The present day Indian national flag, that looks so symmetrical with saffron, white and orange horizontal stripes and the ashoka chakra at the centre, has gone through many changes in design and color over a period of time. The journey of the Indian national flag represented the freedom struggle earlier and now it represented free India.
On 22nd July 1947, the Indian national flag came into its present form at the meeting of Constitutional Assembly. The national flag served as the national flag of the Dominion of India from 15 August 1947 to 26 January 1950 and, after this, as the National Flag of the Republic of India. Its width to length ratio is 2:3 and the only fabric used to make it is khadi.
Who designed the National Flag of India?
The National Flag of India was designed by Lt. Shri Pingali Venkayya.
Journey of the Indian National Flag
In 1904, the first ever Indian flag that came into existence was designed by Sister Nivedita. For some time, this flag was also known as Sister Nivedita’s Flag. The flag had two colors – red and yellow. The freedom struggle was represented by red color and victory by yellow color. On the flag was written Vande Mataram in Bengali and it also had a figure of vajra (a kind of a weapon) and a white lotus at the centre.
Then came the flag that was hoisted at the Parsee Bagan Square, Calcutta on 7th August 1906. This flag had three equal horizontal stripes or bands of blue, yellow and red color. The uppermost blue band had eight stars with varied points to represent different stages in which the lotus flower blooms. Middle yellow band had Vande Mataram written in Devanagari script. Sun and star at each end and a crescent were present on the lowermost yellow colored band.
The ‘Saptarishi Flag’ was designed by Madam Cama. The flag was first hoisted in Paris and then on August 22, 1907 in Stuttgart at the International Socialist Congress. Quite similar in looks with the above mentioned flag, the Saptarishi Flag’s topmost strip was of saffron color having one lotus flower and seven stars showing the Saptarishi.
Then there were many variations of tricolor flags available that were similar to the above mentioned flags. One of these had eight lotus flowers on the uppermost strip representing the eight provinces of British India.
Flag during Home Rule Movement
During the “Home Rule Movement” a flag was hoisted at the Congress session in Calcutta. Names of two popular personalities of that time i.e. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak were connected with this flag. The flag was designed to show the freedom struggle. It had 9 strips in which 5 were of red color and 4 were of green color. The upper left color of the flag had the Union Jack. The top right corner had the crescent and the star. On the rest of the flag, seven stars were arranged in the pattern of the Saptarishi.
Flags of the Indian National Congress
Then, in the year 1921, came the flag that was approved and modified by Gandhiji. It was originally designed by a person from Andhra Pradesh having just two horizontal stripes of red and green color representing Hindu and Muslim communities. This design was then presented during the All India Congress Committee Meeting at Bezwada (Vijayawada) in Andhra Pradesh. Gandhiji made certain modifications in the flag by adding a white strip at the top and charkha at the center. The flag after modifications had an upper strip of white colour, middle one of green colour and lower one of red colour with charkha at the center. In this, white symbolized all other communities in India and the charkha denoted progress. This flag was used at all Congress functions but it was never approved by the rest of the Congress Committee.
In 1931, another flag was suggested by the seven-member Flag Committee but it was not approved by the Congress Committee. This flag consisted of a single color of saffron with reddish brown charkha at the extreme top left corner of the flag.
The Indian National Congress officially adopted a flag on 6th August, 1931 and hoisted it on August 31 1931. This day was regarded as the Flag Day. It had a tricolor just like the current national flag but with the charkha at the center.
Present Day National Flag
Our National Flag was “born” on 22nd July 1947 and hoisted at the Council House on August 15, 1947. As everyone knows, the flag has three horizontal stripes of saffron, white and green color with blue Ashoka chakra at the center. The chakra has 24 spokes representing 24 hours of the day and continuous progress of our country. The Ashoka chakra or the “wheel of law” of 3rd century BC belonged to the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. Charkha was replaced by chakra to distinguish the national flag from the flag of the Indian National Congress.
As per the Flag Code, citizens of India were not allowed to hoist the Indian national flag over their homes and offices on any day. But this Flag Code was modified on 26th January 2002 and according to the new Flag Code, every citizen of India can now hoist the National Flag on any day of the year. But they have to follow the guidelines laid down for the flag written in the Flag Code.
The manufacturing standards were set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) committee. Along with this, hoisting rules were also laid down by the committee. To make the Indian national flag, only khadi fabric can be used and one must stick to the guidelines of dye, color, thread count as per guidelines.
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