Tricolour sales soar before I-Day
With Independence Day only two days away, Indians are showing their true patriotic colours and snapping up tricolour flags, particularly those made from hand-spun khadi at the Khadi Gramodyog outlets.
Senior officials of the government-run Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) said hundreds of people were crowding its outlets every day to buy the flags, ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 7,000.
In the run-up to 58th Independence Day on August 15, the maximum rush has been seen at the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place in central Delhi. Demand has been steadily escalating for the last two weeks and the Connaught Place outlet is selling 500 flags a day.
Said an official at the Connaught Place retail outlet: "This year the response has been brilliant. We are selling 500 flags a day, more than what we had sold last year on Independence Day. Last year, the numbers had touched 250 a day."
Its main clientele is government officials, politicians, shopkeepers, representatives of resident welfare associations and educational institutions.
The most popular are the "table flags" that cost Rs 50 in KVIC outlets, but several have also bought the big flag costing Rs 7,000.
The flip side of this obvious show of patriotic fervour is the slump in flags sales in other months of the year.
A salesman at the KVIC outlet in Chandni Chowk in old Delhi said: "The sale of tricolour picks up only during Republic Day on January 26 and Independence Day. There are hardly any customers for the rest of the year."
Though there are no competitors in the market, KVIC has improved the quality of colours and the fabric this year.
Interestingly, Indians didn't always have the right to fly the tricolour. It was thanks to industrialist and now Congress MP Naveen Jindal's crusade to free the flag of official control that gave Indians the right to fly the tricolour at their homes and community events throughout the year.
A 2001 Delhi High Court ruling gave ordinary Indians the right to display the national flag, which was previously reserved for government officials.
Though the central government filed an appeal against the Delhi court's ruling, the Supreme Court maintained earlier this year that it was every citizen's right to hoist the national flag under Article 19 of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression.