The Telangana government tied itself into all sorts of knots by unfurling the largest Indian Tricolour on June 2, to mark its Formation Day. The flag got torn in the wind a day after it was hoisted atop a 275 ft mast, said to be the second tallest in the country. Ever since then, the government has been trying any number of measures to get the ensign back up: patching it up, securing standby flags and so on.
But for all that trouble, the very act of hoisting a huge flag may be a violation of the the National Flag Code, 2002, in fact. Both for its size as well as its material.
However, the Telangana flag is no exception in this matter. The many monumental flags hoisted across India all violate the Flag Code, 2002. For one thing, these flags are made of polyester. But as per the Flag code, “The National Flag of India should be made of hand-spun and hand-woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting." The flag flying atop India’s Parliament is in fact made of khadi.
Commodore (retired) K V Singh of the Flag Foundation of India, an NGO that consults on big flags across India, says it is not possible to make a huge flag made of khadi flutter beautifully in the wind. And the textile gets discolored if kept hoisted for a long time in fact.
Almost all the monumental flags are, therefore, made from knitted polyester, which is a weather-proof fabric. “We did think of using parachute fabric but it is very difficult to print on it,” Commodore Singh he said.
Gyan Shah, the Mumbai flag manufacturer who supplied the largest flag to the Telangana government said it is normal for governments to order knitted polyester flags. Shah said that making a giant monumental flag from cotton or khadi is unviable as the material gets damaged fast. Ever since the first monumental flag was hoisted in Kaithal, Haryana in 2009, knitted polyester has been used.
As per the Flag Code, size too matters. Section 2 of the code says: “On all occasions for official display, only a flag conforming to specifications laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards and bearing their standard mark shall be used. On other occasions also, it is desirable that only such flags of appropriate size are flown.”
The Flag Code specifies nine standard sizes for the national flag, the biggest being 21 ft by 14 ft. The monumental flag in Telangana is more than five times bigger at 108 ft by 72 ft. The other big flags, such as the ones in Delhi, Raipur and Faridabad are also bigger than the specified size.