Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Jul 2017 12:42:02

THE idea of Karnataka Government to have a separate and additional flag for the State is not just unacceptable but also unconstitutional. Despite a constitutional bar on any such idea, except in Jammu and Kashmir where special conditions have prevailed for decades, the Karnataka Government seems very keen to implement the idea and has formed, therefore, a committee to take the issue further. As the most natural response, the Central Government has made it clear that it would go strictly by the concept of one-nation-one-flag and would not even entertain any other idea. This stand by the Centre is the stand of the nation. 

It is totally inconceivable that a State in the Indian union wishes to have its own flag that is different from the national flag. The very basis of the Indian State is that it is federal in structure and unitary in spirit. Both the words -- federal and unitary -- have a common root. ‘Federal’ means distributed in parts of one single whole. And ‘unitary’ means distributed in parts with one soul. If this is the fundamental wisdom of Indian State and the purpose of its existence, then any one State in the Indian Union wishing to develop its own flag is unacceptable because it is totally unconstitutional and against the spirit of the federal structure and unitary spirit.

It is this point that has often highlighted the national discourse on Jammu and Kashmir where a Special Status as per the Article 370 of the Constitution of India grants certain concessions to the State. Among those concessions are the concession of a separate flag and separate constitution. It is this provision against which a whole political movement is going on for the past seven decades. The contention of this thought is simple: In any nation, there could be no two flags. For, all parts of the Government that represents the governing component of the State must come under one single banner, one single entity. That is the reason why every Government employee is appointed in the name of the President of India who is the Head of the State, the First Citizen, in whose name the Government offers governance.

The debate on Kashmir has often been blocked by this point, and very rightly so. It is more than obvious that the Centre -- under whatever dispensation -- has found things rather hard since it does not seem to know how to sort out the logjam. For, it does not want the Special Status to operate, but is trapped by a constitutional arrangement that does not allow the status quo to be disturbed.

Under these circumstances, it is impossible that any State could be allowed to have its own flag in addition to the national flag. It is obvious that the Karnataka Government is being guided and goaded by some political vested interests that are interested in fomenting trouble in the country. In fact, it is trying to take steps that would prove detrimental to ultimate national interest. For, when a separate flag is sought by a State, the episode implies that the State wishes to have its own separate identity. This very thought is against the spirit of unity and integrity that our nation has held dear all these decades since Independence.

It would be in larger national interest that the Karnataka Government gave up the idea officially. For, pursuing it further would only mean seeking a confrontation with the Centre absolutely unnecessarily. If it still pursues the idea, then the ruling party in Karnataka, Congress, would lose much of its popular base in the State. In view of such a possibility, the Congress High Command of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi must reconsider the decision of the Congress-ruled State Government in Karnataka. By so doing, the Congress party would get a chance to demonstrate its true national spirit, in tune with its history of more than 125 years.