Hindu Flags
One of the most familiar sights in our country’s religious landscape is the jhandi or the bamboo pole carrying flags of different colors often bearing the pictures of Hindu deities.

The presence of these jhandis has also been a source of conflict, especially when, during the Divali celebrations, they are erected in public spaces. jhandis are normally planted after the performance of a puja (Hindu rituals). Among the familiar jhandis are the red flags for Hanuman, the black for Sanichar, the blue for Shiva, the white for Saraswati, and the yellow for Lord Krishna.

My grandfather, the late Pundit Rambachan, once told me that the jhandi also pointed out to weary Hindu travelers Hindu homes where they would be welcomed and where they would be able to get food, water, and rest; this of course during the period when long distances were traveled on foot. Today jhandis may not serve the same social purpose but it does continue to indicate the Hindu presence. It makes a statement of cultural and religious identity.


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