Purnia trader turns rag picker for preserving tricolour’s dignity

After every Republic Day and Independence Day, Purnia businessman Anil Choudhary sets out collecting small tricolours strewn around at various places and quietly immerses them into river “with honours”. The district police have now acknowledged his contribution.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2017 16:05 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Purnia
rag picker,Purnia businessman,Republic Day
Businessman Anil Choudhary sits with his family sifting the tricolour.(Aditya Nath Jha/HT photo)

Anil Choudhary, 40, is not a rag picker by profession. He is a successful businessman but does the rag picker’s job for the sake of the tricolour’s dignity.

After every Republic Day and Independence Day, the soft spoken Choudhary sets out collecting small tricolours strewn around at various places and quietly immerses them into river “with honour.”

The small tricolours, made of plastic and papers, flood the market just before the two national festivals, but are found carelessly strewn on roads after that - in what is an insult to the national flag.

“About a decade ago, I saw national flags scattered on streets and roads during my morning walk. I was so shocked that I decided to do something for the dignity of the tricolour,” Choudhary, a resident of Vivekanand Colony at Purnia, about 370 kms from Patna, said.

“During a 15-day campaign after every national festival, we collect over 5,000 small flags from streets and roads,” Choudhary said, adding that his family and many other youngsters now help him in the job.

“I saw Anil bhaiya picking up national flags from streets and decided to join his campaign,” Gaurav Dutta, a final year student of Purnia College said. “I feel proud that I am doing something for my nation,” he added.

Choudhary, who runs a packaged drinking water business, said his father, the late Bindeshwari Prasad Choudhary, an ex-serviceman and a 1971 war veteran, had instilled patriotic fervor in him and his siblings. “One of my brothers is a trainer with the BSF in Nagaland,” he added.

His mother, Geeta Devi, 65, said she was happy that her children were carrying the family legacy of bravery and patriotism. “We unfurl the tricolour on the rooftop of our house every Independence Day and Republic Day,” she added.

The district police have also acknowledged Choudhary’s efforts. “Purnia superintendent of police Nishant Tiwary came to know about my campaign last August. Later, Purnia range deputy inspector general Upendra Kumar Sinha felicitated me for my work,” he said.

More than the felicitation, Choudhary wants people to show respect to the national flag. “It is one thing that unifies us irrespective of our caste and religion,” he said.

First Published: Feb 02, 2017 16:05 IST