All central universities must wear patriotism on their sleeve: By order, Smriti Irani - Firstpost
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All central universities must wear patriotism on their sleeve: By order, Smriti Irani

  Updated: Feb 19, 2016 07:53 IST

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You have to give it to them (NDA government). Their timing is perfect.

With the acrimony around alleged 'anti-national' activities in university campuses reaching fever pitch, the union government appeared to have arrived at the most logical solution to the crisis. The Human Resources Development Ministry, in a directive on Thursday, has asked all central universities to hoist the tricolour on their campuses, news reports have said.

The ministry has also specified the height and weight of the flag, and has decreed that the flag should be 207-feet high and should weigh 135 kilograms. For perspective, the largest national flag with the tallest mast was hoisted by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in January, according to an Indian Express report.. While the flag's height is more the requirement now stipulated by the HRD ministry, its weight is a mere 60 kilograms, less than half of the mandated weight for central universities.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The first institution where the flag will be unfurled will be-no prizes for guessing- the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), according to a report in Hindustan Times. which has been at the centre of a bitter row over a sedition case filed against the president of its students' union.

The national flag has been seen across televisions screens in rather dubious circumstances, with lawyers resorting to violence against students and journalists waving the tricolour in Delhi. It remains to be seen whether the HRD ministry's latest directive will help matters.

The Hindustan Times report quoted a source as saying that the flag would symbolise the unity and integrity of the nation, 'under which higher education will flourish.'

The decision was taken at a meeting of all central university vice-chancellors called by HRD minister Smriti Irani.

Of course, one wonders as to how the government proposes to enforce the rule about the dimensions of the tricolour of the flag.

But clearly, the government's action, as always, has been characterised by perfect timing. With crisis surrounding dissent in JNU deepening, the HRD ministry could have, may be, waited out a few days before coming with this 'not-so-urgent' diktat.

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