Are we Indians way too touchy when it comes to the tricolour? If we go by the recent events then yes. A self-styled guardian of national symbols, the Lok Janshakti Party national secretary Ravindra Bramhe, has filed a case against actor Shah Rukh Khan after he stumbled upon an April 3, 2011, video clip showing Mr Khan driving his car carrying the flag upside down after India won the World Cup. He had earlier filed a case against little-known model Gehna Vashist for wearing a tricoloured bikini. Is our notion of patriotism different from other parts of the world, especially the US, where it is considered patriotic to flaunt flag-emblazoned clothing, be it T-shirts, shorts, bikinis, lingerie, shoes, baby outfits, etc?
From Russell Peters' bawdy and politically incorrect jokes to our outpouring of outrage over Mandira's Bedi's Indian flag colo-ured saree, from Sachin Tendulkar cutting a tricolour cake to Sania Mirza allegedly resting her foot on a guitar painted in the tricolour, we seem most prickly about what should be our prime exhibit. Lady Gaga, that icon of rebellion, came around to India sporting a tricolour hairdo, clearly a sign of respect. So what is preventing us from flaunting these colours when we want to without someone losing their shirt over it?
We are all for national pride. And part of this is the right to wave our flag when we please. Or put it up on our homes. Or even wear it if we want in a decent and reverential manner. We have often seen pictures of the British princes wearing waistcoats in colours of the British flag. And they looked downright good in them. The iconic picture of Che Guevara graces just about everything we can think of. So, for those of us who really do love our country, let us be able to show it and not let some killjoy spoil our sense of patriotism.