A café in Madhya Pradesh has launched a unique "respect the flag" campaign, offering free beverages to any one who brings in national flags dumped on the roadside after the Republic Day celebrations.
Saurabh Shrivastava, owner of Indore-based café Mangosteen eco-lifestyle, said the idea was to collect flags bought by people on occasions like Republic Day and Independence Day and then tossed away unceremoniously.
"People disrespect the flag once the festivities are over. One can find flags lying on the streets or in trash bins. So, it is for this reason that we decided to come up with this plan," said Shrivastava.
He said he got the idea when he was passing by a school on Monday evening. He was moved to see flags lying by the roadside in the evening.
The café will offer tea in exchange for flags brought in between 8pm and 11pm every day. "We expect to collect 200-odd flags," Shrivastava said.
But what will the café do with the flags? Shrivastava said the flags would be used to decorate the walls and tables whenever the café screened football, cricket and hockey matches. On a regular day too, the flags would be displayed on walls and shelves with respect.
Sonali Choudhary, who was the first to visit the café with a flag, said, "It is an interesting campaign. We all can participate as a token of respect to the national flag."
Shrivastava said the national flag should always be treated with respect. "You can’t burn them, you can’t throw them into water or to the winds. The best way is to find a creative way to keep the flags with respect. I hope the campaign would go a long way in educating people about the necessity to respect the flag."
What if the cafe gets more flags than it can keep? "We will find more creative ways then," he said with a smile.