On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, a poem by Navaldeep Singh has resurfaced. Called Tiranga, it gives a voice to the national flag that has within its tricolour bands the power to rouse the most patriotic of feelings in an Indian’s heart. But at a time when notion of nationalism is anything but crystal clear, what would the Tricolour tells us, just in case it could speak.
Performed earlier this year at the Tuning Fork in Mumbai, the 2-minute piece in Hindi is evocative and searing. “I often meet wandering souls, who still haven’t slept in those graveyards… Souls of people you burnt during riots. Some of you could only recognise my saffron, some spoke of the green in me…”, calls out Singh’s Tiranga to the scores of people choose to define the national flag the way they see fit, and in the process potentially defeat the whole idea of nationalism.
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