National Flag Adoption Day 2019: Significance and History of the Tricolour or Tiranga, India's National Flag
Indian National Flag | (Photo Credits: File Image)

New Delhi, July 21: The National Flag Adoption Day is a moment of great significance in the history of India and the long freedom movement struggle against the British Raj. On July 22, 1947, the tricolour flag or Tiranga comprising colours saffron, white and green with the Ashok Chakra was adopted as the National Flag of India.

The decision was taken during one of the meetings of the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947. The Indian flag in its current form was approved unanimously by the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947 and since then, July 22 is celebrated as the “National Flag Adoption Day”.

The Indian National Flag or Tiranga, as it is known in Hindi, is based on the Swaraj Flag, which was designed by Pingali Venkayya and was first flown in 1923.

India gained Independence from the British on August 15, 1947. A few days before gaining Independence, the Constituent Assembly declared that the National flag has to be such that it is acceptable to all strata and segments of the society.

The Swaraj flag, which was till then used by the Indian National Congress after Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi had proposed that the Congress have a flag of its own.

The discussion around the need to have a flag had preceded even Gandhi’s suggestion. In fact, the need to have a uniform Indian flag was first highlighted by the British colonisers and officers, after the first war of independence in 1857.

And even as the British officials including William Coldstream and Lord Curzon kept debating the nature of flag for the “dominion of India”, the freedom fighters and the nationalist movement leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay recommended flags with figures of Hindu gods.

The partition of Bengal in 1905 gave rise to another flag, called the Vande Mataram Flag. It comprised of religious symbols of India but depicted them in the heraldic fashion used in flags of Western countries.

It was during this period that Pingali Venkayya came up with thirty designs for the flag. Mahatma Gandhi wrote an essay in Young India, the journal run by him, about the need for a national flag and proposed one with the spinning wheel or charkha on it.

Follower of Arya Samaj founder leader Swami Dayanand, it was Lala Hansraj who had suggested the idea for the spinning wheel to feature in the flag.

The assignment was handed over to Pingali Venkayya. However, he was told to design a flag with a spinning wheel on colour Red (for Hindus) and colour Green (for Muslims) on it.

Later, Gandhi realised that other religions and communities were not represented and thus instructed that colour white be also used to represent or symbolise all the communities.

It was first hoisted on April 13, 1923 by Congress workers in Nagpur, during a procession to protest the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The Swaraj flag was then modified and accepted as the National Flag of India after an ad hoc committee was formed by the assembly in June 23, 1947.

The committee was headed by Rajendra Prasad and including Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, C. Rajagopalachari, K. M. Munshi and B. R. Ambedkar as its members.

The spinning wheel was replaced by the Chakra. The Chakra was taken from the Lion Capital of Ashoka. The Chakra represents dharma and order of law, explained Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Jawaharlal Nehru, Independent India’s first prime minister, proposed before the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947, the horizontal tricolour with colour saffron, white and green on the flag in equal proportion and Ashoka wheel in blue printed on the white space in between.

Two more flags were shown, but the assembly unanimously passed the resolution in favour of the tricolour flag as it is in its present form. After January 26, 1950, the flag became the flag of the Republic of India.