I always look up at our tri-colour flag with immense pride. Have you ever wondered where they are made? Let’s find out!
Tulasigeri village in Bagalkot of Karnataka is where the khadi cloth required for the national flag is woven. The stitching is then done at the Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha in Hubballi, also in Karnataka.
For years now, the flags that are hoisted at the Red Fort and other government installations come from these units in Karnataka.
According to a report published by The Hindu, the Sangha was established in 1957 by freedom fighter Venkatesh Magadi and his patriotic friends. The Sangha has several Khadi Sanghas affiliated to it and has been doing a commendable job in popularising khadi. These efforts helped it bag the flag-manufacturing unit in 2005, which started supplying the tricolour flags to the nation in 2006.
The Better India spoke to H N Antin, who has worked at the flag-making unit for over three decades in various capacities. Having held the position of Manager for over two decades, he retired as the Secretary of the ‘The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangh (KKGSS)’. Having retired from all positions last year, he tells us about the glorious journey of the unit.
He says, “We have a dedicated unit concentrating on making the flags. On an average, about three crore flags were made in the last 13 years. The unit has around 50 spinners, 30 weavers, and 25 people who do the stitching. Most of the members who do the stitching are women.”
With pride, he continues, “The flags that are made at the unit are dispatched to all state governments. They flutter at all official events, government buildings, Indian embassies across the world, as well as at schools, village halls and on official vehicles. We have to take utmost care to ensure that we adhere to all the guidelines. Even a slight error means that the piece is rejected. We do not rely on machines, and everything is handmade.”
A report published by NDTV states that the guidelines in the national flag code of India and from the Bureau of Indian Standards are strict, covering everything from the exact shades to the stitching size.
Antin says, “Apart from the flag, the KKGS produces other products, including clothes, carpets, bags, caps and bed-sheets made of khadi, soaps, hand-made paper and processed honey.”
So the next time you look up at the national flag, do think of the men and women who work tirelessly to ensure that they invoke pride in us.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)