Abdul Gaffar, popularly known as ‘Jhande wale’(one who sells flags), set a record of 1.5 lakh tricolours in a day while sitting in a tiny room with a sewing machine in Delhi's Sadar Bazar. For the past 60 years, the 71-year-old flag maker has been sewing flags.
"The tricolour made by Gaffar has witnessed the eras of Emergency, Atal Vajpayee government, Anna Hazare Andolan," said Abdul Gaffar, the proud owner of Bharat Handlooms. All four rooms inside the shop are filled with national flags ahead of the upcoming Independence Day.
To commemorate India's 75th Independence Day, the Centre has launched the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' initiative, which would raise the national flag at the homes of 20 crore families for three days between August 13 and August 15.
"In 1975 and 10 years after that there was a huge demand for flags but what we are witnessing has never happened before. Currently, the demand for tricolour is at its peak,” Gaffar told IndiaTodayNE.
"Usually, when August 15 is around the corner, we make 4,000 to 5,000 flags a day. But this year, we are making over one lakh flags every day. The demand for these flags is so much that the shops and factories are open round the clock and the workers are working in four shifts.”
Abdul Malik Sadar, Gaffar's brother, stated that Gaffar received 500 calls every day. Sadar is the youngest of six brothers who make a living from their ancestral craft.
Talking to this publication, Gaffar stated, “The number of flags being made in a day will reach upto two lakhs, which will probably break all the records till date. I believe we are the first and the oldest shop that has been making the flags. And since then, this has been the only time when the production of flags is non-stop. Keeping the perspective of business and profit aside, certainly, this is proving to be a golden era for all of us because we are able to provide maximum employment and the labourers are also getting paid well”.
According to him, around 600 artisans work at the shop to meet the growing demand. Drawing out a comparison of the wages, Gaffar said, “Earlier artisans who used to get paid Rs 200-250 per day are now earning Rs 800-1000 a day." Besides, most of these workers are women.
"I personally, contribute to making 500-700 flags on a daily basis,” said Zahoor Ahmed, an artisan working at Abdul Ghaffar's shop. Ahmed has been making national flags for the past 30 years.
"The best part is that everything that used to come from China is now being made in India by the people of India," said Mohammad Rahmatullah, who is the Imam of a nearby mosque.
Abdul Gaffar, who continues to serve his country by sewing national flags, said that he runs the business not for profit but for the nation.
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