December 13, 2019
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Charity Flags

Charity Flags
The banner industry," a friend murmurs, "must have made a killing after the earthquake." He's right. For, while reports speak of the absence in some parts of necessities like tents and grains, one commodity is in abundance, no matter how remote the quake-ravaged location.

A Haryana outfit must have mass-produced theirs even before dispatching staff to Gujarat. Their banners are strung up in every village, complete with blank for its name ("bhukamp peedit yeh gaon....") that most often has stayed blank. Every truck with relief material, or camp of volunteers, has a prominent banner to announce whose it is. Everywhere in Samkhiali there are blue signs: "Zee Network has been (sic) adopted Samkhiali for complete rehabilitation", "Zee: with you in this critical situation" and Hindi approximations thereof.

Reading the banners, I am humbled by the broad cross-section of India that has arrived to help Gujarat after the quake: the Gomati Public School from Andhra Pradesh, the rss, the Congress Seva Dal, a Marble Traders' Association, iffco, a St Xavier's school, the Discipleship Foundation, Microsoft (yes), the Gayatri Trust, the Ajay Mitra Mandal from bjp Ward 44 in Nashik, Zee and many many more.

Doff of the hat to them all for their heartfelt generosity towards Gujarat. But a thought: are the banners truly necessary?

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