Many heroic incidents happened during the Independence movement against the British. One of them is the ‘Kodi Katha Kumaran’ episode, which I studied as a part of my Tamil language syllabus during school. ‘Kodi Katha’ Kumaran means ‘A man (Kumaran) who saved the National Flag’.
Tirupur is a town near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. It is famous for garment manufacturing/garment export industries. It is also famous for ‘Tirupur Kumaran’, whose statue has been erected in a central point of the town.
In 1932, Kumaran organized a Dharna (Protest March) against the British in Tirupur. He was carrying the Indian National Flag, which was then banned by the British. So, the British officials got angry and started assaulting the protesters, which included Kumaran, and asked him to put the flag down.
It seems, Kumaran held on to the Indian Flag even after repeated beatings by the British officers, on the street. He was mortally wounded during this incident. It is said that even when he fainted and died, he held on to the Indian Flag and did not let it fall down.
What is it about a Flag? Isn’t it supposed to be just a piece of a cloth? Isn’t it supposed to be the symbol of a concept, than the concept itself?
In this famous video from the movie Roja, we have Arvind Swamy stopping the Flag from getting burnt. Helped with some excellent music/fantastic lyrics, this video might bring tears to your eyes if you are watching it for the first time.
These days, one might wonder if the association with our Flag is restricted to Independence day, Republic day, and a rare movie scene?
More importantly, is Nationalism as a concept slowly weaning away? It took 150 years of foreign rule to realize that we belong to a single country, and we are becoming global citizens already?
India & The European Union are two unique experiments in this world. If these concepts don’t succeed, there can never be a unified world citizenry on equal terms.