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One the eve of Republic Day, Aamir went to the market with his father to buy paper flags to put up in his house. Whenever he bought anything for himself, he would also buy one for his younger brother Wasim.

As soon as he reached home, Aamir stuck the flag by the gate, and gave the other to his brother. “Stick your flag too, Wasim. That way, both our flags will be fluttering in the air and it will look nice,” said Aamir.

“No, I will not stick my flag here. I will stick it on the hood of our car. That way whenever Baba drives the car, the flag will flutter,” said Wasim.

“No, Wasim. You can’t do that,” said Aamir.

“You bought it for me and I will do whatever I want with it,” said Wasim and ran towards the car.

Aamir ran behind him but Wasim tripped and fell down. He immediately started crying. When Aamir tried to help him, Wasim pushed his hand away.

A-Nation's-Identity

“Go away! I will not talk to you. You pushed me down on purpose,” said Wasim wailing

Hearing Wasim crying, their mother rushed towards him and asked, “What happened? Why are you crying?” “Aamir pushed me down, Ma!” said Wasim.

“No, I did not! He is lying. He wanted to stick the flag on the car but I told him not to. He didn’t listen to me and ran towards the car and fell down,” said Aamir.

“Wasim, why don’t you listen to your brother?” asked Ma.

“Why should I listen to him? He bought this flag for me and I can do whatever I want with it,” said Wasim.

“Son, it is our national flag and is a symbol of our country. Its respect should never be compromised and that is why there are certain rules to using the flag. Your brother knows about it and he tried to tell you about it,” said Ma.

“What is wrong in sticking the flag to the hood of the car?” asked Wasim.

A-Nation's-Identity

“There is something called the Flag Code of India which states the rules and practices with regards to the display of the national flag. And one of the rules states that only important heads of the government like President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Governors and the Chief Justice of India can fly the flag on their vehicles,” said Ma.

“Why is that so?” asked Wasim curiously.

“Laying down the rules on the usage of the national flag helps preserve its respect and dignity,” said Ma.

“Why is it important to preserve the dignity of the flag?” asked Wasim.

“Son, each country has its own identity represented by the national flag. Our country’s identity is our national flag. Respecting the flag means respecting our country and the people who fought for its identity. Our country gained freedom from the British after a lot of struggle. The cost of freedom was the lives of several freedom fighters and the sacrifices they made. Because of them, we finally gained independence from the British on August 15, 1947,” explained Ma.

“Then what is Republic Day celebrated for?” asked Wasim.

“January 26 is the date when the Constitution was formally adopted by the Indian parliament,” answered Aamir.

“What is constitution?” asked Wasim.

A-Nation's-Identity

“Let me simplify this for you. We had got our freedom from the British but we were still following their rules and laws. Our own set of laws needed to be written. So, a committee headed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar drafted our country’s own rules and legislations that we began to follow from January 26, 1950. That is when our country became a republic wherein the power is with the people and their elected representatives,” explained Ma. “That is why that day is celebrated with great pomp and show in New Delhi in front of the President of India.”

“Our school has also planned special programmes tomorrow!” said Wasim excitedly.

“So, now do you understand why you should not play with the national flag?” asked Ma.

“Yes, Ma. Thanks for explaining everything to me clearly. If I had known all this information earlier I wouldn’t have played with the flag,” said Wasim.

“That is what your brother tried to tell you. Next time, just listen to what he has to say before you go running away,” said Ma smiling.

“I will, Ma,” said Wasim. He then turned to Aamir and asked, “Will you help me stick this flag on our gate?”

Of course, I will, little brother. And let’s plan our own Republic Day celebration at home,” said Aamir.

“Yes, let’s! This will be our own way of showing respect to our country,” said Wasim beaming.