Origin, Evolution and Significance of Indian National Flag
Indians call their national flag ‘Tiranga flag’ with love. Now the eve of Independence Day is ahead, it is relevant to know about the facts about Indian flag. Various flags were designed since the freedom movement before independence and the present flag that came into use.
The first Indian flag came into force in 1904. It was made by Sister Nivedita who was an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda using two colors red and yellow. The red color represents the freedom struggle and yellow signifies victory. The flag had ‘Bonde Matoram’ in Benaglai on it. The flag also had figures of diamond and lotus which are symbols for strength and purity.
In 1906, another flag was designed which was a tricolor flag with blue, yellow and red strips. The top strip of the flag, blue contained eight stars with slightly different shapes, and the bottom of the strip red contained sun on one end, and star and crescent moon on the other end. The middle yellow strip contained the words ‘Vande Mataram’ in Devnagiri script.
In the same year, i.e. in 1906 Calcutta flag or Lotus flag was designed with same pattern, but the top strip was green color instead of blue. It had eight opened lotuses and the bottom red strip contained only sun and crescent moon, there was no star on it. The flag was believed to be designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra to protest the partition of Bengal.
In 1916, Pingali Venkayya who was the designer of current Indian national flag consulted Gandhiji who advised him to incorporate a Charkha in it. Venkayya made a flag out of hadnspun khadi with two colors red and green and a Charkha, and sought the approval of Gandhiji. But Gandhiji did not approve it saying that the red represents Hindus and green signifies Muslims, but the remaining religions in India were not given proper significance.
In 1917, Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak adopted a new flag on the occasion of Home Rule Movement with five red and four green horizontal stripes. It had the union jack at the top and seven stars on it that represented ‘Saptarishi’ Constellation. It also had a crescent moon and a star at the top fly end.
In 1921, a new tricolor flag was designed with white on the top, then green and red on the bottom having Charkha on it. The red represents Hindu and Sikhs, and green signifies Muslim as said earlier. The white color in flag represents the minority communities in India. This flag was widely used in freedom struggle as a national symbol.
In 1931, Pingali Venkayya designed another tricolor flag considering the feelings of all Indians with saffron on the top, white on the middle and green on the bottom. Charkha was incorporated on the middle white band. This was approved by the Congress Committee, and became the official flag.
The present Indian tricolor national flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya on 22 July 1947 with saffron, white and green with Ashoka Chakra on the middle white band. It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and became the Indian national flag.
Significance of Indian National Flag: The saffron in Indian national flag represents fire and purity. White signifies the qualities of all colors as it is a mixture of seven various colors. It also signifies peace as Indians adopted nonviolence policy for their freedom. The green color resembles life, fertility and protection. The Ashoka chakra is a symbol for ‘Satya’ (truth) and ‘Dharma’ (Duty).
Some consider that orange color represents Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of money who represents the inner happiness, and the Goddess Parvathi, the Goddess of power as orange is the mixture of red and yellow colors.
Red symbolizes power and courage, and yellow symbolizes the mental development and inner happiness.White is symbolic to Goddess Sarawathi, the Goddess of knowledge who wears white sari and sits on the Swan or Lotus which are white. Green color signifies the creation of the God as most of the plants are green. The blue color of Ashoka chakra represent oceans and sky.
Some consider the deities such as Lord Rama and Krishna are blue. The 24 spokes in Ashoka chakra is believed to symbolize the 24 hours in a day. It is also believed that Sattva and Rajas, the two good qualities of ‘Triguna’ are represented in the Indian national flag. ‘Trigunas’ are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas which are represented by white, red and black.