Shivaji-inspired newnaval ensign unveiled

Updated on Sep 03, 2022 12:49 AM IST

The new ensign consists of the national flag in the upper left canton, and a navy blue-gold octagon at the centre of the fly

This is the fifth change in the naval ensign since 1950. 
This is the fifth change in the naval ensign since 1950. 
ByRahul Singh

Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unveiled a naval ensign at the commissioning ceremony of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, with the new flag drawing inspiration from the seal of Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj and the Cross of St George being dropped -- a move that the PM described as getting rid of the burden of a colonial past.

The new ensign consists of the national flag in the upper left canton, and a navy blue-gold octagon at the centre of the fly.A blue octagonal shape with the national emblem sits atop an anchor, superimposed on a shield.

Below the shield, within the octagon, is inscribed the motto of the Indian Navy “Sam No Varunah” (a prayer to the God of the sea, Varuna).

Also read: Explainer: Why Vikrant’s induction is a watershed moment for Indian Navy

“The design encompassed within the octagon has been taken from the Indian naval crest, wherein the fouled anchor, which is also associated with colonial legacy, has been replaced with a clear anchor underscoring the steadfastness of the Indian Navy. The twin octagonal borders draw inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj Rajmudra or the seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, one of the prominent Indian kings with a visionary maritime outlook, who built a credible naval fleet that earned grudging admiration from European navies operating in the region at the time,” the navy said in a statement.

This is the fifth change in the naval ensign since 1950.

Modi talked about the Indian Maritime tradition and naval capabilities. Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj, he said, built such a navy on the strength of this sea power, which kept enemies on their toes. When the British came to India, they used to be intimidated by the power of Indian ships and trade through them. So they decided to break the back of India’s maritime power. History is witness to how strict restrictions were imposed on Indian ships and merchants by enacting a law in the British Parliament at that time, the Prime Minister said.

He noted that on the historic date of September 2, 2022, India has taken off a trace and burden of slavery. “Till now the identity of slavery remained on the flag of Indian Navy. But from today onwards, inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the new Navy flag will fly in the sea and in the sky,” Modi said.

The naval ensign until now was the St George’s Cross set on a white background, with the national emblem placed at the intersection and the Indian flag in the top left quadrant.

The patron saint of England, St George lived in the 3rd century and is still identified with ideals of honour and gallantry.

Also read: INS Vikrant: All you need to know about largest India-made warship

The St George’s Cross was dropped from the naval ensign earlier too.

The navy’s ensign from 1950 to 2001 was the St George’s Cross on a white background, with the national flag in the upper canton. It was changed in 2001 to an Indianised ensign that displayed only the Indian flag and the navy crest, bringing commonality with the flags of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force that have the national flag and the respective service crests set on red and blue backgrounds respectively. In 2004 -- according to officials, following problems of recognition of Indian warships at sea -- the navy returned to its pre-2001 ensign with the addition of the state emblem placed at the intersection of the cross.

The next change in ensign was introduced in 2014 when the words “Satyamev Jayate” were placed under the national emblem at the centre of the St George’s Cross.

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