Indian flag, representing India’s long struggle for freedom is a national treasure.
It represents the status of India as an independent republic. The late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called it a flag not only of freedom for ourselves, but a symbol of freedom to all people.”
“It will be necessary for us Indians Muslims, Christians Jews, Parsis, and all others to whom India is their home-to recognize a common flag to live and to die for.” - Mahatma Gandhi
The Indian National Flag came into being in its present form at the meeting of Constitutional Assembly on 22nd July 1947. Since then it has first served as the National Flag of Dominion of India from 15 August 1947 to 26 January 1950 and thereafter, National Flag of Republic of India.
The Indian National Flag was designed by “Pingali Venkayya”.During the National conference of Indian National Congress at Kakinada, Venkayya suggested that India should have a national flag of its own and Mahatma Gandhi liked this proposal. He suggested that Venkayya could come up with a design. During the National conference at Vijayawada, Venkayya proposed a tricolour with an Ashoka Chakra at the middle. Gandhi liked the flag, and the design was later adopted as the National Flag of India.
Evolution of the Tricolour
It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many alterations to arrive at what it is today. In one way it reflects the political developments in the nation. Some of the historical milestones in the evolution of our National Flag involve the following:
The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Kolkata. The flag was composed of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green.
The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907.This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin.
The third flag went up in 1917 when our political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it during the Home rule movement. This flag had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
During the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada) an Andhra youth prepared a flag and took it to Gandhiji. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.
The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel at the center. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.
On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.
India Flag Design
The flag, is a horizontal tricolor in equal proportion of deep saffron on the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom. The ratio of the width to the length of the flag is 2:3. At the center of the white band, is a wheel in navy blue color that indicates the Dharma Chakra (the wheel of law). The wheel has 24 spokes.
Meaning of the India National
The specific meaning of the flag’s color and chakra, represents the complete India.It is symbol of India’s unity. The flag under which you stand today and which you have just saluted does not belong to any particu-lar section of society or community. It is the flag of the country. All those who stand today under this flag are Indians, not Hindus, not Muslims, but Indians
The meaning of saffron color is the power and unity for serve the society. The green color tells culture and charms and white color for truth and simplicity of country.The chakra shows to working power and energy., the law” in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation.
There is a committee which sets standards for the manufacturing of the flag. It also lays out rules regarding hoisting of Indian flag. This committee is known as ‘Bureaue of Indian Standards(BIS)’. It specifies the cloth, dye, color, thread count and each and every thing about the flag. The Indian flag can only be made up of ‘Khadi’. It is made up of two types of khadi one for its main part and the other one for the cloth which holds flag to the staff.
Code of Conduct Being a national symbol it is respected by every Indian . There are certain dos and don’ts laid down for common people regarding Indian flag
- When the National Flag is raised the saffron color band should be at the top.
- No flag or emblem should be placed either above the National Flag or to its right.
- All other flags to be placed to the left of the National Flag if they are hung in a line.
- When the National Flag is carried in a procession or parade, it shall be on the marching right or in front of the center of the line, if there is a line of other flags.
- Normally the National Flag should be flown over important government buildings like the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts, the Secretariats, the Commissioners’ office etc.
- The National Flag or any imitation of it must not be used for purpose of trade, business, or profession.
- The National Flag should always be taken down in the evening at sunset.
On 26th January 2002, the flag code was changed. After 52 years, the citizens of India are free to fly the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where and any time. There are some rules and regulations upon how to fly the flag, based on the 26 January 2002 legislation. These include the following:
The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.
The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolour cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting
Some Interesting Facts
- The Indian flag was hoisted on the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest on 29th May 1953.
- Madam Bhikaji Rustom Cama was the first person to hoist Indian flag on foreign soil on 22nd August 1907 in Stuttgrat, Germany.
- The Indian National Flag flew to space in 1984 when Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma went to the space. The flag was attached as a medallion on the space suit of Rakesh Sharma..