The first national flag in India is said
to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park)
in Calcutta now Kolkata. The flag was composed of three horizontal strips of red,
yellow and green.
The second flag was hoisted in Paris by
Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 (according to some inl9OS).
This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus
but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist
conference in Berlin.
The third flag went up in 1917 when our
political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak
hoisted it during the Home rule movement. This flag had five red and four green
horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration
super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union
Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
During the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921
(now Vijayawada) an Andhra youth prepared a flag and took it to Gandhiji. It was
made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e.
Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent
the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress
of the Nation.
The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed
adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present
one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel at the center.
It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to
be interpreted thus.
On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag.
After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the
same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning
wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party
eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.
Colours of the Flag:
In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the
strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth
with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth
and auspiciousness of the land.
This Dharma Chakra depicted the "wheel of the law" in the Sarnath Lion Capital made
by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there
is life in movement and death in stagnation.
On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years
of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian
flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days
as was the case earlier. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where
and any time, as long as the provisions of the Flag Code are strictly followed to
avoid any disrespect to the tricolour. For the sake of convenience, Flag Code of
India, 2002, has been divided into three parts. Part I of the Code contains general
description of the National Flag. Part II of the Code is devoted to the display
of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations, educational institutions,
etc. Part III of the Code relates to display of the National Flag by Central and
State governments and their organisations and agencies.