Saturday, August 15, 2015


The history of the Indian flag is like the history of India itself, of choices, and compulsions, in equal measure. The Indian flag evolved with the times, reflecting its times, the struggle for independence from British rule.

It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception.It was discovered during our national struggle for freedom.The Evolution of the Indian National flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today.

The Journey of the Indian Tricolour
There was a time when every princely state in India had its own flag and emblem.  Today we have only one flag.  How did it come into existence?
Though the participants of the 1857 Revolt carried a flag, it was Sister Nivedita, Vivekananda’s Irish disciple, who first thought of designing a national flag.  The flag which was displayed at the 1906 Calcutta session of the Congress was square-shaped with 108 oil-lamps along its borders and India’s thunderbolt (Vajra) in the centre.  The words Vande Mataram appeared on it in Bengali.

Nivedita’s flag failed to capture the popular imagination and it was a tricolor designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra that was approved and accepted by Surendranath Banerjee and the Bengali Congress.  The flag had eight half-open lotuses (for the 8 provinces) on the top, the words Vande Mataram in the middle and a sun and crescent moon, representing Hindus and Muslims respectively, at the bottom.
It was this flag that was displayed at the Second International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart in August 1907 by freedom activist and social worker, Madame Bhikaiji Rustom Cama.  She made a fiery speech at the end of which she dramatically unfurled the flag and said, “I appeal to lovers of freedom all over the world in the name of this flag to cooperate in freeing one-fifth of the human race.”
In 1916, Pingali Venkayya, a youth from Masulipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, started the Indian National Flag Mission and authored a book called A National Flag for India.  He approached Gandhiji with his design – a tricolour in white, green and red with a blue charkha in the middle.
Thus was born the first truly ‘national’ flag.  The British, of course, saw it as a symbol of revolution and prohibited it from being flown or displayed in public places.
The Jabalpur and Nagpur Flag Satyagraha was organized to protest against this repression in 1923.  Thousands of people courted arrest after taking the flag in procession. The flag became a symbol of India’s aspiration for freedom.
The first public flag hoisting ceremony was held on the afternoon of 15 August, 1947 at India Gate.  According to Lord Mountbatten, when Pandit Nehru unfurled the flag, a rainbow magically appeared in the cloudless summer sky.  Surely, a heavenly salute to a hard-won flag.

(An extract from Young World, The Hindu)
 A flag is a necessity for all nations. Millions have died for it. It is no doubt a kind of idolatry which would be a sin to destroy.
"It will be necessary for us Indians Muslims, Christians Jews, Parsis, and all others to whom India is their home-to recognize a common flag to live and to die for."  ~ - Mahatma Gandhi

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