The Tricolour that now popularly represents strength and courage (saffron), peace (white) and fertility of land (green), has had a different past. “In 1915, Pingali Venkayya suggested various designs for the flag of Swaraj of the Indian National Congress. Gandhi took an interest and it was agreed upon that red, white and green with a spinning wheel or charkha would make the flag,” says Dr Rajagopal, Assistant Professor of Modern History at the University of Hyderabad. “In 1930-1931, red, which was considered a universal colour, was replaced with saffron, which had an Indian flavour to it. But there was a controversy regarding the colours because people thought they represented the Hindus, the Muslims and the rest of the religions,” he adds.
Dr Atlury Murali, Professor of Modern History at UoH, adds, “Initially, red was feared in that it represented revolution, so they changed the colour to saffron. The Sikhs wanted yellow to be incorporated to represent their community.” The other significant element in the Indian flag is the Ashok Chakra. “The spinning wheel was an important symbol since it meant supporting the weavers of India who were hit by the British rule. It was replaced with the Ashoka Dharma Chakra in 1947 to incorporate the rest of the people and not just weavers. It represents the dispensing of justice,” concludes Dr Rajagopal.
Did you know?
The constitution of India has borrowed features from 9 different countries. Some of them are listed below.
Britain: Parliamentary system of governance, Single citizenship
USA: Impeachment of the President, Fundamental Rights
USSR (Now Russia): The ideals of Justice (social, political and economic, as stated in the Preamble.)
Canada: Centre appoints the Governors at states.
Australia: Freedom of trade and commerce.
France: Ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (appears in our Preamble)
Germany: Fundamental Rights are suspended during Emergency.
South Africa: Amendment of the Constitution
Japan: Concept of “procedure established by Law”