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Story of India's Tri-colour National Flag

"COURAGE, TRUTH, PROSPERITY - the tiranga or national tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The deep saffron represents patriotism, courage, and the spirit of renunciation; white in the middle represents purity, transparency and truth; green at the bottom represents Peace, prosperity, faith and fertility."

Internet Sources : October 18, 2007

The Constituent Assembly of India approved the design of India National Flag on July 22, 1947. But the finally accepted design India’s national tricolor flag evolved over a period of nearly half a century through designs by famous leaders whose names are inextricably linked with the country’s freedom struggle. The final design came on July 22, 1947 — less than a month before India made its tryst with freedom on 15th August 1947.

The Flag Committee of the Constituent Assembly, which included eminent nationalist leaders such as Abdul Kalam Azad, K.M. Panikar, Sarojini Naidu, C. Rajagopalachari, K.M. Munshi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Chairman Rajendra Prasad, recommended that the flag of the Indian National Congress be adopted, with modifications, as the National Flag. It was decided that the flag would have horizontally arranged bands of saffron, white and dark green. Superimposed in the middle of the white band would be an emblem, in blue, of the wheel on Ashokan Pillar.

Nehru submitted the recommendations to the House on July 22, 1947, and presented two flags — one made of khadi-silk and another of cotton-khadi. The resolution was passed unanimously. On Aug. 14, 1947, after Nehru’s historic speech at the stroke of midnight, Hansa Mehta presented the flag to the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, saying: “It is in the fitness of things that the first flag, that is to fly over this august House, should be a gift from the women of India.” The tricolor went up for the first time in independent India at the Council House at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 15. That same afternoon, the first public flag salutation ceremony was held at the War Memorial at Prince’s Park, near India Gate. The tricolor was hoisted for the first time on the ramparts of the Red Fort on Aug. 16.

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The National Flag evolved into its present form over a long period of time during the freedom movement. Madame Bhikaiji Cama, who played a major role in guiding the Indian freedom movement abroad, unfurled a flag in Stuttgart, Germany, in August 1907. Cama’s version had a green band on the top, sacred to the Muslims; golden saffron in the center, considered holy by Buddhists as well as the Sikhs; and red at the bottom, symbolizing Hinduism; with eight lotuses in a line representing the eight provinces of British India and ‘Vande Mataram’ on the golden band, besides the sun and a crescent moon.

In 1917, Home Rule League pioneers Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant designed a flag comprising five red and four green horizontal stripes arranged alternately, with seven stars in the ‘Saptarishi’ configuration. On the left upper quadrant, it had the Union Jack, and on the upper right quadrant, there was a crescent and a star. The red color denoted Hindus and the green, Muslims.

Earlier, in 1916, Pingley Venkayya, from Masulipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, tried to design a common flag for the entire country and contacted Mahatma Gandhi in this connection. Gandhi summoned Venkayya to the meeting of the All India Congress Committee at Bezwada (present-day Vijayawada) in April 1921, and asked him to give a design for a national flag with a charkha, or spinning wheel as the symbol of self-reliance, on a red and green background. The two colors were to signify Hinduism and Islam.Venkayya designed a flag that had two bands of red and green, with a large charkha covering both the bands. Gandhi later said the flag should have three colors, representing Hindus, Muslims and other religions. He suggested white, green and red, in that order. Thus, the first flag of All India Congress was born. In 1931, it evolved into the direct predecessor of the current National Flag, with the charkha occupying the white band.

COURAGE, TRUTH, PROSPERITY - the tiranga or national tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The deep saffron represents patriotism, courage, and the spirit of renunciation; white in the middle represents purity, transparency and truth; green at the bottom represents Peace, prosperity, faith and fertility.

The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the center of the white band is a navy blue chakra or the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.

 

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