At Dyanesh Battin’s Shudh Khadi Bhandar store in Dadar, cloth national flags are only sold on Independence Day and Republic Day, and remain in a corner during the rest of the year.
In the past three days, however, the store’s khadi tricolours have been in great demand as cricket fans across the city came streaming in to buy the most eye-catching symbol of their patriotism ahead of the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final.
Now, with Team India set to play Saturday’s final in Mumbai itself, Battin has run out of stock.
“The sale of the Indian flag has been simply marvellous during this World Cup,” said Battin, whose store is a franchisee of the government-run Khadi Gram Udyog store in Fort.
“In just two days, we sold more than 300 tricolours, and the demand is intensifying now that we are in the final,” he added.
Khadi Gram Udyog is the only outfit authorised by the Indian government to manufacture and sell the tricolour, using clearly specified fabric and measurements.
In Mumbai, the flags are stitched in a Borivli factory, but to make up for the sudden supply shortage, Battin is calling for flags from factories in other states.
Though unauthorised tricolours made of different fabrics are available even in roadside markets such as Fashion Street, Santacruz-based cricket buff Pranav Premnarayen claims he would always pick a khadi flag over synthetic ones.
“It’s an old-school flag with an authentic look, and it comes with the rope as well as space for a rod,” said Premnarayen, 30, who bought his Khadi Bhandar flag before a one-day India-Sri Lanka match in Mumbai back in 1999.
“I have taken that flag to scores of India matches around the country and even abroad, and as usual, I will wave it in Wankhede on Saturday,” said the advertising professional who has already seen three World Cup 2011 matches live in the stadiums.