Disposal of damaged or soiled Indian National Flag

The Indian National Flag is an icon of our freedom and justice. It is our country's pride and honour. Therefore we should show due respect to our Indian Tricolour. This respect is not only limited to properly hoisting or displaying the National Flag but also extends to ultimate retirement and disposal of the flag. Quite sadly this is not followed by many in India. Many times it has been observed that individuals, both general and government have disposed of the National Tricolour in a very shameful manner. It is for this reason the Indian Government has laid down specific instructions in the Flag Code of India, 2002 for respectfully disposing of the Indian National Flag.

Come the Indian Republic Day or the Indian Independence Day and we are all filled with patriotism. Most of us are seen holding the Indian Tricolour to show our love towards our country. But the very next day our patriotism seems to disappear and the flags that we were holding in our hands on the Indian Republic Day or the Indian Independence Day are seen lying on the ground or in the gutter or simply left to be trampled upon by the passersby. People do not care or have the courtesy to dispose of these flags in a dignified manner. Or perhaps most people are not aware of how to dispose of damaged or soiled national flag.

National Flags that are torn, soiled or damaged beyond repair should be disposed of in a respectful manner. As per Flag Code of India, 2002, when it comes to disposing the Indian National Flag respectfully, we can either burn the Flag or bury it under the ground. If we choose to burn the damaged flag then there are certain etiquettes that we need to observe. First of all we need to locate a clean place where we can burn the damaged flag. After creating the fire we need to put the flag in the middle of the flame. Never place the flag into the fire without folding it first. It signifies disregard towards the National Tricolour and also towards our country. As the flag is burning, we should refrain from cracking jokes, chit chatting or be involved in any kind of distraction. Instead we should observe a moment of silence to show respect to our national pride. We can choose to salute the flag while it is being burnt in the flame. When the flag is fully burnt we need to put out the fire completely. Make sure that no fire remains. Always follow proper fire safety protocols while burning the National Flag.

If for some reason we are unable to dispose of the National Flag by burning then we can bury them. For burying the flag we need to first fold the flag respectfully and then place it inside a dignified wooden box. After that we need to bury the box in the earth. We should avoid making jokes, chit chatting or allow any kind of distraction when the flag is being buried but observe a moment of silence. One can also mark the burial site of the flag with a small, respectful stone or wooden marker.

One can choose either of the above mentioned ways for disposing the Indian National Flag that are damaged beyond repairs. Whatever we choose it should be done in a dignified manner so that our deeds may not hurt the respect and sentiments of other people towards the National Tricolour.

Our Indian National Flag is more than a piece of cloth. It is the symbol of loyalty, liberty and justice. It represents the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers to preserve the pride and honour of our beautiful country. Hence, we should duly comply with the instructions that are mentioned in the Flag Code of India, 2002 for disposing of the Indian National Flag in a dignified manner.

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