The largest Indian national flag on the tallest mast was hoisted on Saturday at the historical Pahari Mandir here by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in presence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and other leaders. The earliest tallest flag pole was in Faridabad.
While Pahari Mandir is known for its historical temple of Lord Shiva, it was also used by the British to hang freedom fighters. Incidentally, the sturdy 293-feet flagpole has been procured from Walmart’s India unit in Pune. As a mark of respect to those freedom fighters, the national flag is traditionally raised at the temple every Republic Day and Independence Day.
Parrikar also laid online foundation of the Jharkhand Raksha Shakti University, making the state the third in India to begin working on the project to set up defence universities at various places in the country.
Parrikar and Das reached the Pahari Mandir on Ratu Road within the city around 10.30 a.m. and hoisted the 60-kg flag with dimensions of 66-feet-by-99-feet. The flag pole stands at 293-feet (earlier highest in Faridabad was 250-feet) and is at 493-feet from the ground level. The flag was sent up with the help of a motorised mechanism, amid presence of large number of school students and supporters.
Explaining how the concept of the largest flag came into being, Officer-on-Special-Duty (Pahari Mandir Vikas Samiti), Amit Kumar, who was then the Sub-Divisional Officer (Ranchi), and the brainchild behind the conception, said: “We were planning for renovation of the Mandir. Since, the national flag is traditionally hoisted here on every Indepedence Day and Republic Day, we thought why not make it a permanent and a grand feature. This happened in May.” The Pahari Mandir Vikas Samiti comprises government officials, who manage its affairs.
“Among the foremost tasks was testing of the soil and creating anchors and a strong platform for the flag pole to be installed. Then, we needed a high quality flagpole, which is 293-feet. So, we floated a tender and the award went to the Indian unit of Walmart – which met our specifications for the flagpole. The flagpole was made and then brought in from Pune,” said Kumar. Deepak Agarwal, the technical advisor for the project, added that nearly 40 workers were involved in preparing the flag and the entire work was done in Mumbai.
Legend has it that more than 250 freedom fighters were hanged from Pahari Mandir by the British, as a result of which it also came to be known as “Phansi Tinguri” (roughly translated as hanging hill).
“It is a proud moment for me. I have seen the Union Jack being taken down and the Tri-colour being raised on August 15, 1947, at the Mandir. But this moment is also unmatched in its feeling,” said P D Sakhuja (85), who attended the function. He was 16 then.
Speaking at the public function at Birsa Munda Football stadium, Parrikar lauded the efforts of the Jharkhand government, officials and the Mandir Vikas Samiti. Maintaining that the spirit of Republic Day was visible three days before, on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Parrikar said: “Jharkhand has given a lot to the country. It has not been able to develop up to its potential. It is time the country gave back to Jharkhand. I can assure that there will be no hindrance to its development and whatever help is needed from our side, it will be given. He said the upcoming defence university would be a fitting tribute to Param Vir Chakra awardee Albert Ekka.
Das, while lauding the spirit of nationalism created by the hoisting of the flag, said that he would try to get the defence university going from the 2016-17 session itself, even as its building is likely to be completed in two-year time.