'National flag hoisting', a daily ritual in Agra's market area is erasing religious barriers

Amid bustling traffic and people rushing to reach their respective workplaces, members of Ajit Nagar Bazaar committee in Agra gather at a chowk to hoist the Indian national flag. Like rituals performed in temples, mosques and churches, 'national flag-hoisting' has remained a daily ritual for these businessmen who open their shops only after they sing the national anthem. The Ajit Nagar area in the 'Taj Mahal city' is interspersed with citizens belonging to different religions, castes and communities, but they all unite during the 'flag-hoisting ceremony' performed every morning sharp at 9:30 a.m. Now popular as 'selfie-point', the chowk echoes with national anthem as all the businessmen and onlookers chime-in to respect the Indian flag. Since the republic day for last year, Ajit Nagar Bazaar committee has been ritually hoisting and lowering the national flag every day, following the guidelines given in the flag code of India. The flag hoisting ceremony started last year in this busy market and has now become an integral part of culture among the citizens in Ajit Nagar society. The chowk at which this ceremony is conducted has also become a popular spot among visitors, where they take 'selfies' and get firsthand experience of oneness, unity and brotherhood, India has fostered through ages.