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History of India’s National Flag

During the Freedom Struggle the flag went through many designs before settling on the tricolor that represents India today. Here’s a brief history of the Tiranga (Tricolor).

The flag that was first hoisted on August 7, 1906, at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta

first flag
This flag was first hoisted on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta. It is a horizontal tricolor of dark blue, yellow and red. The upper blue stripe has 8 stars of different points. These represented the various state of bloom of lotus flower. The middle yellow stripe has “Vande Mataram” written in Devanagari script. The lower red strip has a sun and a star and a crescent on each end. Some sources give Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra the credit for design and called it the ‘Saptarishi Flag’, this was hoisted in Stuttgart at the International Socialist Congress held on August 22, 1907.

This flag was known as the Saptarishi flag and was hosted in Paris and later in Stuttgart by Madam Bhikaji Cama and her band of revolutionaries. This flag was very similar to first flag. The top strip had one lotus and seven stars depicting the Saptarishi . Madam Cama was the designer of this flag.

Saptarishi flag

The 8 stars-lotus in these flags represented the 8 provinces of British India. There are other variations of these flags. One such flag had all the stars, sun, star and crescent hand embroidered. However, the word “Vande Mataram” was misspelled.

Associated with the names of Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak, this flag was hoisted at the Congress session in Calcutta during the “Home Rule Movement”.
Home Rule Movement Flag
By 1917, the political struggle for India’s freedom had taken a definite turn. This flag was used by Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak during the “Home Rule” movement. The top left corner of the flag has the union jack. The flag itself consists of 9 strips, 5 red and 4 green. The crescent and the star is on the top right corner and 7 stars in the pattern of saptarishi are arranged on the flag. This flag symbolizes the aspirations of the freedom struggle at that time of a Dominion Status.

In the year 1921, a young man from Andhra presented this flag to Gandhiji for approval. It was only after Gandhiji’s suggestion that the white strip and the charkha were added.
First flag approved by Gandhiji
The flag used in the Home rule movement was not very popular. The presence of Union Jack on the flag depicted the political compromise that was very unpopular with the masses. 1921, brought the young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to the fore. During the All India Congress Committee Meeting at Bezwada (Vijayawada) in Andhra Pradesh, a young man designed this flag and presented it to Gandhiji. The flag originally had only 2 colors, green and red that symbolized the Muslim and the Hindu communities. At Gandhiji’s request, the third white color was added for the other communities and the charkha to symbolize progress. This flag was never approved by the Congress Committee however, because of Gandhiji’s approval; it was used at all Congress functions.

This flag was suggested during the All India Congress Committee session in 1931. However, the Committee’s suggestion was not approved.
unapproved flag
In 1931 at the All India Congress Committee meeting in Karachi, the communal tensions were already flaring. There was significant controversy over the importance of flag colors. A 7 member flag committee was set up to come up with a flag. They presented the flag with just one color; saffron with a reddish brown charkha. This flag was not approved by the Congress Committee.

On August 6, 1931, The Indian National Congress formally adopted this flag, which was first hoisted on August 31.
INC approved flag
A resolution was passed and the committee formally adopted the tricolor flag on August 6 1921. It was first hoisted on August 31, 1931. The date was declared as Flag Day. The proportions for the flag were set at 2:3.
Indian Flag
Our National Flag, which was born on July 22, 1947, with Nehruji’s words, “Now I present to you not only the Resolution but the Flag itself”. This flag was first hoisted at the Council House on August 15, 1947.

On august 15 1947, India adopted the horizontal tricolor of orange, white and green with blue Ashok Chakra. The tricolor was adopted since 1921 and the Ashok Chakra was added for historical depth and to separate the National flag from the Indian National Congress flag. The spoke Ashok Chakra or the Wheel of Law of 3rd century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashok.

India’s flag is a tricolor standard with bands of saffron, white and dark green. The saffron represents courage, sacrifice, patriotism, and renunciation. It is also the color of the Hindu people. The green stands for faith, fertility and the land, it is the color of Islam religion. The white is in the center, symbolizing the hope for unity and peace. In the center of the white band is a blue wheel with 24 spokes. This is the Ashoka Chakra (or “Wheel of Law”). The chakra represents the continuing progress of the nation and the importance of justice in life. It also appears on the Sarnath Lion, Capital of Ashoka.

The largest flag in India (6.3 × 4.2 m) is flown by the government of Maharashtra atop the Mantralya building, the state administrative headquarters

Lt Shri Pingali Venkayya, the man who designed the Tiranga.
Pingali Venkayya

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