Highlights

  • The first design of the flag is largely attributed to freedom fighter Pingali Venkayya
  • In 1931, the Congress Committee adopted the tricolour as national flag but with few changes
  • The flag was to be free of religious interpretation

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Independence Day 2022: how the tricolour was adopted in its present form, a look at its journey

The first design of the flag proposed in 1921 consisted of two red, green bands to symbolise the two major communities - Hindus and Muslims, with a white band representing peace and other communities and a spinning wheel symbolising the country’s progress.  

When we think of the flag of India, the colours saffron, white, green, and blue come to our mind. But did you know, that the first design of the tricolour proposed in 1921 consisted of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities of the country - Hindus and Muslims, with a white band representing peace as well as the rest of the communities and a spinning wheel symbolising the country’s progress.

The design, largely attributed to freedom fighter Pingali Venkayya, went through several changes and it was in 1931 that the Congress Committee met in Karachi and adopted the tricolour as our national flag. But red was replaced with saffron and the order of the colours was shuffled.

The flag was to be free of religious interpretation. Hence in its present form, the 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 or charkha to symbolise “life in movement and death in stagnation”.

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Finally, it was on July 22, 1947 that the members of the Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall in Delhi, and officially adopted the national flag for free India.

It was 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, which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

And the final design of the Indian National Flag was hoisted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on August 16, 1947, at Red Fort, with a history of several decades preceding independence.

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