For Past 9 Years, Speech-Impaired Kolkata Man Picks Up Discarded National Flags After Independence Day

Image & Story Credits: Arighna Mitra/Newzpole

Follow Us On

His speech difficulties have always been a hindrance for him to lead a ‘normal’ lifestyle. The insensitive mockery of neighbours or schoolmates haunted him throughout his childhood and youth, but he sailed through it all silence. And now at 32, Priyaranjan Sarkar from Bali, West Bengal is ridiculed for his strange hobby – collecting national flags which are dumped here and there post Independence and Republic Day celebrations. 

Love for his country runs in his very veins. It pained him deeply to see the flag being hailed one day and carelessly dumped or trampled upon the next. So, for the past nine years, Priyaranjan has been spotted roaming the streets after Independence Day or Republic Day, collecting flags from sidewalks, main roads, dump yards and even from the gutters, reported Bengali magazine Newzpole

People Called Him A Madman

Priyaranjan Sarkar shared how people called him a ‘madman’ and ‘ragpicker’ when he would go out to collect the discarded flags. There had been instances where he was even harassed in the suspicion of being a thief. Despite his speech problems, he had made sure every time to make people understand the importance of what he is doing and urged them to show proper respect to the national flag.

In his opinion, the real ‘madmen’ are the hypocrites who salute the national flag one day and do not mind throwing it in the trash the next day. 

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

A Childhood Full Of Hardships

He credits his mother for his intense love for the nation. He lost his father as a little three-year-old child. His mother underwent a lot of hardships to provide for her four sons. Getting Priyaranjan admitted to school was quite a hassle, as no school was willing to admit a student with speech difficulties. Surgery could have cured his condition, but his mother failed to afford the expense despite relentless hard work.

At his school, he was a regular victim of taunts and teases from his classmates for his speech impairment. Battling through the bullying, Priyaranjan established himself as a professional football player with his local athletic club.

National Flag Is The ‘Saree’ Of Mother India

As a child, one day he found his mother picking up a discarded flag from the roadside with great care. When he inquired, she beautifully explained to him the significance of the national flag. She described the flag as the ‘saree’ worn by Mother India and advised him to pick up the flag if he ever finds it lying carelessly on the street.

Later in his youth, he was deeply inspired by the Indian Army’s devotion towards the national flag. He felt that if our soldiers can make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to preserve the respect of our flag, then why the common citizens cannot do even the slightest bit of that.

He Now Has A Team Of Volunteers

Throughout his growing years, Priyaranjan has always collected flags, whenever he found one lying in dust and dirt. Exasperated by the apathy of the citizens, he has taken up the onus to keep the streets and dumpsters of Bali free from the disrespectfully discarded flags. He maintains a huge trunk at his house where he keeps all the flags he has collected till date.

He started alone but now he has gained a dedicated team of volunteers who assist him in his flag collection drives on the days following January 26 or August 15 every year. They do not mind picking up flags stained with pan spit or shoe prints.

Do Not Disrespect The Flag 

Priyaranjan’s true nationalism and immaculate ideologies prevent him from aligning with any political party. He also despises religious discrimination in the name of ultra-nationalism. In an appeal to the masses, he keenly insists everyone to immediately stop disrespecting the national flag in the pretext of celebrating our independence.

Love this story? Want to share a positive story?
Write to us: [email protected]
Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

Image & Story Credits: Arighna Mitra/Newzpole

Follow Us On

Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
Next Click right arrow to read the next story Previous