Did Mandira Bedi insult the Indian flag?

While the World Cup finals were being telecast, Mandira Bedi’s saree became a subject of discussion. She wore one of those designer thingies with the national flags of all countries; the Indian flag they alleged was near the feet.

I saw her. The flag when she sat with her legs crossed was somewhere just below the knee. Has she insulted it? I suppose so. There was no reason to have this silly display at all – everyone knows that several countries are participating. She is not a cheer-leader, but an anchor, though I have no idea what the purpose of having her or any other woman with no knowledge of the game is all about.

The way corrupt and inefficient people get away with their crimes is an insult. Poverty, lack of health facilities, illiteracy are all an insult.

Earlier Sachin Tendulkar got into trouble for cutting a cake with the flag impression. What about all those pulaos that are made in the three colours on national occasions? What about the models who strut about in clinging tricolour minis?

PS: The national flag symbolises, according to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who later became India's first Vice President, the following attributes: “Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to (the) soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends. The Ashoka Chakra in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principle of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.”


  1. Your post is quite informative especially the description and symbolism associated with the Indian flag. I don’t know why everything is held so sacred in our part of the world? I should not generalize but I feel that we, the people of sub-continent, are a bit touchy and sensitive about everything. Be it religion, the feelings of nationalism or even a cricket match. Is this a sign of frustration, desperation or simply lack of education with emphasis on tolerance and moderation? Or, is the electronic media and freedom of speech moving ahead too fast for our taste? But whatever the case may be we need to adapt ourselves with the changing times and show some flexibility and tolerance.

  2. I'm afraid I agree with Nauman. People in the subcontinent get far too worked up about the smallest of things - if our cricket team loses we burn down a cricketer's house; our actress gets a peck on the cheek she gets a court injunction against her. Seems to me like we need to get a bit of perspective here!

    As for Mandira Bedi, I agree with your point that she is an anchor not a cheerleader and so act the part. But to be honest the only thing she might have been guilty of is making a fool of herself on TV.

    Why take everything as an 'insult'? How people choose to show support for a country is their prerogative - and you forget that Indians are a VERY demonstrative people, and that outward show comes as part and parcel of the culture. Its very easy but extremely unfair to pass value judgement on someone without exactly knowing their motives.

    And finally, I see the use of the tricolour in various forms - food, fashion, artwork - as a reaffirmation of pride in our country. For the first time in decades we are confident enough to incorporate the national colours into everyday aspects of our lives - surely that isn't a bad thing!

  3. blog
    Yes, flags are the identity of any country and we have to respect that identity.

  4. All of you agree with me!


    There are a few things that have emotive content, like religion and nationalism and they get us into a tizzy...I won't blame lack of education. The illiterate have no time or inclination to indulge in any of this...


    Sure Indians are a demonstrative people...is that why YOU chose to remain anon??:-)

    It is fine to incorporate colours of the flag in everyday life (in fact, we all do), but why make it a point to emphasise this? They are colours, just colours. As kids we made paper boats of small flags...

    If you were pointing towards me, then I wasn;t passing value judgement, just a valuable judgement...


    An identity ought not to be fragile. I also feel respect should cross the boundaries of symbolic gestures.


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