The Chennai Tricolor Initiative is a citizens' initiative, to start a movement that cultivates civic sense among the inhabitants of the City - starting with a pledge followed by crowdfunding and hoisting a 207ft tall national flag in a public space to commemorate the pledge.
In the Year 1947, a great experiment was started. India was reborn with a new identity and dreams bigger than before. She rose from the ashes – fearless, vibrant, and full of hope and promise, geared for a new start.
To represent freedom and democracy in its truest form – one that wouldn't enslave or rely on conquests, one that would see everyone as equal yet grow into a self-sustained nation with its share to offer, to the world that it stood part of. No other country in the history of civilization had done this before, mind you.
In the 70 years since then, we have succeeded in achieving some of those dreams, but many others have been all but broken. And many have lost faith in this journey, but there are some who still believe.
We stand at a crossroad where we can decide where we are headed. We were at one such juncture back in the mid 60s, and yet again at the early turn of the century.
With the whole world facing a crisis of confidence in different magnitudes, with each of us questioning our systems and our very own identity it is imperative that we choose a side; to believe in what we set out to do and as one nation, come together, put our hands to the mill and bring it to fruition, or not.
To decide to move forward would mean that we also acknowledge that democracy has three pillars — the government that represents the will of the people, the armed forces that keep us safe, and the people who will act in the best interests of our nation. We cannot neglect the roles that we ought to take - even though for years we have pretended like it wasn’t our responsibility. It is.
Somethings will have to change, if we have to move forward towards this greater vision.
Come December 7th, when the flag unfurls in Chennai's Marina, crowdfunded, owned and hoisted by the people of Chennai in the true sense of democratic ownership, may we believe once again in the great promise under which this country was formed. And let the flag that flutters in the winds of the land, carry that hope to everyone who is a part of it.
If you too believe, join us.
Here are some of the questions that we get asked frequently and we've compiled them together to help you understand our intentions. If you have any other specific questions, please free to shoot us an email. Details below.
A flag is symbolic; symbolic of the vision that was paved for this country, and the city that we live in - a symbol of unity. Sometimes, as they say “Out of sight is out of mind”, and a flag is a great way to bring back the vision that was set when we set out to build this country into something great - one that we are proud of and leave behind for the generations to come.
The National Flag has history - of struggle, of values instilled that haven't been lived upto yet. It seems like a simpler task to unite us all under an existing vision, rather than a new one - which might be controversial and not go anywhere.
Perhaps a starting point, for all of us to see the bigger picture that we all contribute towards - the nation. A nation is a inheritance that we pass on to our kids and their kids and their kids. But very rarely do we think about and work towards preserving the best, or improving things like we do for the other material inheritances. We are hoping the flag would at the least, start that conversation and thought process.
To be part of something bigger than ourselves. Since this is volunteer led, what is in it for you is the same thing that is in it for us. perhaps the pride of being part of something like this as well.
We define nationalism as rules - someone else telling us what we should do and how we should behave. We see patriotism as our love and the display of it. This would be of the latter.
They should and they would. But imagine if, a symbol that stands for the country, is owned by the people - in a true form of democracy. Wouldnt that be awesome?
No. But we are working with the Government on this effort.
As a starter there are two parts to the flag - the cost of installation and the cost of maintaining it. We are planning to crowdfund the cost of installing the flag. The ongoing maintenance of the flag will be taken care of by the Public Works Department or any appropriate government entity that maintains monuments.
From our discussions with the Flag Foundation of India a 207ft flagpole costs about 50 Lakhs (estimate from Flag Foundation of India).
You. Me. All of us. This is a citizens' initiative and we would want to encourage anyone who is a citizen and proud of it, to be able to contribute in any way possible and as much as they can (10Rs is also okay). We are planning to crowdfund this initiative - as much as corporate sponsorship would have been an easy way, crowdfunding feels like the right way to do this.
The funds will be managed by the Charitable Trust that has been setup. At the end of the installation there would be complete accounts available for anyone to access on this very website.
Maintenance is an ongoing cost and will be taken care of by the appropriate department in the government that maintains public monuments and installations.
You can be part of the Team and volunteer your time. You can take the Pledge and RSVP to be there for the event. You can also contribute towards the cost of the flag.
Yes you can.
We have been asked this question quite a bit, and yes the money could go into feeding a lot of people and maybe even help support some brilliant efforts out there. However, there are already a lot of very committed organizations working on those issues. Installing this flag is almost akin to John Kennedy making his speech about going to the moon. The flag is to aspire all of us to think beyond just today, to invest in the future in whatever we do. We could perhaps feed everyone for a day but We believe that a simple act like this might make a dent that goes beyond handing someone food, and start a chain of events that might make a larger difference to the society, city and the nation we are part of. Thankfully good deeds don't have to be limited. We could perhaps invest in the future with initiatives like these and also contribute and continue supporting charitable initiatives like feeding the poor and supporting worthy non profit initiatives.
Yes. We did set out to setup a 300ft flagpole with a 100 feet x 66 feet flag on it. Since the Marina is going to be having heavy winds, we were advised to have it at 207ft.
The spirit of Chennai that was on display during the Chennai Floods was a sign that there is a strong sense of kindredness and humanity that is very well and alive in this city. With this effort, we are hoping that we would instill a symbol of that spirit that doesn't come out only during floods and disasters but will stay alive as the flag that flutters in the winds of Chennai.
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