Mumbai: Ahead of the Independence Day, CNN-IBN brings the story of the bravehearts during the fire at the Mumbai Mantralaya. Even as a major fire raged on and people were being evacuated, seven men waited on the roof just so they could protect the Indian flag.
When a fire raged across the Mantralaya, everyone was busy getting out of the building, but seven men waited fearlessly, guarding the Tricolour hoisted on top of the building. Undeterred by the inferno, the men only left after ceremoniously taking down the flag and folding it as per procedure.
Ganesh Punj, handler, flag department, said, "We thought whatever happens, we won't go without saving the flag."
Rajendra Kanade, supervisor, flag department, said, "We kept getting phone calls from our families, but we couldn't have left the flag there."
For their friends and family, though, it was a scary experience. Ganesh's mother Seetabai Punj said, "I was very scared, we were watching the news on TV but we couldn't see him."
But worry turned to pride soon. "I felt very happy when I saw the coverage in the newspapers and news channels," Ganesh's wife Akshata Punj said.
Many organisations have felicitated these men, but they have declined every invitation for August 15, because that day is reserved for the government flag hoisting functions.