NEW DELHI: Prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday unveiled the Indian Navy's new Ensign, which is inspired by the legendary Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji and dropped the colonial era St. George's Cross.
"India has taken off a trace of slavery, a burden of slavery. The Indian Navy has got a new flag from today. Till now the identity of slavery remained on the flag of Indian Navy. But from today onwards, inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the new Navy flag will fly in the sea and in the sky," Modi said.
The old Indian Navy flag was white with horizontal and vertical red stripes intersecting at the centre (depicting the Cross of St George). The emblem of India was superimposed on the intersection, and the National Flag was in the upper canton next to the staff.
In the new flag, the white ensign identified nation-wide with the Navy now comprises two main constituents - the National Flag in the upper left canton, and a Navy Blue-Gold octagon at the centre of the fly side (away from the staff). The octagon is with twin golden octagonal borders encompassing the golden National Emblem (Lion Capital of Ashoka, underscribed with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in blue Devnagri script) resting atop an anchor; and superimposed on a shield.
Below the shield, within the octagon, in a golden bordered ribbon, on a Navy Blue background, is inscribed the motto of the Indian Navy ‘Sam No Varunah’ in golden Devnagri script. "The design encompassed within the octagon has been taken from the Indian Naval crest, wherein the fouled anchor, which is also associated with colonial legacy, has been replaced with a clear anchor underscoring the steadfastness of the Indian Navy," said Indian Navy.
The Navy Blue colour of the octagonal shape depicts the blue Water capabilities of the Indian Navy. "The twin octagonal borders draw their inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj Rajmudra or the Seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, with a visionary maritime outlook, who built a credible naval Fleet that earned grudging admiration from European Navies operating in the region at the time," said Indian Navy.
The octagonal shape also represents the eight directions (four cardinal and four inter cardinal), symbolising the Indian Navy’s global outreach. The octagon stands for good fortune, eternity, renewal and draws positive energy from all directions. "The new Naval white ensign is thus rooted in the glorious maritime heritage of India, as well as reflective of our Navy’s present-day capabilities," said the Navy statement.
The Cross of St George has been on the Indian Naval Ensign except for a small period from 2001 to 2004 when it was replaced by the Indian Navy crest. It was brought back due to complaints by Navy personnel that the blue colour of crest blended with blue colour of sea and sky. This time the Indian emblem was added at the intersection of the flag. Some years later "Satyameva Jayate" was included in the flag.
The Cross of St George was first added to then Royal Indian Navy flag in 1928. Saint George is the patron saint of England and also known as the military saint. The Cross of St George has been associated with the crusaders....