The tricolour flag, which symbolizes pride for every Indian, which motivates the freedom fighters towards a single goal of independence, holds a unique place in every Indian’s heart.
The Indian flag, in its present form, has three equal, parallel, and rectangular stripes of saffron (Kesari), white, and green. A blue-coloured Dharma Chakra or ‘Wheel of the Law’ with 24 spikes is placed in the centre of the white band. The Saffron signifies courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth, and green stands for faith and fertility. The Chakra denotes the continual progress of the country. Its blue colour connotes the boundless sky and fathomless sea. The founding fathers of India wanted limitless growth for the nation.
The flag, as we see it today, has gone through various changes before taking its present shape. The first Indian flag came into being in the pre-independence era, in 1904. It was made by Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda. This flag had two colours, red and yellow, wherein red signified the freedom struggle and yellow was a symbol of victory. The words Bande Mataram in Bengali script were written on it. The flag also contained a figure of Vajra, the weapon of the Hindu deity Indra, and a white lotus in the middle. The Vajra is a symbol of strength, and the lotus depicts purity.
Another flag was designed in 1906, which was a tricolour flag with three equal strips – blue at the top, yellow in the middle, and red at the bottom. In this flag, the blue strip had eight stars of slightly different shapes. The red strip had two symbols: the first one was of the sun, and the other one contained a star and a crescent. The yellow strip had the words Vande Mataram written on it in Devanagari script. In the same year, another version of tri-colour was created, which had orange, yellow, and green colours. It came to be known as the ‘Calcutta Flag’ or the ‘Lotus Flag’, as it had eight half-opened red coloured flag had a comparatively larger size of flowers.
In 1921, Pingali Venkaya, a young man from a small village near Machilipatnam, in present-day Andhra Pradesh, designed a flag which had white, red, and green colours with a Charkha or a spinning wheel in the centre. This flag was rejected as it represented the colours of religious communities. In 1931, the ‘Swaraj’ flag came into existence, which had a close resemblance to our present National flag. This tricolour flag had the same saffron, white, and green colours as in our current National flag. The only difference was that instead of a Dharma Chakra, it had a Charkha.
The national flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour flag of India saffron, white and India green; with the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, in navy blue at its centre. It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, and it became the official flag of the Dominion of India on 15 August 1947. The flag was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. In India, the term “tricolour” almost always refers to the Indian national flag. The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.
Pingali Venkayya was a flag enthusiast who created a booklet titled ‘A National Flag for India’ in 1916 with 24 Indian flag designs. In 2009, he was posthumously honoured with a postage stamp. He was an agriculturist and also an educationist who set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam. He, however, died in poverty in 1963 and was largely forgotten by society.