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Young World

Pennants of pride

TAMARAPU SAMPATH KUMARAN

Have you wondered how the Tri-colour came to be? The need for a flag began in 1883 as a rallying symbol to drive out the British...


A symbol of unity and strength.

The word "flag" is derived from the old Saxon or Germanic word ffaken or ffleogan meaning to fly or float in the wind. A flag flies from a vertical staff. The earliest reference to the flag is in 1122 BC. It is recorded that Emperor Chou, founder of the Chou dynasty in China, had a white flag carried before him.

India did not have a national flag as it was ruled by several dynasties. The Garuda banner of the Mauryas, the Changi of Rana Pratap and the Alam of the Mughals were prominent. When the British came to India there were about 560 princely states, which had their own flags and royal emblems.

A quest for a national flag in India started as a rallying symbol to drive out the British in 1883 in Lahore. Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda, was one of the first to envisage a National flag for India in 1905. It was a square shape with a red field and Indra's vajrayudha as its emblem and with 108 jyothis along the border and Vande Mataram inscribed in Bengali. Later in 1906, Sachindra Prasad Bose designed a flag with three stripes of green, yellow and red — Vande Mataram inscribed on the yellow and with the sun and moon on the bottom red stripe.

In 1916, Pingalay Venkayya, a freedom fighter from Andhra, developed a flag of equal bands of red, green and white with the Chakra covering the bands. Later on instruction from Gandhiji, the charka in dark blue was centred on the white band.

During Independence in 1947, the imprint of the wheel on Asoka's pillar was imposed on the white band replacing the charka, and was adopted as the National flag of the country.

Some countries have a special ceremonial or state flag in addition to their national flag. There are specific codes in the flag design and in the hoisting.

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