History, Details And “The Flag Code” of the Indian National Flag

Every country in the world has got a ‘national flag’ of its own, which is a symbol of the country. The Indian National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is the symbol of our national pride.

In India, over the last five decades, several people including members of armed forces have un-grudgingly laid down their lives to keep the tri-colour flying in its full glory.

The former Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru called it “a flag not only of freedom for ourselves, but a symbol of freedom to all people.”

Indian National Flag is a horizontal tricolor flag, with the following colours in equal proportions with the “Ashoka Chakra” in the middle of the flag, in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes:

  • Deep saffron/kesari colour  at the top,
  • White in the middle and
  • Dark green at the bottom

The Size and the proportions of the Indian Natioanal Flag – 9 different sizes:
 Length and width (cms) /Size of Ashoka Chakra (cms)
630 × 420/129.5
360× 240/74
270 × 180/55.5
180 × 120/37
135 × 90/28
90 × 60/18.5
45 × 30/9
22.5 × 15/4
15 × 10/0.2

The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three 2:3

The Meanings of the Tri-colours of the Indian National Flag:

  • The Saffron at the top, indicates the strength, courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation of the country,
  • The White in the middle band indicates peace, truth and purity of the country,
  • The Green colour shows the faith,fertility, growth, prosperity and vibrance of life of the country and
  • The Ashok Chakra / wheel in the middle, represents the righteousness, progress and perpetuity of the country and the 24 spokes of the wheel represents the 24 hours of a day.
  • The Ashok  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.

In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.

The History of the National Flag Adoption in India:

In the year 1906, the following flag was used unofficially as the flag of India. The first national flag in India had been hoisted on 7th August 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.

In the year 1907, the following flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907.  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.

In the year 1917, the following flag was hoisted by Dr.Annie Besant and Lok Manya Tilak 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.

In the year 1921 the following flag was unofficially adopted, during the session of the “All India Congress Committee”, which met at Bezwada in 1921 /now Vijayawada. The flag 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.

In the year 1931, the following flag was adopted and the same had been the battle ensign of the Indian National Army.  A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as the 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.

The following is the present Tricolour flag of India, originally designed by Pingali Venkayyaa and officially adopted by the Government of India, in the meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India’s independence from the British Rule on 15 August, 1947.

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.

Indian National Flag Code:

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.

According to the rules of the Flag Code of India:

Normally the National Flag should be flown over important government buildings like the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts, the Secretariats, the Commissioners’ office etc.

The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.

A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.

Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.
The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.And the tricolour should not be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.

The flag should not be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. And the flat should not be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.

When the National Flag is raised the saffron color band should be at the top.

No other flag or emblem should be placed either above the National Flag or to its right. And, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag.

All other flags must be placed to the left of the National Flag,  if they are hung in a line.

When the National Flag is carried in a procession or parade, it shall be on the marching right or in front of the center of the line, if there is a line of other flags.

The National Flag or any imitation of it must not be used for purpose of trade, business, or profession. The National Flag should always be taken down in the evening at sunset.

It is notable that:

  • The Indian flag was hoisted on the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest on 29th May 1953.

  • And the Indian National Flag was taken to ‘space’ in the year 1984 by the Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma and the flag was attached as a medallion on the space suit of Rakesh Sharma.

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