The ambitious Har Ghar Tiranga campaign spearheaded by the central government as part of the 75th year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations is being actively promoted in Karnataka. However, after controversies over the quality and disproportionate size of the flags being printed and distributed, the campaign has hit a stumbling block in several villages over the lack of flagpoles.
District block education officers (BEOs), who have been entrusted the task of reaching out to students and their parents to encourage their participation in hoisting flags as part of the campaign, say that a lack of flagpoles could hinder villagers from hoisting the flag appropriately.
Authorities in Ramanagara district are ensuring that flags are hoisted on poles that can withstand strong winds. “Most of the houses in the rural region do not have poles to hoist the flag. We want to ensure that flags are hoisted on poles and not on any weak material that can lead to the tricolour being carried away (in the wind) and cause an insult to the campaign and the flag. We are encouraging parents and students to hoist the flag as much as possible on a proper pole and in the right manner,” a BEO officer in Ramanagara district said, adding that hoisting flags on weak sticks or sticking it out from rooftops can be an “insult” to the tricolour.
Abdul Salman, a social activist based in Chitradurga, said, “Although the campaign is a welcome move, it is a first time experience for people. Villagers who live in small houses with little resources cannot afford poles to hoist the flag. In fact, some villagers are now spending extra money to make arrangements for poles to ensure the flags are hoisted correctly. Some are planning to leave it hanging by the door.”
Veeranna, BEO officer of Kalaburagi taluk, said, “It is true that there are no poles in households but we are creating a maximum reach to ensure flags are hoisted correctly. We are ensuring that polyester flags are distributed so that parents and students can fly them on their rooftops. Such materials are vulnerable to winds, but we are talking to parents about hoisting the flags appropriately at rooftops or by hanging it by the door.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Public Instruction, Belagavi, Basavaraj Nalatawad has assured that he will be writing to the deputy commissioner of the district to check on the availability of poles to hoist the flag in houses in rural regions.
“If we have to get a pole, weld it and hoist the flag, it would cost at least Rs 5,000 and we cannot afford so much,” Pathiyanayak, a farmer from Chitradurga, said. “There is definitely a dearth in resources to hoist the flag but we will make do with whatever the gram panchayat provides,” he added.