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Cong. panel wanted saffron flag for free India: Malkani

Cong. panel wanted saffron flag for free India: Malkani

Author: Our Special Correspondent
Publication: The Hindu
Date: November 29, 2002
URL: http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/11/29/stories/2002112903580700.htm

The Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry, K.R. Malkani, today claimed that a committee appointed by the Congress in 1931 had recommended that the colour of the flag of independent India should be saffron.

Inaugurating a national seminar on ``early resistance to the British rule with reference to Pazhassi Raja'', Mr. Malkani said it was a committee consisting of eminent nationalists such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, which made the recommendation.

How come saffron colour now evoked protests from some quarters?, he wondered.

The `flag committee', in its report to the party leadership, recommended that the national flag should be saffron in colour with a blue ``chakra'' on top, and had justified its choice of colour saying saffron was non-communal and had deep affiliations with Indian culture and traditions. "We do not know why this report was dumped,'' Mr. Malkani said.

The Lieutenant Governor also expressed surprise at Muslims associating saffron colour with Hinduism and green colour with their religion. "All colours were made by the God,'' he said. Mr. Malkani said that in South Korea, Koran is published in saffron colour.

Some venerated Muslim religious leaders were also known to have carried saffron flags. "People should be educated on these matters.''

Mr. Malkani also called for writing a people's history of India since what was available in history books at present were "stories penned by the British about India and not true history''.

He emphasised the need to rewrite history books from an Indian perspective, saying "rewriting Indian history from Indian perspective is not saffronisation, as some have chosen to describe it. It is actually nationalisation of history.''

Quoting Lord Curzon, he said that the various theories put forward in history books available now were the "furniture of the empire''. It was time "to furnish history books with furniture made in India.''

Mr. Malkani, a former Editor of Organiser, spoke of the several ``myths'' which, he said, were concocted by the British. In his view, the theories of invasion and subjugation of the country by Aryans, Muslims, and Alexander the Great, were fabricated by British historians to justify their colonisation of India and create an impression that India had always been under foreign occupation.

The battles against the British by patriots such as Pazhassi Raja were not known to many since these did not figure in the history books for which the inspiration came from the British.

The British historians projected Asoka as India's greatest ,<170>king since he believed in non-violence even though he was partial to Budhists.

"The greatest Emperor India saw was Vikramaditya. But the British did not like him because he fought and won many wars.''The Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, M.G.S. Narayanan, stressed that though Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja was the first to organise the people to wage wars against the British, his contributions as a freedom fighter had not been recognised by historians.

Mr. Narayanan spoke of the way history was being distorted. "Communal historians have been trying to glorify Tippu Sultan and belittle Pazhassi Raja. Communist historians have also contributed their mite to denigrate Pazhassi.''

The seminar was organised jointly by the Indian Council of Historical Research, (ICHR), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghatana and the Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College.

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