WANTON EFFACEMENT OF THE NATIONAL FLAG AND THE TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT EMBLEM
V. SUNDARAM I.A.S
The above State Emblem of Tamil Nadu may be seen at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Tamilnadu-Emblem.jpg
This Emblem is depicted on all Tamil Nadu Government buildings and buses run by Tamil Nadu Government transport corporations. I am well and truly shocked to find that all of a sudden this official Government Emblem has been covered up with a sticker showing Tiruvalluvar statue. Why this apparently officially-sponsored defacement of the Indian National flag and the three lion national symbol, together with the gopuram which typify the ancient culture and religion of Tamil Nadu State?
One would normally expect only the Maoists or the Naxalites or some other terrorist organizations like the LTTE to indulge in such acts of wanton vandalism involving blatant defacement of the symbols of state power in Tamil Nadu, but I am shocked to see that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Government officials have acted together to deface the National Flag which is part of the Tamil Nadu Government Emblem. In my view, this action of wholesale deliberate and planned defacement of the Tamil Nadu Government Emblem together with the National Flag which is an inherent and integral part of that sacred Emblem is a cognizable criminal act under The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act, 1950. [Act No. 12 of 1950] and Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
In the Preamble to the 1950 Act, it has been clearly stated that the main objective of this Act is “to prevent the improper use of certain emblems and names for professional and commercial purposes.” The framers of the Act never imagined that 60 years later there would be viciously anti-national and anti-social petty men dressed in brief authority, who would descend to the level of treating the Official Tamil Nadu Government Emblem with such complete dastardly Dravidian derision and contempt.
I can recall a judgment of the Kerala High Court (Eby J. Jose v. Union of India (Radhakrishnan J.) O.P.Nos.17745 & 17747 of 1999. Decided on 11th August, 1999.
The High Court had stated that “whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part there of, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. The expression 'public place' means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the public and includes any public conveyance.”
In states such as the US and France the national flag may implicitly be the centre of the national religion, one that transcends class and creed. Michael Geisler characterised national symbols, such as the flag, as "metaphors to die for" ... and large numbers of people have indeed done so over the past century. Sasha Weitman's 1973 Semiotica article 'National flags: a sociological overview' commented that the flag is so central to the idea of nationhood that it is almost difficult to conceptualize the existence of a nation without one.
National Flag represents the spirit of the nation, its tradition and culture. National Flag reminds every Indian the sacrifices made by our men and women in the freedom struggle and the symbol of hopes and dreams of millions of Indians. It symbolises nation's ideals and aspirations. Our soldiers rally around this Flag to uphold Indian sovereignty, integrity and unity of the nation. However, most of the leading politicians of India – especially the Dravidian politicians from Tamil Nadu – have no respect for the National Flag.
Max Weber (1864-1920) commented that all politics is symbolic, with images, location, personages and words often having significance that is not apparent to an independent observer. Ernst Renan's 1882 Qu'est-ce qu'une nation? characterised a nation as a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in the future. It presupposes a past; it is summarised however in the present by a tangible fact, namely consent --- the clearly expressed desire to continue a common life. A nation's existence is a daily plebiscite just as an individual's existence is a perpetual affirmation of life. I perceive a diabolical Dravidian attempt to deny the glorious religious and cultural past of the Tamil people.
PUBLIC ACTS OF INSULTS TO THESE SYMBOLS OF SOVEREIGNTY AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE NATION MUST BE PREVENTED. Therefore, a bill was introduced, and the Parliament passed the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. As per Section.2 of the Act, whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, have published a Flag Code to make every Indian aware of correct usage, regarding the display of the National Flag. This Code also deals with misuse of Flag.
The Flag shall not be used as a portion of a costume or uniform of any description. It shall not be embroidered upon cushions or handkerchiefs or printed on napkins or boxes. LETTERING OF ANY KIND SHALL NOT BE PUT UPON THE FLAG.
THUS IN MY CONSIDERED VIEW THE STICKER SHOWING TIRUVALLUVAR STATUE THAT HAS BEEN SUPERIMPOSED ON THE TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT’S OFFICIAL EMBLEM CONSTITUTES A DEFACEMENT OF THE NATIONAL FLAG WHICH IS IN VIOLATION OF THE FLAG CODE AND THEREFORE IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENCE UNDER THE PREVENTION OF INSULTS TO NATIONAL HONOUR ACT, 1971.
Picture showing the Chief Minister Dr M. Karunanidhi approving the emblem for the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held at Coimbatore.
DID THE TAMIL NADU CHIEF MINISTER ALSO APPROVE OF THE DEFACEMENT OF THE TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL EMBLEM WITH THE TIRUVALLUVAR EMBLEM OF THE WORLD CLASSICAL TAMIL CONFERENCE? THE TAMIL PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW.
I had sent my photographer today (Thursday, the 27th of May 2010) to take photographs of some of the Government buses plying in Madras city on which the defaced Tamil Nadu State Government Official Emblem could be clearly seen and which could be incorporated in this story. I am presenting below the three photographs taken this morning, one showing the registration number of the state transport bus concerned (TN 01 N 4079), the other showing the defaced Official Emblem of Tamil Nadu Government on the side of that bus and the third one shows how the Tiruvalluvar sticker is falling apart from the Base of the Official Government Emblem.
1. The Registration Number can be seen above
2.The State Government Emblem has been Defaced
with the Thiruvalluvar Sticker
We can clearly the Tiruvalluvar sticker crudely pasted
over the State Government Emblem on one of the State transport buses
Tiruvalluvar certainly symbolises the ever-lasting glory and grandeur Tamil in World Cultural Heritage. But why should any one attempt to reduce such a great savant to a mere disposable sticker? If the intention was to promote the World Classical Tamil Conference, the advertisement could have been posted separately on empty spaces on a public transport bus without defacing the State Government Emblem.
However if the World Classical Tamil Conference has been used a mere pretext to carry out an attack on the hoary Tamil Nadu Temple culture and its gopuram traditions on the one hand and the Official Emblem of the Government of Tamil Nadu on the other, then this calculated assault has to be taken a serious note of and punitive action initiated under The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act, 1950. [Act No. 12 of 1950] and Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
Fundamental duty of a citizen to honour the National Flag and the Government Emblems is also the fundamental duty of every functionary in the State and the supreme duty of the STATE itself. This also becomes justiciable in the context of 1950 and 1971 Acts of Parliament related to the use and abuse of national symbols.
Why this apparently officially-sponsored defacement of the Indian National flag and the three lion national symbol, together with the gopuram which typify Tamil Nadu state? Someone has to answer for this wanton act of effacing the state emblem. Article 51A in Chapter IVA of the Fundamental Duties envisages that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Founding Fathers of our Constitution never imagined that even some governments 60 years later would flout Article 51A of our Constitution and the Flag Code with such brazen impunity. They only envisaged the possibility of wanton infraction of law by individuals and not by any elected Government.
Deliberate infraction of the law of the land by any government calls for harsher punishment under ARTICLE 356 of the Constitution.