FLAG HOISTING a Right won for States

When M K Stalin reached out to the ramparts of Fort St George – the seat of power in Chennai to hoist the National Flag for the first time as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Independence Day on August 15, 2021, he was immensely happy for more than one reason.

As he reached the flag hoisting point on the rampart of the fort and pulled the thick white rope, he turned nostalgic with the thoughts of his father and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. For it was Mr Karunanidhi who earned the privilege of all the Chief Ministers in the country to unfurl the national flag on Independence Day.

It was also a rare privilege that Mr Stalin hoisted the National flag on the Diamond Jubilee of Independence after his father had unfurled the National flag on the Golden jubilee of Independence in 1996. No doubt, Mr Stalin would have silently thanked his father and rejoiced at the moment.

“I take the opportunity to recall that former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi earned the opportunity for the Chief Ministers to hoist the national flag on Independence Day by putting forth the suggestion before the then PM Indira Gandhi. Not just to the Tamil Nadu CM but he gave the opportunity to all the Chief Ministers of the country,” he said.

Till 1973, Chief Ministers had no right to hoist the National Flag on Republic Day and Independence Day as the privilege was vested with the Governors. It was Mr Karunanidhi as Chief Minister in his second term, who had earned all Chief Ministers of the country, the right to unfurl the national flag on Independence Day.

He called the denial of right to the Chief Ministers to hoist National Flag on Independence day as discrimination against them and the federal structure of the nation when Prime Ministers hoisted the National Flag at the Red Fort in Delhi. He wrote to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in February 1974, demanding that the protocol be changed and the Chief Ministers be allowed to hoist the National Flag on Independence Day

The late DMK patriarch took up the issue with Mrs Gandhi as he championed the cause of federalism and campaigned for greater autonomy and powers to the states in the backdrop of the party MOOTING the concept of “Maanilathil Suyatchi, Mathiyil Kootatchi” (Autonomy for the states, Federalism at the Centre).

After the Rajamannar Committee on Centre-State relations presented its report, Mr Karunanidhi got a resolution passed in the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1974 for greater autonomy to the states. And when he wrote to Mrs Gandhi, seeking the right to the Chief Ministers to hoist the National Flag on Independence Day, she acceded to the demand much to the privilege of Chief Ministers

On 15 August 1974, Mr Karunanidhi became the first Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to hoist the national flag at Fort St George in Chennai. Since then, the practice of Chief Ministers unfurling the National Flag on Independence Day and Governors hoisting the National Flag on Republic Day came into force. After securing the right, Mr Karunanidhi went on to unfurl the National flag for 14 times during his five terms as Chief Minister of the State.


In his maiden independence day address, Mr M.K Stalin exhorted the younger generation to deepen the diffusion of the Gandhian message and practice of non-violence that won freedom for India. The Government would renovate the 'Gandhi Museum' in Madurai, where Gandhi first switched over completely to the traditional Indian attire a century ago, at a cost of Rs 6 crore.

He also announced a hike in freedom fighters' monthly pension from Rs 17,000 to Rs 18,000 and also their family pension given to Rs.9,000 per month. He also unveiled a column near the Marina to mark the 75th year of Indian Independence and pay tributes to the Martyrs and Freedom fighters.