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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cultural Politics of the National Flag

There are certain moments in the cultural and political life of a nation when the national flag comes into prominence. Every Indian is aware that the Prime Minister unfurls the national tricolor from the ramparts of the Red Fort every Independence Day on August 15, and indeed the observance of January 26th as Republic Day goes back to 31 December 1929, when Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the flag of the Indian National Congress, gave a call for purna swaraj, and asked people to observe January 26 as independence day. Most recently, the cremation of Beant Singh reminded us that the honored dead are honored with the flag, and that if the national flag is attendant upon the birth of a nation, it equally accompanies in death those whose lives are construed as being symbolic of the nation.

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