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ASI trying to restore only surviving flag of Indian Independence

ASI officials said the flag will be ready within a month
Last Updated : 04 January 2022, 17:28 IST
Last Updated : 04 January 2022, 17:28 IST
Last Updated : 04 January 2022, 17:28 IST
Last Updated : 04 January 2022, 17:28 IST

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A slice of history, from seven decades ago, could be standing tall soon. The Archeological Survey of India is restoring the only surviving flag of Indian Independence, unfurled on August 15, 1947, at Chennai’s Fort St George Museum. The flag is from the ASI’s reserve collection and its condition has deteriorated over the decades.

Now, ASI officials, with help from experts from the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Silk Board of India and the ASI’s own chemical branch section are currently working on the restoration process.

ASI officials said the restoration process of the flag started in November 2020 and it will be ready within a month.

“The ASI’s chemical branch section is working at it currently, and it should be ready in 15 to 20 days time,” said M Kalimuthu, superintending archaeologist of the ASI’s Chennai circle.

ASI officials said that the experts first assessed the condition of the flag.

“Preliminary analysis to determine the composition of the material, thread count, thickness, measurements, and fragility, was conducted using a microscopic lens. The team had to be careful about the fragility of the flag, some part of it was in a critical condition,” an official told DH on condition of anonymity.

The official said that some more tests, including a non-destructive analytical technique, were carried out as well.

The flag, measuring 12 feet by 8 feet, is made of pure silk and was unfurled at the crack of dawn on Independence Day. The flag was donated to Fort St George by the then Madras government a few months later.

In 2013, it was displayed to the public on Republic Day. On display, it was encased in a glass box, surrounded by silica gel and a machine to measure the light on the flag helped keep it intact. ASI officials said that it is the only surviving Tricolour that was unfurled that day.

Concerns on its status have risen time and again, and INTACH had come out publicly offering to restore it. The conservation body had even written to ASI, and offered to bear the cost of conservation.

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Published 04 January 2022, 17:28 IST

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