Flags Of Love – ‘Demystifying the green flags of India’

Flags Of Love – ‘Demystifying the green flags of India’

(RAHNUMA) Whenever one zip passes old cities of India there is one common site that is of flags hung on homes. Especially green flags on Muslim homes and saffron flags on Hindu. Although the saffron flag is associated with Hindu faith is seen across the country but many Muslims face a peculiar and judgmental question that is why do Muslims place a Pakistani flag on their homes? Unfortunately, this generic perception has given even colors a religion in India “Green has become Muslim and Saffron a Hindu”.

Let’s demystify this Myth of green flags on Muslim homes and localities, to begin with, it has nothing to do with Pakistan nor it is a Pakistani flag. Often the flags found on Muslim homes are actually a sign of honor and respect in remembrance of the 11th-century Sufi saint Abd al-Qādir Gīlānī (Rh). These are colorful flags made of Satin or other synthetic materials and it has intricate’ deigns and calligraphy done on it with names of Allah, Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and Gaus-e-Pak embroidered on them. Every year in the fourth month of the Islamic calendar (Rabbi us Sani) one can find a small “Langer” Ceremony to feed the needy, this ceremony is done to commemorate the “Urs of Gouse-e-Pak” a popular title name in the sub-continent given to Abd al-Qādir Gīlānī (Rh).

The flag is often replaced with a fresh flag each year and on the top of the flag a metal cap is placed which is designed in the shape of a hand called “Panj-e-Tan”. Each finger in this is a representation of the first family of Islam and the flag is often garlanded also. Across the Subcontinent it is common to observe even many localities having a community flag in the colony or village and is referred to as “Chilla Gouse-e-Pak”.

Another occasion green flags have come in vogue is during the birth celebration of Prophet Mohamed (PUBH) where it is often celebrated with rallies and decoration with using similar flags but these are used temporarily for a week or so during the Islamic month of Rabi-ul-Awal is not a permanent fixture.

So next time you come across a green flag on someone’s home don’t get judgmental about his nationality. It is just a sign of love and affection of people towards their beloved saint Gouse-e-Pak.

Ghaus Al-‘Azam, Abdul Qadir Ghilani of Baghdad, C. 1800, Moghul India Painting (CIRCA 1680)

(Authored by Dr. Haseeb Jafferi, Is a Cultural Curator, Experiential Educator and conducts Heritage walks under the aegis of SufiTrails)

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