From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : National flag
Mains level : NA
The final design of the Indian National Flag, hoisted by PM Nehru on August 16, 1947, at Red Fort, had a history of several decades preceding independence.
Note various personalities involved in the development of our National flag. It may be no wonder to accept a personality-based question on such topics.
Story of our National Flag: A timeline
(1) Public display for first time
- Arguably the first national flag of India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in Kolkata at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park).
- It comprised three horizontal stripes of red, yellow and green, with Vande Mataram written in the middle.
- Believed to have been designed by freedom activists Sachindra Prasad Bose and Hemchandra Kanungo, the red stripe on the flag had symbols of the sun and a crescent moon, and the green strip had eight half-open lotuses.
(2) In Germany
- In 1907, Madame Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries hoisted an Indian flag in Germany in 1907 — this was the first Indian flag to be hoisted in a foreign land.
(3) During the Home Rule Movement
- In 1917, Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement.
- It had five alternate red and four green horizontal stripes, and seven stars in the saptarishi configuration.
- A white crescent and star occupied one top corner, and the other had Union Jack.
(4) Final version by Pingali Venkayya
- The design of the present-day Indian tricolour is largely attributed to Pingali Venkayya, an Indian freedom fighter.
- He reportedly first met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa during the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), when he was posted there as part of the British Indian Army.
- Years of research went into designing the national flag. In 1916, he even published a book with possible designs of Indian flags.
- At the All India Congress Committee in Bezwada in 1921, Venkayya again met Gandhi and proposed a basic design of the flag, consisting of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims.
(5) During Constituent Assembly
- On July 22, 1947, when members of the Constituent Assembly of India, the first item on the agenda was reportedly a motion by Pandit Nehru, about adopting a 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 (the charkha being replaced by the chakra), which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.