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It fills me with immense pride and joy as India celebrates its 75th year of Independence. As a country, we proudly and rightfully claim that we are the world’s largest democracy. Yet, the most solemn symbol of our country, our national flag which we lovingly call the Tiranga, was perhaps truly democratized only on 23 January 2004. A date when the Supreme court of India gave me and every Indian the right to display the national flag with due respect at offices and homes, after a 10 year long legal battle.

Incidentally, 23 January is also the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who is an inspiration for every Indian, a day celebrated as Parakram Diwas. He also fought a long battle against British rule to bring alive a free democratic Indian state.

The Tiranga for me is not only the solemn symbol of the Indian state, but also the most powerful representation of the idea of India. An idea which is enshrined in our Constitution. An idea which the country’s founding fathers dreamt of, fought for, and which ultimately became the guiding principle of India’s Constitution. An idea which is perhaps best reflected by a few lines of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear And the head is held high.

In the historic Tryst with Destiny speech delivered by India’s first Prime Minister on 15 August 1947, he mentioned, “We have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world."

I think after 75 years, these dreams for India are being realized under the unifying symbol of our Tiranga.

Many people have asked me about the inspiration for my Tiranga legal battle. It was triggered in the United States as a student. I used to see many American students display their national flag with pride everywhere. I began to display the Indian Tricolour in my room in the university I was attending. The practice I developed of displaying my national flag daily in the US was a life-changing moment for me, for it sparked something much deeper and bigger within my conscience.

When I returned to India in 1992, I started hoisting the national flag daily on our steel plant premises in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. One day, government officials prohibited me from doing so, citing government regulations and the flag code of India. I went to court to get my right to display the flag, and ultimately after 10 years of struggle, won the case in the Supreme Court for every Indian. I always felt that if I cannot display my national flag in my own country with respect, then how can I live and be guided by the ideals of our Flag that represents the Constitution.

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has very aptly named and issued a national call for celebrating the 75th year of independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. This clarion call is to express our gratitude for the sacrifice of thousands of our freedom fighters who gave the supreme sacrifice to give us all a free country and a better future. The celebrations will culminate with the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign from 13-15 August 2022 across the country. This is an occasion to take a national pledge to be united and contribute to the progress of the nation by rising above caste, colour, creed, religion and political affiliations.

I remember, in the early days there were many doubts in the minds of people about the size, dimension, timings, and place of display for the Tiranga.

To clear those doubts, I set up the Flag Foundation of India in 2005 along with my wife Shallu Jindal. Its primary objective was to spread the values symbolized by the Tiranga and dispel any misconceptions. Since its inception, Flag Foundation of India has hoisted close to 100 flags at monuments across the country, and out of those, 13 are 207- feet high. I am happy that today more than 600 monumental flags have been installed so far in India.

To create greater awareness about the Tiranga, the Flag Foundation of India made representations to the Union home ministry, requesting the government to clear all doubts over the display of our national flag. Here again, I appreciate that the government has made necessary amendments to the Flag code of India, as it deemed fit.

With the new notifications, now the national flag can be hoisted day and night. It also allows the flag to be displayed in khadi as well as polyester fabrics. Here I wish to say that this is a progressive step in democratizing the Tiranga. As a fabric, khadi was a symbol of India’s freedom struggle. However, with changing times, we must be pragmatic and forward looking. I am confident that with these notifications, the spirit of nation building will be strengthened further and Har Ghar Tiranga will be a reality.

In conclusion, I believe that if each one of us works honestly and does our duty well, then together we can build a nation of our dreams. The Tiranga will always be the inspiration and unifying symbol under which the country will march forward towards its 100th Independence day with pride and glory. Jai Hind!

Naveen Jindal is president, Flag Foundation Of India, and chairman, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

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