Srishti Bhardwaj captures the flag makers and the spirit of commerce in this season of patriotism

As India celebrates its 70th year of independence, the markets are filled with the national flag for sale. This is a rare opportunity for the flag makers to cash in on.

Amidst the overcrowded busy streets, in the narrow lanes are those people who run small scale industries in their households. These are the people behind the production and manufacturing of flags, they are usually called jhandewalan. For them, Independence Day is a crucial time because even though flags are made and sold throughout the year, special preparations are made for Independence Day, sometimes two months in advance. 

sbcltr caught up with one such family of jhandewalans, involved in the business for over 50 years.

Mohammed Aneesh Jhandewalan, 63, is the head of the family. Though he doesn’t work much now but has all the skills to run his business and he is being doing this since childhood. It was his grandfather and father who started the business. His son, Mohammed Jawed, 36, is the fourth generation from the family to make flags and works in collaboration with his brother. Together, this family makes and exports flags all over India and abroad.

They not only make national flags for Independence Day but for all occasions. During elections they prepare flags for political parties, they even get orders from abroad sometimes. Despite all the high demand, they do not have a factory and all the work is done from home.

Mohammed Shahnawaz, 21, is another member of the family but he lives in Hasanpur, U.P. During important occasions such as Independence Day, elections, he travels to Delhi to earn money as the demand for flags is high compared to other days. 

The process of flag making starts with buying the cloth from the market. Each person has a specific job which he is a master of.  After buying cloth in bulk, it is stitched keeping in mind the size of the flag ordered. Another person paints the cloth and logos are printed on the it using frames. They then sell the flags to various shops in Sadar Bazar and other markets and to whoever who has placed an order.

The flags are made of various sizes and of different cloth. According to the height of the flag, the cloth used is decided so that it does not wither due to weather and other causes. The largest flag they have made was of 500 ft and it took 3-4 days to prepare that and one that sticks out in their memory is the one prepared by them for the Indo-Pak border, which was 30×45 ft.



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