MALERKOTLA: As India celebrates Independence Day, artisans from this Muslim town of Punjab have a role in it as they are the ones involved in making the Tricolours that are unfurled across the country. Not only male Muslim artisans, but females are also involved in making the flags.

“Many may not believe but we have made the National Flag to be hoisted at the on this Independence Day and have already supplied the same to our client in Delhi. It is made of khadi and we completed it in a week. Not only that, we have also made flags for Independence Day celebrations in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and so on. Army units, civil governments, NGOs, social groups also get flags made by us,” said Naseem, who owns one such manufacturing unit in this town. “Apart from earning livelihood by making flags, badges and other accessories for defence forces, it gives us pride to be involved in such an activity, which gives us a feeling of being Indian.”

Those into this business say that various sizes of flags are hoisted on Independence and Republic day but the standard size is six by four feet. They added that mostly the material used in making these is satin (silk) but sometimes khadi is also used.

“For last 40 years I have seen artisans making National Flags with great passion. An interesting aspect is that majority of around 500 artisans are Muslims and around 300 are Muslim women involved in flag and badge making business. No doubt, they earn their livelihood from this but they feel great honour in doing so,” said 65-year-old Muhammad Shafiq Rana, who owns one such unit on Kamal Cinema road. “We will continue to make such flags and feel proud,” said 30-year-old Nadira, a female artisan, who supports her family and earns money for treatment of his terminally ill father for many years now.

Rameez, another trader, said they also make ceremonial dresses for defence and other security forces personnel, which participate in the Independence and Republic Day functions. He added that usually each artisan earns around Rs 300-350 per day.

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