Heights of nationalism: India, Pakistan set for ‘flag war’ at Attari-Wagah border for I-Day
The war without bloodshed is over who can hoist its flag higher, on the Attari-Wagah border near Amritsar.punjab Updated: Aug 11, 2017 20:48 IST
A war will mark Independence Day — August 14 for Pakistan, a day later for India — for the two countries that will complete 70 years of freedom from British rule, and of the partition that carved their borders, next week. This war without bloodshed is over who can hoist its flag higher, on the Attari-Wagah border near Amritsar.
India’s tallest Tricolour, which was fluttering at 360 feet in Attari village, has been out of sight for the past three months as it tore often due to strong winds. But the government has decided to hoist the flag once again, especially around Independence Day, as Pakistan has plans to hoist the “world’s eighth tallest” flag, that is “taller than the Indian flag”, on August 14.
This competitive nationalism was initiated by BJP leader Anil Joshi — during his stint as minister in the Punjab government — who got the Indian flag installed at the record height in a Rs 3.5-crore project. Replacements have cost at least Rs 6 lakh.
Considering the height a challenge, Pakistan decided to hoist a taller flag opposite it, in a park adjacent to the Wagah checkpost. The pole has been erected. Media reports in Pakistan say it is 400 feet tall, and will have a 120 feet wide flag hoisted on August 14.
The Indian authorities, now, are gearing up to hoist the Tricolour on August 13, a day before Pakistan’s move. Earlier plans for August 15 were changed to be ahead on this count, said sources. It will be taken down on August 16 for the same reasons for which it was removed before — strong winds leading to damage and expensive replacement . Amritsar deputy commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha confirmed the plans, but added, “The flag is not being hoisted permanently, because we are yet to find a way to make that sustainable.”
Denying any competition with the neighbour, the DC said, “We should not consider what Pakistan is doing. We should only give out a positive message.”
First Published: Aug 11, 2017 20:48 IST