tablecloth or be draped in front of a platform, cover a statue or a plaque.
Is this okay? [Shows the back of his t-shirt that has an Indian flag on it].

Um, how long have you had this t-shirt?
Since 2001 actually. What’s that got to do with anything?

Oh, well, until 2005, the national flag could not be used in any clothing, uniform or costume.
What?! Not even if I’m wearing it on my chest to show that my heart brims with patriotism?

Er, no. Which is why in 2005, the government changed the Flag Code and allowed it to be worn.
Phew! But I actually prefer the texture of this [drops his trousers and shows off a pair of tricolour chaddis]...

[Sirens in the background] It’s the flag police! You’re in for it now! What the amended code still prohibits is wearing the tricolour below the waist or as underclothing.
Can’t I say this is the Irish flag? I just have to turn it around and cut out the Ashok Chakra!

Don’t say: Is that a national flag or are you just happy to see me?
Do say: Thank god for Zubin Bhatt. He saved the dignity of this glorious nation.