New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Independence Day is celebrated in India on August 15 every year to mark the day when the country got its freedom from the Britishers in 1947. The day is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm across the country, with people organising special parades and functions.

The National Flag of India is the pride of all the citizens of the country and represents our hopes and aspirations. The late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called it “a flag not only of freedom for ourselves but a symbol of freedom to all people.”

So here’s the story behind India’s national flag:

When the members of Congress Assembly of India met on July 22, 1947, the main agenda put up by Jawaharlal Nehru was to adopt a national flag for independent India. During the meeting, it was proposed that the national flag shall be horizontal tricolour of deep saffron, white and dark green in equal proportions. The white band in the middle of the flag shall have a wheel in navy blue colour.  

The first national flag of India

The first Indian flag was reportedly designed by sister Nivedita, who was an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda, between 1904-1906. However, the first national flag was reportedly hoisted on August 7 in 1906, in Kolkata at the Parsee Bagan Square.    

The first flag, which was designed by Sister Nivedita comprised of three horizontal stripes of Red, Yellow and Green, with Vande Matram written in the middle. The red strip on the flag had symbols of the sun and a crescent moon, and the green strip had eight half-open lotuses.

After 10 years, in 1917, Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement. The flag had five alternate red and four green horizontal stripes and seven stars in the saptarishi configuration. A white crescent and star occupied one top corner, and the other had Union Jack.

The origins of the present-day Tricolour flag:

The Indian Tricolour’s design is largely attributed to Pingali Venkayya, a freedom fighter. In 1916, he published a book with possible designs of Indian flags. Five years later, Venkayya, during the All India Congress Committee in Bezwada in 1921, proposed the flag design to Mahatama Gandhi, consisting of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims.

Mahatama Gandhi reportedly suggested him to add a white band in the flag which will represent peace and the rest of communities living in the country. He also suggested adding a spinning wheel to symbolise the progress of the country.

Several changes continued to be made till a decade later when in 1931 the Congress Committee met in Karachi and adopted the tricolour as our national flag. Red was replaced with saffron and the order of the colours was changed. The flag was to have no religious interpretation.

Independent India’s Flag

Later, with little nuances, the Tricolour was altered to be made the national flag for independent India. Saffron colour at the top symbolises “strength and courage”, white in the middle represent “peace and truth” and green at the bottom stands for “fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land”. The Ashok Chakra with 24 spokes replaced the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. It is intended “to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation”.

Posted By: Talib Khan