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Tracing its evolution

Annesha Chatterjee | Kolkata |

The Encyclopedia Britannica reads, ‘Flags recognisable as such were the invention, almost certainly, of the ancient Indians or the Chinese’. It is doubtless that the west has a tendency to consider China every time, as a creator of many things while India has much scientific evidence of its originality.

It was on the 22 July, 1947, in the then BritishIndian Parliament Session, that the present tri-coloured National Flag had been selected. From different school studies, we learned many things about the fixation and evaluation of our flag-identification.

In 1883, a book was published in Lahore titles ‘Indian National Songs and Lyrics’.

The very first page of the book contained a picture of a flag. It was just a white rectangular space with a full sun in the middle. Under the picture, the words ‘Our National Standard’ were written.

It was probably one of the first representations of our future national flag. In 1904, our freedom fighters were battling the British with tremendous spirit in favour of liberty, but sadly without flag to be united under. Sister Nivedita was one of the biggest inspirations during the fight against British colonialism.

It was she who made a flag of red, bordered by yellow.The flag contained a five-faced Bazra (sharp pointed edges weapon) and the word Vande to the right and Mataram to the left side of the symbol. According to some, it was first furnished in 1906.

The flag was popularised as the ‘Nivedita-Flag’. In 1906, a further design came forward. It was slightly larger than Nivedita’s representation. In this flag, the upper third was blue, lower third was red and the middle was yellow. There were eight stars within the blue section and here also the words Vande-Mataram were written in the middle in Sanskrit.

The left corner of the bottom red section had a white crescent moon with a star and the right corner contained a white image of sun.

The eight stars represented the eight provinces that British India was divided into at the time. Rastra-Guru Surendranath who founded the Indian National Association, decided to organise a day of noncooperation on 7 August 1906.

He also furnished a flag with the combined efforts of freedom fighters Sachindra Prassad Bose and Sukumar Mitra. In this representation, the upper part of the flag was orange with eight half-blossomed lotuses, yellow in the middle and green at the bottom. Later the flag came to be known as the Calcutta flag.

On 22 August 1907, Madam Vikhaji Kama, Vinayak Damador Savarkar and Shamji Krishnabarma hoisted a national flag in Stuttgart, Germany.This flag was also tri-coloured. From top to bottom; first green then deep saffron and finally red. This flag is known as the Berlin Flag.

Mahatma Gandhi, in 1916, decided to design an indistinguishable national flag. Pingali Bhankatayya, a famous writer and artist at the time, took charge. He coloured the flag using only red and green. Bapu did not accept this.

He wanted a tri-coloured flag with the Charkha in the middle. In 1921, Gandhiji again changed the design of the flag, but unfortunately it was not accepted unanimously.

However, in 1931, Pingali Bhankatayya planned a new tricoloured flag, where the upper third was saffron, the middle was white and below it was green.

The flag also contained the Charkha at its centre. The present national flag was ultimately designed by the committee, led by our very first president, Dr Rajendra Prassad.

The committee took the Chakra in the place of Charkha.

(Coordinator, Class XI, Kalyani University Experimental High School, Kalyani, Nadia)