GUWAHATI, Aug 11 � They love their country and the only way they can express their patriotism is to work hard to reach the target given to them � that is to make 20,000 flags ready before August 15.
The Assam Khadi Board�s target this year is to make available 20,000 national tri-colours across the State as well as to neighbouring States like Manipur. And slogging to achieve this target are women like Purnima Devi, Maikon Devi and other women working on contractual basis for the Assam Khadi Board. These women belonging to the lower economic rank cannot spare time for gossip nor be part of the multifaceted social process. They cannot coin the perfect words to say that they love their country � but their work at the tailoring machine says what is deep inside their hearts.
�For the last 30 years I have been working for the Assam Khadi Board. The stitching of flags of different sizes is very difficult. I can complete just six or seven in a day,� said Purnima Deka, observing that despite the sweat and toil, she loved the work immensely because she was doing it for her country.
It needs to be mentioned here that till date, the Assam Khadi Board has completed 16,000 flags of different sizes. Dinesh Chandra Sarma, manager of the tailoring section of the Assam Khadi Board, informed that the demand for the tricolour was increasing every year. Last year the Board had supplied 18,000 flags and it increased the number this year on account of the rising demand.
�The flags come in different sizes. The prices of the flags have been fixed on the basis of their sizes,� said Sarma, adding that compared to last year, the prices of the flags have increased.
Last year, the price of a 4ft by 6 ft flag was Rs 285, and the same this year will cost Rs 305.
�The inflation has hit every aspect of life. The rates charged by the tailors has increased, the price of the chemical that is used for the block print, too, has gone up. So we have been compelled to hike the prices of the national tricolour,� said Sarma.
This year the prices of different sizes of flags have been fixed at Rs 225, Rs 125, Rs 90, Rs 70, and Rs 40.
The process of making the tricolours that will proudly fly in the air on August 15 at various places starts two months early. The work is not easy, experienced tailors acknowledge, but Purnima, Maikon and the rest always wear a smile while sitting at their sewing machines. The high humidity and perspiration is no discomfort to them for they love their country.