India’s 77th Independence Day: Blending patriotism with livelihood

- August 15, 2023
| By : Mohd Shehwaaz Khan |

As India marks its Independence Day, the stories of some vendors selling flags and Tricolour merchandise underscore the blend of patriotism and daily struggles of earning a livelihood

As India commemorated its 77th Independence Day, a significant milestone in history, the nation united in a display of national pride and unity.

This momentous occasion marked the culmination of a two-century-long struggle for freedom, where countless brave freedom fighters made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate the country on August 15, 1947. While the day remained a symbol of unity and reverence for the nation’s hard-fought freedom, for some, it became an avenue to earn a livelihood by selling patriotic merchandise.

Suresh Yadav, a vendor from Mayur Vihar Phase-3, engaged in selling various accessories, took the opportunity to offer flags for the Independence Day celebrations.

“On regular days, I sell handkerchiefs, hairbands, headbands, socks, belts, purses, and more. Festivals are chances to maximise profit. During Holi, I offer gulal and pichkaris, and for Diwali, diyas and candles,” Yadav said.

“This Independence Day, I am proud to sell flags, wristbands, headbands, balloons, and more in the colours of the flag. This seasonal business provides substantial profit in just 2-3 days, supporting my family. Almost all my products are sold out,” he added.

Deepak Kumar, another vendor in Mayur Vihar, once engaged in selling fruits, has pivoted to selling Tricolour ribbons and badges.

He said, “Many customers, especially school-children, require these items for their functions. While the profit margin hasn’t increased drastically in recent years, it still contributes to my family’s income.”

From flags to accessories, the market is a splash of saffron, white and green

Akka Bai, a determined woman, who lost her husband, travelled to Delhi seeking employment before settling down to sell flags in central Delhi’s Connaught Place.

She narrated, “After my husband’s demise, my five children abandoned me. I ventured into selling flags on the streets, hopeful it would make a difference. However, it hasn’t brought substantial change to my life. It appears I will carry over the stock for next year,” she said.

Arjun, another vendor in Connaught Place, was forced to switch to selling flags due to an unfortunate incident with the police that shattered his apron stall.

He recounted, “I reside at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and used to sell aprons for my livelihood. The police took away my stall recently, leaving me without a source of income. Selling flags is a way of sustaining myself now. However, it’s not enough, especially as I am a patient with high medication costs. This flag-selling endeavour is my attempt at managing my needs.”