Ahead of Independence Day, know more about the tricolour
The Indian national flag or tricolour is the symbol of our national pride and represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of the country. "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. For, a flag represents an ideal," Mahatma Gandhi said. "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," he added.
The tricolour was adopted in its present form during the meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on July 22, 1947, a few days before India's Independence from the British.
The national flag of India is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is two to three. There is a navy blue wheel at the centre of the white band, which represents the chakra. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
The national flag evolved throughout the history of the country and reflects its political developments.
Unofficial flag of India
The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta, which is now known as Kolkata. The flag had three horizontal stripes of red, yellow and green.
Berlin committee flag
The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Bhikhaji Cama and a group of exiled revolutionaries in 1907. This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin.
Flag used during the Home Rule movement
The third flag went up in 1917. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted the flag during the Home rule movement. It had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
Flag unofficially adopted in 1921
During the session of the All India Congress Committee, which met at Bezwada, now Vijayawada, in 1921 a man from Andhra Pradesh made a flag and took it to Mahatma Gandhi. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities of Hindus and Muslims. Mahatma Gandhi suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise the progress of the nation.
Flag adopted in 1931
A resolution was passed adopting a tricolour flag as our national flag in 1931. This flag was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel at the centre. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.
The present flag
The Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag on July 22, 1947. After Independence, the colours of the flag and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag.
Colours of the flag
The tricolour has the saffron colour as the top band, which indicates the country's strength and courage. The white band in the middle with the Dharma Chakra indicates peace and truth. The Dharma Chakra depicts the "wheel of the law" and shows there is life in movement and death in stagnation. It is in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the Mauryan emperor Asoka. The last band is green and shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.