Indian National Flag: Evolution and Significance of Colors

The Indian National Flag symbolizes national pride and represents nation’s long struggle for freedom. Indian freedom fighter Pingali Venkayya designed the Indian National Flag. The flag contains three equal strips of saffron, white and green, with Ashok Chakra in the center of white color.

Evolution of Indian Flag

1. The national flag was first time hoisted on August 7, 1906 in the Green Park in the Calcutta (modern-day Kolkata). The flag contained three horizontal equal strips of green, yellow and red color. The uppermost strip was of green color and contained 8 white lotus flowers. The middle strip was of yellow color with “Vande Matram” written in its center in Hindi. And the lowermost strip was of red color which contained a sun on right corner and a crescent on the left corner.

2. It is believed that the national flag was hoisted second time in 1907 in Paris by the Madame Cama. The second flag had 3 equal stripes of orange, yellow and green color. The orange was the uppermost with one lotus flower and seven stars on it. The middle was yellow with “Vande Matram” written in Hindi in its center. And the bottommost was green color with a white crescent and star in the right corner, and a Sun in the left corner.

3. The flag was hoisted third time by Lokmanya Tilak and Dr. Annie Besant during the Home rule movement in 1917. The flag contained equally divided five red and four green horizontal strips in alternate manners. It also had seven stars identifying the Saptarishis, a Union Jack, on top left corner, with a white crescent and star in the top right corner.

4. The fourth flag was designed by India Congress Committee in Bezwada (current Vijayawada) in 1921. The flag had two strips of red and green color representing the Muslim and Hindu community. Mahatma Ghandi suggested adding a blue spinning wheel in the middle to represent other communities and nation’s progress.

5. In the year 1931, a resolution was passed for adopting a tri-color flag as the National Flag, which was suggested by Mahatma Gandhi. The flag contained the three equal color strips, with saffron at the top, white in middle and green as the bottom, with a spinning wheel in the center of the white strip.

6. On July 22, 1947, the tri-color national flag was adopted. The spinning wheel of the 1931 flag was replaced by the Dharma Chakra (Wheel of Law) of the King Asoka as an emblem on the national flag. This tri-color flag with Dharma Chakra finally became the national flag of the Independent India.

The Significance of the Colors of the National Flag:

  • Saffron: Saffron color in the national flag is a symbol of sacrifice and courage. It is the religiously significant and common color of the religions like Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain. Saffron color also indicates absolution of the ego of the people of different religion and their efforts to become one.
  • White: The white color in the national flag represents honesty, peace and purity of the nation. White color is also considered as a symbol of knowledge and cleanliness. The white color in the flag lightens the path of truth and highlights the importance of sustaining peace in the nation.
  • Green: The green color of the flag represents prosperity and faith. It is a symbol of the nation’s happiness, greenery, prosperity, life and vibrancy.
  • Ashoka Chakra: Ashok Chakra is considered as the Dharma Chakra, also known as the Samay Chakra. It contains 24 spokes of navy blue color in the center which represents the 24 precious hours of the whole day. The 24 spokes are also representing 24 Dharma Rishis of the Hindu religion. Navy blue color of the Ashok Chakra indicates the most truth of the universe and represents the color of the ocean and sky.

As per the Indian laws, the national flag is to be made up of khadi. The usage of the national flag is governed by the flag code of India. Initially, people were allowed to use National Flag on national days like Independence and Republic Day. But gradually, the Union Cabinet made some changes about the use of the flag (hoisting and its adaptation on clothes other than khadi) by Indian citizens.

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