Speaking of flags…

On 26 January, 2001, three activists of an organisation called Rashtrapremi Yuva Dal entered the premises of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Nagpur to pay homage to its Dr Keshav Hedgewar.

After a few minutes, the three activists — Baba Mendhe, Ramesh Kalambe and Dilip Chattani–started chanting patriotic slogans and took out the Tiranga. Guess what happened next?

First, the in charge of the RSS premises Sunil Kathle tried to prevent the activists from hoisting the national flag. But, when they succeeded in unfurling the Tiranga, the RSS took them to court for it.

For 12 long years, the three Rashtrapremis (those who love their country) were tried by a Nagpur court for hoisting the national flag in the Sangh premises under relevant sections of the Bombay Police Act and the IPC. They were set freejust in time for Independence day in 2013 by the court of RR Lohia for lack of evidence.

That story, via FirstPost. Elsewhere, The Telegraph does the math on tokenism:

The total cost of installing similar flags in all these centrally funded higher education institutions, including the 40 central varsities, will come to Rs 185 crore in the first year.

WHAT Rs 185cr CAN DO OTHERWISE

• Fund full scholarships for all IIT students for two years — with some cash left in the kitty. (The student fees are Rs 90,000 a year at present, and the IITs admit just under 10,000 students each year)

• Pay almost the entire Rs 195-crore annual budget for skill-based higher education, including community colleges, one of the Prime Minister’s pet projects

• Pay three-fourths of the central government’s entire higher education scholarship budget — Rs 243 crore last year

• Fund, with a few crores to spare, the central government’s total annual budget of Rs 180 crore on information and communication technology at all universities and colleges

• Provide more than one-and-a-half times the Rs 112-crore budget allocation last year for the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which boasts 4 million students at present and is India’s largest engine of access to higher education.

But wait — on social media, the question being asked was: A series of measures was announced at the Conference of Central University VCs (by all accounts, a total fun-fest that put participants to sleep), so why pick on the flag to the exclusion of all else (‘…you libtard anti-national so and so, you’)?

Um — because universities (including JNU) already fly the national flag, maybe? Hence the questioning — which is not about whether the flag the RSS abhors should fly atop our apex educational institutions, but whether it is worth expending crores on surplus tokenism.

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