What is our Flag Culture? The Amazon.com Sellers Blunder

What is our Flag Culture? The Amazon.com Sellers Blunder

Our Flag Culture:

It all started with a seller on Amazon.com, when the vendor put up products for sale on their Canadian website. No, I will not post the picture here as it can be an act of Flag desecration. Or is it not? As I am not sure at this point, so what should i do? Look up Indian Constitution and it is that simple! Amazon sellers, who did not follow this one simple rule,  will unfortunately be publicly shamed and Amazon will get caught in the middle for a very good reason that they allowed such items to be a part of their offerings in the first place. More controls on selecting vendors and screening for products will be required but most importantly, a policy that will prevent such incidents in the future.

Update 1/13/2016: Amazon.com has removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-color flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday and recently the Amazon India Head Amit Agarwal Apologized on to India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, for Indian Flag Doormat on Canada Website in a letter.

Public Shaming and Boycotting:

When you commit a crime in the Indian society, you should be prepared for two very important things, public shaming and people boycotting everything that has your name on it. At least a few percentage of people in India follow this tradition. It was all common in smaller communities and thanks to social media, now it spreads like wild fire across communities to small towns and various countries.

Culture Shock Element:

E-Commerce is now truly global and this has created various magnificent opportunities and if you are thinking of starting a business, its not too late. However, going by recent incidents such as the Flag Incident. It is recommended that one takes the time to read the country’s constitution before proceeding with manufacturing thousands of products with the print of the national flag. This is called Market Research. This will solve all of the challenges encountered and help the businesses deal with culture shock. This also holds good for all Indians who are on such websites shopping or selling. My advice is, first contact the seller and notify of their mistake and then proceed to contacting the company hosting the sellers products in this case Amazon and as a last resort contact your foreign ministry.

Follow Rules of the country – aka Constitution:

For various countries, where it is absolutely okay to use the national flag for printing on clothes, doormats, shoes etc, in India we take it very seriously and is highly offensive. Hence in 1971, Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, was put into place. And it states the following, Main Source: http://mha.nic.in

National Flag and Constitution

Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Explanation 1 – Comments expressing disapprobation or criticism of the Constitution or of the Indian National Flag or of any measures of the Government with a view to obtain an amendment of the Constitution of India or an alteration of the Indian National Flag by lawful means do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 2 – The expression, “Indian National Flag” includes any picture, painting, drawing or photograph, or other visible representation of the Indian National Flag, or of any part or parts thereof, made of any substance or represented on any substance.

Explanation 3 – The expression “Dishonour Indian Map” means if anywhere map represented with respective manner,Tapping Map on Road or any public place.

Explanation 4 – The expression “public place” means any place intended for use by, or accessible to, the public and includes any public conveyance.

Explanation 5 – The disrespect to the Indian National flag means and includes —

(a) a gross affront or indignity offered to the Indian National Flag; or

(b) dipping the Indian National Flag in salute to any person or thing; or

(c) flying the Indian National Flag at half-mast except on occasions on which the Flag is flown at half-mast on public buildings in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government; or

(d) using the Indian National Flag as a drapery in any form whatsoever except in state funerals or armed forces or other para-military forces funerals; or

(e) using the Indian National Flag:-

(i) as a portion of costume, uniform or accessory of any description which is worn below the waist of any person; or
(ii) by embroidering or printing it on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins,undergarments or any dress material; or

(f) putting any kind of inscription upon the Indian National Flag; or

(g) using the Indian National Flag as a receptacle for receiving, delivering or carrying anything except flower petals before the Indian National Flag is unfurled as part of celebrations on special occasions including the Republic Day or the Independence Day; or

(h) using the Indian National Flag as covering for a statue or a monument or a speaker’s desk or a speaker’s platform; or

(i) allowing the Indian National Flag to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water intentionally; or

(j) draping the Indian National Flag over the hood, top, and sides or back or on a vehicle, train, boat or an aircraft or any other similar object; or

(k) using the Indian National Flag as a covering for a building; or

(l) intentionally displaying the Indian National Flag with the “saffron” down.

Other Source(s) : Wikipedia

Now would you consider posting images of many more such Flag desecration , I am not sure but I strongly believe you should not. Here are articles that show such Flag Desecrations and I oppose these news media outlet’s decision to post them as part of their news reporting. Here is a comparision between two reputed news media outlets. If you see Clean, then these media outlets have not posted such images.

Indian Express:
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/doormat-taken-off-but-other-indian-flag-merchandise-still-on-sale-at-amazon-4471061/

BBC:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-38606101

Times of India 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sushma-swaraj-threatens-visa-embargo-for-amazon-officials-after-learning-about-products-disrespecting-indian-flag/articleshow/56480822.cms

Hindustan Times Article1:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/amazon-selling-doormats-with-indian-flag-unacceptable-swaraj-demands-apology/story-RZZYMXHGtXsOCjkfZB7TPO.html

Hindustan Times Article2: 
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/not-just-amazon-doormat-website-sell-indian-flag-emblem-as-shoe-dog-coat/story-T4oMQs21YCQMLVDpI2LTqO.html

NDTV:
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/after-sushma-swarajs-visa-threat-amazon-drops-indian-flag-doormats-1647925

ABC News:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/amazon-pulls-flag-doormats-complaints-india/story?id=44745440

Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/01/11/amazon-canada-indian-flag-doormat_n_14112492.html

Jai Hind

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