Millions have died for the Indian National Flag. And till today, hundreds of lives are dependent on it. Surprised? Well, for the women in Tulasigeri village of Karnataka, the national flag represents their source of income. While we never fail to salute the Tricolour, we are oblivious to the people behind the scenes — those who make India’s national flag.

At the Karnataka Cotton Village Enterprise (KKGSS), the country’s official flag-making company, local women take charge to make the flags available to civilians on various occasions. Apparently, the men there failed to do the job due to lack of patience. “The men were not as patient as the women and got the measurements wrong,” said Annapurna Koti, a supervisor at KKGSS, NDTV reported.

“They had to unstitch the cloth and re-do the time consuming process,” Koti told AFP. “They left after the fourth day and never returned.”

Of the 400-odd people who work for the state-owned company in Karnataka, most of them are women. The factory is situated nearly 2,000 km from Bangalore.

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These women weave the khadi cloth and deliver it to Red Fort and other government installations as per the requirement. The stitching is done at the Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha in Hubballi

The women employees are the core team of the production process which takes place at two different sites. In Tulasigeri, where the raw products are processed, the workers blend in as part of the intricate process such as spinning the cotton and weaving the thread into cloth on foot-powered looms. At the Bengeri site, they spend two hours giving a final finish to the products.

Every year, there’s an increase in the number of products made. Last year, they produced around 60,000 Tricolours

They produce flags for all official events and government buildings, at Indian embassies across the world, as well as at schools, village halls and on official cars. Their code of ethics is to adhere to the guidelines in the national flag code of India, established by the Bureau of Indian Standards. From the exact shade of colours to the accurate stitching size, they have to do it perfectly.

“The piece is rejected if there is even the slightest error,” Nirmala S Ilakal, who has worked in the printing department for 15 years, told AFP.

These women find it hard to leave their local districts due to household work. So the possibility of finding jobs elsewhere does not arise. So this is a perfect solution to keep up the work-life balance.

But Koti, the supervisor, says “We can’t go outside to different places but the flags we make go all over the world and I feel proud to see everyone saluting them.”

According to a report by The Hindu, the Sangha that was established in 1957 by freedom fighter Venkatesh Magadi and his patriotic friends, developed the flag-manufacturing unit in 2005, which started supplying the flags from 2006.

Salute to all you women!

Feature Image Credit: NDTV

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