The National Flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour of deep saffron, white and India green; with the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, in navy blue at its centre. It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of India.
The flag, by law, is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton, or silk made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The manufacturing process and specifications for the flag are laid out by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The right to manufacture the flag is held by the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission, who allocate it to the regional groups.
- Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct.
- The green shows our relation to (the) soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends.
- The “Ashoka Chakra” in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principle of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.
Pingali Venkayya (2 August 1876 – 4 July 1963) was an Indian freedom fighter and the designer of the flag from which Indian national flag was adopted. He was born to Hanumantha Raidu and Venkat Ratnamma in Yarlagadda, Krishna district, near Machlipatnam in present day Andhra Pradesh. After finishing his schooling at Machlipatnam, he went to Colombo for further studies.
Venkayya spent his time experimenting with developing new crop cultivars and becoming an authority on diamond mining, leading to his popular nickname of “Diamond Venkayya”. He served in the British Indian army during the Anglo-Boer wars in South Africa. It was there he came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi and was influenced by his ideology.
He worked as a railway guard at Bangalore and Madras and subsequently joined the government service as the plague officer at Bellary before moving to Lahore, where he enrolled in the Anglo-Vedic college to study Urdu and Japanese. During his five years stay in North India, he became active in politics. The 1906 Congress session with Dadabhai Naoroji allowed Pingali to emerge as an activist and from 1906–11, he spent his time in Munagala researching agriculture and crops.
For his pioneering study on Cambodian cotton, he came to be called Patti Venkaiyya. He was conferred on honorary membership of the Royal Agricultural Society of Britain. He later returned to Machlipatnam and focused on developing the National School, where he taught basic military training, history and agriculture.
During the National conference of the Indian National Congress at Kakinada, Venkayya suggested a new flag for the Indian National Congress. Gandhi suggested Venkayya to come up with a design. Venkayya proposed a tricolour with a spinning wheel in the middle. The design was the basis for the National Flag of India. The flags antecedents can be traced back to the Vande Mataram movement.
A few days before India gained its independence in August 1947, the Constituent Assembly was formed. To select a flag for independent India, on 23 June 1947, the assembly set up an ad hoc committee headed by Rajendra Prasad and including Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, C. Rajagopalachari, K. M. Munshi and B.R. Ambedkar as its members.
On 14 July 1947, the committee recommended that the flag of the Indian National Congress be adopted as the National Flag of India with suitable modifications, so as to make it acceptable to all parties and communities. It was also resolved that the flag should not have any communal undertones. The spinning wheel of the Congress flag was replaced by the Chakra (wheel) from the Lion Capital of Ashoka.