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Indian History

National Flag of India

  • 14 Aug 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day in 2020, and like every year the Prime Minister of India will hoist the National Flag at the Red Fort to commemorate the day.

Key Points

  • Design: The design of the Indian tricolour is largely attributed to Pingali Venkayya, an Indian freedom fighter.
    • He proposed a basic design of the flag, consisting of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims.
      • Mahatma Gandhi arguably suggested adding a white band to represent peace and the rest of the communities living in India, and a spinning wheel to symbolise the progress of the country.
    • He passed away in 1963 and was posthumously honoured with a postage stamp in 2009 for his contribution towards Indian freedom struggle. In 2014, his name was also proposed for the Bharat Ratna.
  • History:
    • 1906: Arguably the first national flag of India is said to have been hoisted on 7th August 1906, in Kolkata at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park).
      • It comprised three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green, with Vande Mataram written in the middle. The red strip on the flag had symbols of the sun and a crescent moon, and the green strip had eight half-open lotuses.
    • 1907: Madame Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries hoisted an Indian flag in Germany in 1907 — this was the first Indian flag to be hoisted in a foreign land.
    • 1917: Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement. It had five alternate red and four green horizontal stripes, and seven stars in the saptarishi configuration. A white crescent and star occupied one top corner, and the other had Union Jack.
    • 1931: The Congress Committee met in Karachi and adopted the tricolour (that of Pingali Venkayya) as India’s national flag. Red was replaced with saffron and the order of the colours was changed. The flag was to have no religious interpretation.
      • Saffron on top symbolises “strength and courage”, white in the middle represents “peace and truth” and green at the bottom stands for “fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land”.
      • The Ashok Chakra with 24 spokes replaced the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. It is intended “to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation”.
      • The National Flag should be rectangular in shape with a length to width ratio of 3:2.
  • Constitutional and Legal Aspect:
    • The Constituent Assembly adopted the motion of national flag on 22nd July 1947.
      • The motion proposed that “the National Flag of India shall be horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesari), white and dark green in equal proportion.” The white band was to have a wheel in navy blue (the charkha being replaced by the chakra), which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka
    • One of the minor committees of the Constituent Assembly, the Ad-hoc Committee on the National Flag was headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
    • The Part IV-A of the Constitution (which consists of only one Article 51-A) specifies the eleven Fundamental Duties. According to Article 51A (a), it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
    • A person who is convicted for the following offences under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971 is disqualified to contest in the elections to the Parliament and state legislature for 6 years.
      • Offence of insulting the National Flag,
      • Offence of insulting the Constitution of India,
      • Offence of preventing the singing of the National Anthem.

Source: IE

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