Let’s actually know how the present Indian Flag has evoloved over time.
1) Sister Nivedita’s Flag: (1904-1906)
It was during 1904-1906 that the first Indian flag came into existence. It was made by Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The flag came to be known as Sister Nivedita’s flag. The flag comprised of red and yellow colour and had a figure of ‘vajra’, the weapon of Lord Indra and a white lotus in the middle. The flag had the words ‘Bonde Matoram’ in Bengali written on it. The red and the yellow colour signified freedom and victory whereas the ‘vajra’ symbolized strength.
2) Calcutta Flag: (1906)
After Sister Nivedita’s flag, the Calcutta flag introduced the idea of a tricolor for the first time. The flag had three horizontal stripes of blue, yellow and red. It had eight differently shaped star aligned in a straight line on the top most blue stripe. ‘Vande Mataram’ was written on the yellow part and a sun and a crescent moon with a star was on the red stripe at the bottom.
3) Early Nationalist Flag: (1906-1907)
In 1906 another flag came into existence which was hoisted on August 7, 1906 at an anti-partition rally in Parsee Bagan Square in Kolkata. This tricolor is believed to have been designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra. It had three stripes of green, yellow and red from top to bottom. The top most green band had eight lotus flowers representing the eight provinces and the middle yellow stripe bore the words ‘Vande Mataram’. The lowermost band had a crescent moon on the left and a sun on the right side.
4) The Berlin Committee Flag: (1907)
The Berlin Committee Flag was collectively designed by Madame Bhikaji Cama, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) and Shyamji Krishna Varma. The flag was first unfurled in Stuttgrat, Germany by Madame Cama on August 22, 1907 and was the first Indian flag to be hoisted on foreign soil. The flag was also a tricolor but introduced the colour saffron for the first time. The top most band was of orange colour with eight lotuses, yellow was in the middle with words Vande Mataram. The green colour at the bottom was with symbols of the sun and moon.
5) The Home Rule Flag: (1917)
The Home Rule Movement had a separate flag which was propounded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to demand the status of a Dominion within the British Empire. The flag was a red-green striped one with the Union Jack at the upper left hand corner and seven stars in the middle. The stars were placed as the stars in the Saptarishi constellation. The flag also had a crescent moon and and a star at top right corner.
6) Mahatma Gandhi’s Flag: (1921)
In 1921, Mahatma Gandhi proposed a tricolor flag with the ‘charkha’ or a spinning wheel at its centre. The colours of the flag represented the dominant religions of the country with a message of promoting religious harmony. However, the colour of the flag was not agreed upon and further changes were sought. The lowermost stripe of red represented sacrifice, the middle green stripe represented hope and the topmost white stripe represented peace. The flag was introduced at the Indian National Congress meeting in 1921.
7) The Swaraj Flag: (1923-1947)
The previous flag was not well-liked by the public and the leaders since it was interpreted with a communal angle. The colours of the flag were changed to saffron, white and green. The saffron colour was chosen to showcase both the Hindu yogis and Muslim darvesh. The white band in the middle stood for other religious communities. It was the first official flag of India and was designed by Pingali Venkayya. The symbol of ‘charkha’ was retained to symbolize the Swadeshi movement.
8) The flag of sovereign India: (1947-Present)
When India attained Independence, a committee headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad was formed to select the National Flag of India. The committee adopted the Swaraj Flag with a slight change as the flag of independent India. The ‘charkha’ in the middle was replaced by the Ashoka Chakra and hence our present National Flag came into existence. The significance of the colours was also changed. The saffron band came to denote courage and selflessness, the white stood for purity, peace and truth, the green stripe for faith, fertility and prosperity. The Ashoka Chakra symbolized the rule of dharma.
Eight Facts about the Indian Flag:
1. Indian National Flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya who was a freedom fighter and an agricultural from Andhra Pradesh.
2. The Indian flag was adopted on July 22, 1947, just before India received independence from Britain on August 15, 1947.
3. The middle white stripe in the national flag carries the design of an Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes.
4. The National Flag of India, by law, is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton or silk made popular by Mahatma Gandhi.
5. The right to manufacture the flag is held by the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission, who in turn allocates it to the regional groups.
6. Tenzing Norgay hoisted the Indian national flag on Mount Everest for the first time on 29 May 1953.
7. Before 2002, normal citizens of India were not allowed to hoist the National Flag except on Independence Day and Republic Day. In 2002, Supreme Court of India amended the flag code and gave rights to all citizens to hoist the flag any time as per the flag code.
8. As per the flag code, the flag must be hoisted in the day time and there should be no flag or any other symbolic representation above it.
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