Schools take the onus of inscribing young souls with reverence towards the National Flag on themselves. Other social factors aid in developing a sense of pride in the minds of children, a feeling of ownership, of belongingness about the symbol that flies high.
But by no means does this fable get reflected along the dusty road in a village in rural India. The national flag stands just as tall as a couple of other flags with political colours, with one of those occupying the centre stage. Rested on the base of the pole is a metal bar that seems to have been forsaken from the remains of some ancient building. Right next to the Flag post is a tea stall where people gather to discuss local politics. Apparently, one of its customers has parked his bicycle right there, where in schools, students would witness their Physical Training instructor help their Principal hoist the flag. At the backdrop adorns an abandoned bus stop that has somehow managed to survive the vagaries of nature. At the other side of the flag pole is a broken bench, claiming its rightful place – the garbage collection point ranges for a few square feet around the flag pole.
Talking of students, hundreds of them pass along the road on their way to and from schools. Quite possibly, the folks in the schools do it right when it gets to the tradition about the tri-colour. But the myth is busted by the abundant evidence to the contrary, out of the school campuses in the ‘real world’. I can imagine a child scorn at the idea of the ritualistic assembly where he/she is made to toil for an indefinitely long period in the scorching heat, only to witness a weird, funny episode that culminates in saluting a dirty piece of cloth that the child gets to see everyday on top of the roadside dustbin.