National flags of Bangladesh are now on sales at shops and by vendors all over the country, especially in the capital Dhaka, with the advent of December, the month of victory the Bangalees won over Pakistani occupation troops in 1971 that had sealed independence of the country following a nine-month war, at the cost of three million lives.
National flags of various sizes are seen all around -- fluttering on cars, buses, rickshaws, roofs of residences and even perched on office desks. The flags are seen in hands of children and worn as head badges.
As the nation rises up to celebrate the anniversary of victory on December 16, many people who do other works throughout the year also come and join the brisk business of selling national flags and make some quick bucks. "It's a one-off business in a year and the turnover of (money) is not bad either," said flag vendor Mohammad Shahid, who usually earns living by pulling rickshaw in the capital.
There is a big craze going among the city dwellers to buy one or more national flags to display them in a variety to ways. At some city places, it becomes a sort of competition about which building or mahalla (locality) flies the maximum number of flags, like it happens during the World Cup soccer or cricket tournament. "Habits die hard," said an elderly man buying a national flag on Monday in Dhaka's Dhanmondi residential area. "I have been buying and flying national flag ever since Bangladesh won independence. As December approaches I feel a hidden urge in myself (to buy a flag),' the 60-year-old man told the Daily Observer.
Hawker Fulmia said he pulls van throughout the year and when December comes he sells flags leaving his van. He does this job for 10 to 12 days -- then returns to his original vocation. He has been selling flags for ten years.
"I sell flags not only for money but to reaffirm my allegiance to the country," said the 33-year-old man from Comilla. "Many freedom fighters from Comilla laid down their lives in 1971," he said about a glorious past that had enshrined Bangladesh's history -a decade before Fulmia was born.
Fulmia said if the sale is good the profit is more than 50 per cent. His daily sale of flags totals between Tk 2,000 and Tk 2,500. The profit margin is higher for large flags, he added.
Adam Ali from Shariatpur, Jashim of Madaripur, Karam Ali from Dinajpur, Rafiullah from Brahmanbaria and other flag vendors have similar stories. Some have come to the city for a first time now but many have found old friends and mates from the previous years.
They roam about the city from morning till night with flags of various sizes carried on thin bamboo poles. The flags are not all for pitching on bamboos but also for wearing on heads or carrying on hands. A big flag is sold for Tk 120-250 a piece. A flag for wearing on head costs Tk 10-15 and a small flag for carrying on hand sells for Tk 10-30 a piece. They sell ten types of flags of seven-eight sizes.