Malick Asghar Hashmi/Malerkotla
The Muslim artisans of this region in Punjab who are known for making ceremonial flags, insignia and badges for the Indian Army are now busy making the tricolor for Har Ghar Tiranga campaign that envisages citizens across India hoisting the national flag at their houses from August 13 to 15, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Independence day.
As the demand for the tricolour jumped, the makers of flags and barges got busy manufacturing the tricolours and these are being sent across to Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.
Locals say the work of flag making has increased by 80 percent and they are working round the clock to meet the challenge.
So far, Malerkotla artisans have despatched one lakh flags to different parts of the country while orders for the same numbers are being processed. The artisans, mostly Muslims say “they are proud to see their major role in making the Har ghar tiranga campaign successful.”
The demand for the tricolor has gained so much momentum that the NN Embroidery Company, which does the business of making flags and army badges, has also started manufacturing the national flag. According to its CEO Mohammad Naseem, earlier orders for the tricolor used to come from the military and security forces for occasions including Independence Day and Republic Day. This time, the demand is so high that it’s a challenge to cope with the demand.
Mostly, all the members of the artisans’ families are engaged in this work and the work goes on round the clock. As the demand for cloth for making tricolour has increased, so have the prices.
Despite this, his enthusiasm for making the tricolor has not diminished. The artisans say though the margins of profit have slightly dipped because of the cost of the cloth, for them “it’s not always about making a profit.”
The readers must have noticed flags in army vehicles, inside officers of the Army and These are embroidered with threads of silver, golden and other colors. All these are manufactured by the artisans of Malerkotlay.
Shabina, who has been doing embroidery work for a decade, claimed no other artisan community can compete with hers’ in the quality of the embroidery. The trend of embroidery on the flag is very old and therefore generations of Malerkotla families have been involved in this work. Sahiba says the embroidery is done on all kinds of fabrics terry cotton, satin, and khadi.
Right now, even she has shifted to making the tricolours.
Artisan Tahir Mohammad says that for him, love for the country and service to the country is paramount. It is a matter of pride for them to make the tricolor. He does more work making army badges. This time the work of making tricolour is much more than in previous years.
The artisans are still receiving orders from across the country and the target is to despatch all orders by August 10.
Businessmen Mohammad Salim and Mohammad Ashraf told the media that it making embroidered flags is timne consuming. Only 20-25 embroidered flags can be made in a day and their price of each ranges between Rs 400 to Rs 750.
A tricolour of 2 x 3 square feet is being made for hoisting on houses, 6 by 4 square feet for government offices and other places, and 8 by 12 square feet for the ground.