Thursday, 23 July 2015

American Bt cotton and Indian Tricolor National flag. Where is the Desi-spirit?

postal stamp.The Indian national Flag.flagstamps.blogspot.
Indian Flag at Red Forthe Swaraj flag became the official flag of Congress at the 1931 meeting.en.wikipedia.org
Our national flag is an important symbol of our country and ought to be treated with respect because it reflects on our country's legacy, core values and the aspirations of the people, cutting across, caste, color, creed and religion. America's Stars and Stripes, Britain's Union Jack and Canada's Maple Leaf are unique national flags symbolic in their own ways. So does India's national flag -Tricolor with chakra (wheel) in the middle.

Early adaptation of National flag with chakra in 1931 www.crwflags.com.images by Klaus-Michael Schneider
Lately, the cloth material with which our national flag is made of, has become a matter of controversy, causing irritation and disappointment. Especially the the freedom fighters and scores of people with Desi-spirit are sore about it. What is it that has become a contentious issue? The Indian flag, the pride of our country, is not 100% made of Khadi yarn from our indigenous cotton varieties, but is  mixed with  American Bt cotton, genetically modified and patented by the American Multinational Chemical company- Monsanto. Presently 94% of cotton produced here are of Bt cotton variety, not native to our land and this type of cotton needs regular pest control and chemical fertilizers for better growth and yield.

That our national flag does not contain indigenous cotton is really painful. Our tricolor flag is symbol of sacrifices of thousands of freedom fighters and the emotional feelings of a billion plus people, forming the largest democracy in the world. The idea of our own flag evolved during our long-drawn freedom struggle, and has historical and political significance. It was in 1931 the Indian national Congress officially adopted the national flag that was designed by one Pingali Venkaya with traditional chakra (spinning wheel) denoting Desi cloth - khadi made of hand-women yarn from native cotton.

Gandhiji talked about cottage industries and adoption of khadi cloth, emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and economic independence. Under the Raj, India saw the darker side of economic deprivation and subjugation. The adoption a national flag gave a fillip to the spirit of independence movements and every Indian wanted to see India freed from the shackles put on her by the British.

You might ask, how did the American Bt cotton get here? Thanks to the British rules, who purposely overlooked the better quality native cotton varieties that were most suitable for tropical climate. To stay alive in the competition  and assure uninterrupted supply of yarn to the British textile factories, the British introduced American long stable cotton variety in India. Quality of cotton is determined by length, strength and appearance and Bt cotton has an edge over indigenous cotton because the staple in the indigenous varieties is shorter.  Further, Bt cotton was most suitable for the American textile machinery imported by the British companies operating in India. In the wake, the production of Khadi declined. 

At the time of independence native cotton production was more than 90%. After independence Bt cotton production increased, especially after 1960. By 1990 it was 67% and now it is more than 94%. The flag-flag-making units at Bengeri in Hubli city and Garaga in Dharwad district, Karnataka which meet the nationwide demand for the tricolor, use cloth material made of khadi yarn from Bt cotton. At the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha at Bengeri, the Bt cotton is mixed with the local variety in the ratio of 24:75. This mixing will make the flag stronger.

The central government should interfere and see to it that our national flag is made of 100% native cotton material, thus restoring the glory of this wonderful symbol conceived by Gandhiji. It will be deplorable if they turn a blind eye to this important issue concerning our national flag. If the status quo continues, it will be a blot on the political and historical symbol of our country- Tricolor flag

  An organization called ''Coalition for a GM (genetically modified) Free Karnataka'', fighting against GM crops, on Wednesday (July 22, 2015) sent a letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, requesting him to hoist a National Flag made of non-BT cotton.

Ref:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/a-foreign-tricolour/article525245

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/351164/letter-cm-hoist-flag-made.html