The independence day is less than a fortnight away. In a few days, you will see small boys and girls selling plastic flags at every traffic signal. And on the independence day, most autorickshaws, scooters, cars and bikes will have a plastic tri-colour stuck to the mirror or glass window.
The flag produced in plastic is an anti-thesis of the values that it stands for. A campaign to ban plastic national flags could be a richly symbolic starting point of a wider debate on related issues – of modernity, nationalism, and development. Our national flag is a symbol of the nation’s philosophy: self- reliance, freedom, resistance against imperialism, purity, non- violence, inter-connectedness. The natural fibres woven together represent the merging of cultures, identities, skills and perceptions. The flag in plastic is a perfect symbol of the inauthenticity of our times. The harmful material, the mass manufacture, the marketing of “love for the country”, all of it is like a confession of the nation’s guilt.
For glorifying any big political event, such as welcoming visiting leaders, political parties tie a large number of plastic flags on threads across major roads and traffic circles. The event over, these flags, made of a thin plastic film, become useless and find their way to dustbins, thus adding to an already alarming level of plastic pollution.
The increasing amount of non-biodegradable plastic in the soil has caused a hindrance to percolation of water. Plastic must be banned before it leads to further damage. The disposal of waste plastic is the most common problem faced by many industries, shops and houses. People must therefore segregate the waste material before dumping them into garbage bins, to help make the clearing process easier. This man-made ‘nuisance’ called plastic, has to be eradicated. Children must be made aware of the harmful effects of plastic waste and discourage them from plastic usage.
Unfortunately, nobody defines patriotism to mean caring about people’s basic needs.