India celebrates 73 years of its Current National Flag

Hussain Saify

The current Indian National flag was adopted in its current form on July 22 July 1947. It served as a flag of Dominion of India from 1947 to 1950 and on August 15 1950 onwards as the flag of the Republic of India.

Symbolism in our Flag

The Indian flag is a tricolor one. On the top, saffron represents strength and courage of the country. White in the middle represents peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band in the green symbolizes fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.

The Beginnings

The series of revolts which had started from isolated villages to the betrayal of Indian soldiers by the British army had reached the high point of aggression for the freedom.

Like any other movement requires an identity or a symbol, India too had many such like breaking of salt law, Charkha, promoting khadi cloths, Swadeshi and self sufficiency, and the symbolism of three monkeys — see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Among all these symbols, the major symbol was of flag. It not only represented a movement but also symbolized and summoned up the entire idea of it.

“A flag is a necessity for all nations. Millions have died for it. It is no doubt a kind of idolatry which would be a sin to destroy. For, a flag represents an Ideal The unfurling of the Union Jack evokes in the English breast sentiments whose strength it is difficult to measure. The Stars and Stripes mean a world to the Americans. The Star and the Crescent will call forth the best bravery in Islam.”
“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

Flag Code

On January 26 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier.

 For the convenience of the citizens, Flag Code of India, 2002, has been divided into three parts.

 Part I of the Code contains general description of the National Flag.

 Part II of the Code is devoted to the display of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc.

 Part III of the Code relates to display of the National Flag by Central and State governments and their organizations and agencies.

The 26th Jan 2002 resolution comes with rules and regulations which are to be followed with respect to National Flag.

The Do’s

  •  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 honor 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 Don’ts

  • 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 the water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
  • No other flag 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.

Evolution of the flag through the time

The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta now Kolkata. The flag  had a composition of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. With Vandematram at the centre, which means “I praise thee,Mother”.

The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 (according to some inl9OS). 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 the political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it as a symbol of 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.

This flag was represented to Mahatma Gandhi during the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada).Flag was prepared by the youth of Andhra. It was comprised two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested adding white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.

This flag can also be called as the last flag made in the process of freedom struggle. The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolour 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. The colours and their significance remained the same compared to the earlier flag. 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 National Flag of Independent India.

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