GUWAHATI, Jan 24 - A sense of apprehension has given way to celebration of national festivals like the Republic Day or Independence Day in this part of the country with a perceptible spontaneous urge among the people to take part in such democratic events. A rarity nearly half-a-decade back, the city has been painted in three colours in preparation of the Republic Day on Tuesday.
Unlike other festivals, pujas and even the occasions like the Valentine Day, the fervour of Independence Day or Republic Day was somewhat missing from the streets. Nonetheless, several groups of pro-active people, organizations and institutions, including the journalists, have been defying the militants� diktat to boycott the occasions. However, of late, a spontaneous celebration has been marking the two important events of the calendar.
Rajiv Sarma, an entrepreneur selling disposable glasses, plates and decorative items in the Silpukhuri area of the city recently started bringing the national flags and other tricolour items like caps, wrist bands, badges, etc., prior to August 15 and January 26.
�The sale is gradually picking up and on January 25, we would get a very good footfall. Earlier, nobody thought of bringing such items due to militants� banning the fest. We also started with a small sample, but now we bring cloth flags of four sizes, small paper flags and several other items,� he said.
Several kiosks have come up in the Silpukhuri area selling the flags and other allied articles, and so have in Ganeshguri, Six Mile, Fancy Bazar and Maligaon areas of the city. However, these are not the flags manufactured by the Khadi Board.
�Khadi Bhandar flags are expensive in comparison to the cotton flags brought from Delhi and Kolkata. Let alone the question of margin, at this rate, not every common man can afford to buy a Khadi flag,� said another retailer.
The rate of big flags in these shops is Rs 150 whereas the car flags cost Rs 60 per piece.
In the past, buyers of the Tricolour were mostly government offices, schools, government or political institutions, etc., but gradually more and more common people are getting involved with the event, giving it a true festive fervour.
�Children love to dress up with three-colour wrist bands and caps with patriotic slogans. Similarly, the apartments and community halls arrange flag hoisting ceremonies and organize various functions on the occasion where such items are high in demand,� he added.