It’s no secret that the omnipresent Chinese goods, mainly fake versions of your favourite brands-be it garments, toys, computer hardware, I-pods, chocolates and even cell phones are available at throwaway prices in the Indian markets. But now, even the Tricolour comes with the ‘Made in China’ tag.
Nestled in a narrow bylane at Abdul Rehman Street near Bhaji Pala market in Crawford Market are quaint little shops selling ‘Made in China’ India flags. While the original Tricolour of the Indian make is costly, made from hand spun khadi, cotton and silk, buyers can now opt for a cheaper cotton Chinese version, priced at Re 1 per flag.
Interestingly, during the second August Kranti, Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, there was a huge demand for the ‘Made in China’ Indian flags.
In their frenzy to raise slogans, protesters didn’t realise that the Tricolour they were waving with gusto were fake versions or a pale imitation of the original flag. According to the Indian Flag Code of India, our national emblem, the Ashok Chakra-a 24-spoke wheel-is present on the flag, representing the eternal wheel of law. However, some protesters during Anna Hazare’s movement realized to their utter horror that the flags they were patriotically waving had only 18 spokes instead of 24.
Said Ruben Mascarenhas, youth co-ordinator, India Against Corruption, “During the time, it became a campaign paraphernalia which included placards, Anna caps and national flags. A large number of people who brought these flags to Azad Maidan had only 18 spokes in the Ashok Chakra.
We disposed it off and it was not displayed in public, as it was a dishonour to our national flag. On further inquiries, we found out that flags were all sold out in most Khadi Gramodyog shops, while the other local made flags were priced much higher (three times more) than during the recent World Cup frenzy. Chinese flags were sold at a nominal price. It was more economical for people to go in for these flags.”