Indian Flag and the History Behind It

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Indian national flag

The national flag of India was adopted on 22nd July 1947 by the constituent assembly. It was just few days before India got its Independence that India adopted its national flag in its present form. It was the national flag of Dominion of India from 15th August 1947 to 26th January 1950.

Here we will discuss:

  • Indian National Flag Adopted by The Constituent Assembly of India
  • The Three Colors of Indian National Flag
  • Evolution of the Flag
  • Who is Pingali Venkayya?

The Constituent Assembly of India Adopted the Indian National Flag

  • The day was 22nd July 1947 when a resolution was passed by the Constituent Assembly of India to assign a national flag to Independent India.
  • The resolution was moved by then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, as an emotional and rousing speech.
  • The significance of the National Flag’s colors and the chakra were described by the philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in the Constituent Assembly.
  • He explained that “Bhagwa (saffron color) denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. It meant that the leaders should dedicate themselves to the work, while staying indifferent to material gains.
  • The white in the centre is a symbol of light, the path of truth to that guides the conduct.
  • The green color represents human relation to soil, plant life on which human life is dependent.
  • The Government later enacted laws to regulate hoisting of the National Flag through statutory and non-statutory instructions that were issued by the Indian Government from time to time.
  • Hoisting of National Flag was also governed by the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

The Three Colors of Indian National Flag

The National flag of India has three colours. Saffron on the top, dark green at the bottom, and white in between all in equal proportions. Hence it is rightly called tricolour flag. In the centre in the white navy blue coloured wheel is present. Each colour of the flag represents a particular aspect of the country and its freedom struggle.

  • Saffron: This colour represents strength and courage of the country.
  • White: This represents peace and truth with Dharma Chakra in the middle.
  • Dark green: This colour represents fertility, growth ad auspiciousness of the land.
  • The dharma chakra in the middle with 24 spokes represents the “wheel of the law”. It is taken from the Saranath Lion Capital made by the Mauryan king Ashoka.

Evolution of the Flag

The tricolour flag of India has gained the present form after much evolution over a period of four decades. The changes it had to undergo to attain its present form are very interesting. The design of the flag that changed over the period of time speaks volumes about the then situation in the country and the struggle for freedom that is being endured by the citizens of the nation. As mentioned on knowIndia.gov.in, the different stages of the evolution of Indian flag are:

  1. The first version of the national flag was hoisted on 7th August in the year 1907. The event took place in Parsee Bagan Square in Kolkata. This was result of the partition of Bengal that happened in 1905. It was in three colours namely green, yellow and red. The flag also had motifs of lotus flowers, crescent moon and sun on it. It had Vande Mataram written in the centre.
  2. The second version of the flag was hoisted by Madam Bhikaji Cama in Paris in the year 1907. It was very much similar to the previous flag except that the flower motifs were replaced with stars and colour of the fag were slightly altered.
  3. The third version was hoisted in the year 1917 b Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak. This happened when the freedom struggle was intensifying in some parts of the country during the Home Rule Movement. This version of the flag had significant difference compared to the previous two versions. British flag was also added to this version of the Indian flag.
  4. This version of the flag is very significant in the history of the country. In 1921 Gandhi wanted to present a national flag at the congress session in Bezwada. Gandhi commissioned Pingali Venkayya to design a flag with a spinning wheel on it. This version of the flag was somewhat close to the present version.
  5. In the year 1931 a national flag was officially adopted b the Indian National Congress. It was called the Swaraj Flag. It was closest to the present version except that the wheel in the middle of the flag was initially full image of spinning wheel.

This way the national flag of India has evolved over these decades and finally took the present design. It was completely the effort of Pingali Venkayya- the man behind the national flag.

Who is Pingali Venkayya?

Pingali Venkayya was an Indian freedom fighter and the man behind the design of the present national flag of the country. He was a linguist, geologist, and also a writer. A Gandhian by ideology Pingali Venayya had many interesting titles.

  1. Japan Venkayya: for his eloquence in Japanese
  2. Patti (Cotton) Venkayya: his urged people to use home spun cotton.
  3. Janda (flag) Venkayya: as he designed the national flag.

Venkayya was the first person who initiated the idea of having national flag. In the year 1916 he published book which had 30 or more designs of a flag. From the year 1918 to 1921 he relentlessly worked towards having a flag of our own. His design of the flag was eventually finalised by Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1921 in the Bezwada Congress session.

Wrapping Up

The national flag which was finalised was widely appreciated by leaders and freedom fighter from different parts of the country. It clearly depicts all essence of the nation and the struggle people underwent to achieve independence. Gandhaji was absolutely right when he said “It will be necessary for us Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Parsis and all others to whom India is their home to recognize a common flag to live and to die for”. A national flag is a symbol of a free nation and every free country in the world has one.

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