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By Khushi Bisht

The national flag of a country is a source of honor and great value because it represents the spirit of the country. It serves as a symbol of freedom and every aspect has great significance. Therefore, it is designed with great consideration. However, the Indian national flag has undergone several modifications since its origin. In this article, we will discuss the Indian national flag as well as its history and evolution.

Flags have been in use for five to seven thousand years, when they were primarily used for military purposes and to symbolize many empires and dynasties. Our national flag was found during our country’s battle for independence. He went through many changes to become what he is now. In some ways, it also reflects national and political changes in the country.

Following the Cipaye Mutiny of 1857, the British monarch chose to establish a single united Indian flag. The Flag of Unified India was initially a foreign concept, but it was eventually established as our own.

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Just as the Cipaye Rebellion contributed to the first flag of undivided India, the division of Bengal in 1905 made a vital contribution to the establishment of the first flag of India which symbolized the country and its people. The burgeoning Swadeshi movement needed a new emblem of freedom devoid of British imperialist ideals. Vande Mataram Flag, the first tricolor of India, was born from this. Although it is an unauthorized flag, it was the first to symbolize the freedom of India and its people.

The Vande Mataram flag was the first tricolor of India.Wikimedia Commons

On August 7, 1906, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) Parsee Bagan Square, it was hoisted for the first time. Green, yellow and red bands were evenly spaced on the flag. It featured eight lotuses on the upper green band, symbolizing the eight provinces of the Indian subcontinent; Vande Mataram, inscribed in Hindi, on the middle yellow band; and a sun and a crescent on the lower red band representing the two main religions of India, Hinduism and Islam.

In 1907, Madame Bhikaji Cama, a leading activist in the struggle for Indian independence, carried a flag similar to this one (Vande Matram Flag). The upper band of this flag was saffron, with a lotus and seven stars signifying the Saptarishis (Seven Sages); the middle and bottom bands were the same. During this period, the Vande Matram flag was used in a number of major events. The flag, on the other hand, did not find favor with patriots and activists. As a result, the search for a suitable flag for the Indian people persisted.

Another Indian flag became popular during the Indian movement for autonomy (1916-1918), directed by Annie Basant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. In 1917, the movement’s flag was hoisted for the first time. Five red and four green stripes alternated on the flag. The Union Jack (the flag of the United Kingdom) was displayed in the upper left corner. A white crescent and star are depicted in the upper right corner, with seven stars in the center signifying the Saptarishis. The layout of the flag expresses the purpose of the movement; to establish an autonomous government.

Indian national flag

The layout of the flag expresses the purpose of the movement; to establish an autonomous government.Wikimedia Commons

In 1921, a young man from Andhra Pradesh named Pingali Venkayya made a flag and presented it to Gandhiji at the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bezwada (now Vijayawada). The flag of India, the Tiramga (Tricolor), emerged from this simple shape. It consisted of two colors: red and green, which respectively represented Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji, on the other hand, recommended adding a white band to symbolize other communities in India and a spinning wheel to signify the growth of the nation.

However, the search for a suitable flag continued, and it was during this period that the Swaraj flag was born. This flag is a significantly updated variation of Pingali Venkayya’s original design. This flag also had three horizontal stripes: saffron at the top, white in the middle and green at the bottom. On the white strip, there was a representation of a spinning wheel. Saffron, white and green respectively represented bravery and sacrifice, peace and honesty, and faith and chivalry.

For decades, the Swaraj flag has been used extensively in many movements. The flag became a symbol of unification and it was widely adopted. It was considered a sign of Indian freedom. The Indian National Congress, on the other hand, chose the Swaraj flag in 1931 and it is still its official flag today.

Indian national flag

The Swaraj flag is a significantly updated variation of Pingali Venkayya’s original design.Wikimedia Commons

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It took another twenty years for Tiranga, the national flag of India, to be unveiled.

With minor modifications, the Swaraj flag was approved as the national flag on July 22, 1947. The Dharma Chakra or the wheel of law, which has 24 spokes, supplanted the spinning wheel as the central emblem. A developing nation is also represented by the Chakra. The chakra is believed to demonstrate that life is in motion and death is in stagnation.

The saffron color of the Indian flag represents the “might and courage” of the country. The white color represents “peace and honesty with the Dharma Chakra”. The color green is associated with “the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the earth”. As a result, the tricolor of the Congress Party transformed into the tricolor of independent India.

Indian national flag
The Dharma Chakra or the Wheel of Law, which has 24 spokes, has supplanted the spinning wheel as the central emblem.

January 26, 2002 was a memorable day for every Indian citizen. 54 years after the establishment of Tiranga as the national flag, ordinary residents were allowed to fly the tricolor above their homes and workplaces on any day, not just national holidays, as long as they followed the rules of the flag code to avoid disrespecting the flag.