National flags are considered sacred and every country has rules about how flags are to be hoisted or flown. Here’s a general explanation of what it means when a flag is flown upside down: “Any flag flown upside-down is considered a sign of distress... Mutiny, piracy, sinking, coup, rebellion of the people or government. The fact that any flag flown upside-down means distress is not the whole story however... flags flown upside-down can and are used as a form of protest. The flag is a symbol of control and superiority. The use of such in any other way is considered "desecration". In the US, flying a flag upside down is also a call-sign of danger to life and property. In India private citizens got the freedom to fly the national flag only a few years ago. Patriots fly the flag on national days, at homes, at offices and honour it.
Children and even adults can sometimes be clumsy and fly the flag upside down. This is often an honest, innocent mistake that can be overlooked. But what does it say about public figures who negligently fly the flag upside down? They too can claim it was an honest mistake but I believe it is unforgiveable. In the pic Kapil Sibal is seen with a foreign dignitary signing some accord. The flag in front of him is upside down. These meets are hosted by very experienced staff members who understand protocols and procedures. Theirs is not an “honest mistake” but an act of “negligence”. What about Shahrukh Khan? He was flying the flag upside down while taking a lap around a stadium filled with thousands of people. Mind you, someone else didn’t mount the flag on a staff for him. He did it himself sitting in his car (pics are available to establish this) and while one will not know if he did it deliberately there can be no denying he was negligent. It’s not wrong to call both these acts of flying the flag upside down as acts of “desecration”. While Sibal is a minister who may be replaced, SRK is not. There is no reason why these two individuals shouldn’t be punished and stripped of their right to fly the flag for a few years.
There is a complaint still pending against Kapil Sibal. I am unaware of the current status of this complaint and media won’t bother tracking. A case against SRK has also been filed for disrespecting our flag. The PuneMirror headline interestingly says “SRK targeted”. Targeted? He is being “targeted”? What does that mean? He’s being “victimised” for his crime? So when a Mumbai traffic cop, Sujata Patil, wrote a poem in anguish and anger against the rioters at Azad Maidan (August 2012) many activists were up in arms calling her a communal hater. Actually, we don’t even know who these activists were. Well, one of them definitely was Javed Akhtar. This guy is a filmy-type poet and the face of “liberal Muslims” but while he wants the freedom to write all his poems and dialogues, many of them violent filth, he doesn’t want the same freedom for Patil. The other, predictably, is the foul-mouthed Mahesh Bhatt. What about him? This Bhatt guy is so filled with communal-hatred that when the Delhi Gangrape victim died on December 29, 2012 he tweeted seeking to “shut down temples” as if Hindu temples were the cause of Gangrapes.
Sujata Patil wrote her poem in anger against those rioters at Azad Maidan who molested female cops and destroyed the AmarJawan memorial. The very activists who cried “death” to rapists couldn’t stand a poem against molesters of women. Sujata only wrote a poem with metaphors suggesting hands molesting women or destroying monuments be chopped off. She was actually lamenting the helplessness of the Police and public in general rather than calling for any violent action. Her poem was written in Marathi and published in an internal Newsletter (November 2012) of Mumbai police. Many translations of this poem in English are floating around. But I had this translated by a very reliable media person. This person is a Marathi and works in a prominent English-media house and I received this note and the translation:
“Here's my version... I think the attack she talks about is more about the attack on us as a people, who remained spectators to the crime of the Amar Jawan being vandalised. And all we needed to do was teach them a lesson then and there - and we knew how - with a lathi and pistol - but we just failed to understand this - we just failed to act. Ironically the poem is titled Azad Maidan - Free Ground - and how their hands were tied”.
Now, though the poem may be harsh and angry it does not in any way offend any community in particular. It is unlikely that it will even provoke any hatred or any violent action. The only reaction came from some who seem to have been actually involved in the Azad Maidan rioting. The Hindu reports that among the complainants was Nazar Mohammed Siddique, one of the accused arrested in the Azad Maidan violence case, who is currently out on bail. Ironical that one who is accused of violence at Azad Maidan finds a poem offensive and hateful. TOI reports that Mahesh Bhatt commented: “… time is here to put our police force on the psychiatric couch and find out from where their hatred towards minority originates”. I believe it’s Mahesh Bhatt who is long overdue for a mental check-up given his frequent communal and hate-filled outbursts. Sujata may have called the rioters “traitors and snakes” according to some translations but I don’t find her anger misplaced.
In my books anyone who negligently or wilfully disrespects our National Flag is automatically anti-national. I don’t see why Sujata Patil is wrong or should be condemned for calling those who molested women cops and destroyed the AmarJawan memorial anti-nationals or traitors. I don’t see anything wrong if she figuratively suggests such hands should be chopped. It’s a poem, not a call to arms. People may remember that a Kerala professor’s hand was chopped off for merely writing something offensive to Muslims. If mere writing can lead to such intolerance and violent action by the Islamists what exactly is wrong in just writing a poem condemning the violent and anti-national actions of rioters? Mahesh Bhatt and Javed Akhtar are up in arms because they claim the poem is against “minorities”. Give it a break “Sickulars”! It’s just a coincidence that the Azad Maidan rioters also happened to be Muslims (or weren’t they?). It could have been any other group too. Fact is, these TarBhatts and others like them couldn’t whip up similar courage and anger to condemn the riots and the destruction of the AmarJawan memorial. And some had the gall to compare Sujata to Akbar Owaisi.
AO openly called for violence against Hindus. He has made not one but a series of hate speeches. The last one being the most hateful, someone filed a case against him. There was an outrage on social media which forced the MSM to report. All these years the filmy cowards and others didn’t have the guts to point one little finger at AO. The laughable part is AO now claims his voice was doctored in the hate-speech video. That’s the coward’s excuse. He might next claim it wasn’t him but his “nephew” who is in the video. Sujata has lamented the helplessness of the police and common people and vents her anger against molesters, rioters and anti-nationals. Those who can’t tell the difference are the ones who need some psychiatric help.
It’s undeniable that the police watched as the mob went into an orgy of violence, destruction and molested their female colleagues. It is just as absurd that after all the outrage over the Delhi Gangrape, over which activists and filmy-types called for ‘chemical castration’ and death for all rapists, now find a poem against molesters and anti-nationals unpalatable. The police blindness during the Azad Maidan is the typical inaction that motivates the brazenness of the likes of AO who then call for genocide. Sujata Patil has been forced to apologise for her literary piece but that doesn’t alter the fact that many may share her anger over police’s hands being tied during such incidents. As for the destruction of the AmarJawan memorial only shameless cowards can condemn any writing against such anti-nationals. Flying a flag upside down is anti-national and should be seriously punished. Destruction of memorials to our martyrs is no different and those who protest anger against them with fake and unjustified outrage, simply because the rioters were from a minority group, are nothing less than cowards.