Much before the nation begins preparations for the Independence Day celebrations, a tiny village in northern Karnataka gets busy. The charkhas and handlooms at Tulasigeri in Bagalkot district pick up pace, as it is here in this tiny village that the khadi cloth required for the Tricolour is woven.
The weavers at the Khadi Sangha at Tulasigere have been weaving the cloth for the national flag for years. The cloth is taken to the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha (Federation) at Bengeri in Hubballi, where the country’s lone National Flag Manufacturing Unit approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards is located.
Established in 1957 by freedom fighter Venkatesh Magadi and his patriotic friends, the Sangha with several Khadi Sanghas affiliated to it has been doing a commendable job in popularising khadi. Its efforts helped it bag the flag manufacturing unit in 2005, which started supplying the tricolour flags to the nation in 2006.
On arrival at Bengeri, the khadi cloth from Tulasigere passes through various sections for dyeing, screen printing and so on before it finally gets transformed into what the nation respects.
After the master tailor cuts the cloth into different sizes, the workers, mostly women, start working on their sewing machines to stitch the Tricolour.
The guidelines of the flag code of India and the BIS are adhered to before the final product is ready in nine sizes from the smallest one of 0.5x0.3 foot to the biggest measuring 21x14 feet.
It is ensured that the measurements of the flag, the thread and also the toggle are accurate.
Once ready, the workers of the despatch section get busy in sending the flag consignments to the States which have placed orders.
As the national flag flutters over the Red Fort, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Legislature buildings and government offices across the country, the weavers of Tulasigeri and the workers of Bengeri feel happy and proud.
The right standard: Cloth being carried for cutting to size at the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha at Hubballi in Karnataka.
Birth of a flag: Workers operate spinning machines at the Khadi Sangha at Tulasigere in Bagalkot district of north Karnataka to weave cloth for the national flag.
Deft hands Warp: preparation on to transfer yarn to a weaver’s beam, one of the stages of cloth-making at the Tulasigere unit.
Crisp cloth: The cloth firom Tulasigere is dried at a unit of the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha at Hubballi.
Varied hues: The drying process is on.
White sheet: Warp and weft of the flag.
Made to measure: The flag gets ready.