Friday, November 7, 2014

Flag Of India

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 was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. In India, the term "tricolour" (Hindi: तिरंगा, Tirangā) almost always refers to the Indian national flag. The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya

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. As of 2009, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha was the sole manufacturer of the flag.

Usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India and other laws relating to the national emblems. The original code prohibited use of the flag by private citizens except on national days such as the Independence day and the Republic Day. In 2002, on hearing an appeal from a private citizen, Naveen Jindal, the Supreme Court of India directed the Government of India to amend the code to allow flag usage by private citizens. Subsequently, the Union Cabinet of India amended the code to allow limited usage. The code was amended once more in 2005 to allow some additional use including adaptations on certain forms of clothing. The flag code also governs the protocol of flying the flag and its use in conjunction with other national and non-national flags.

Gandhi first proposed a flag to the Indian National Congress in 1921. The flag was designed by Pingli Venkayya. In the centre was a traditional spinning wheel, symbolising Gandhi's goal of making Indians self-reliant by fabricating their own clothing. The design was then modified to include a white stripe in the centre for other religious communities, and provide a background for the spinning wheel. Subsequently, to avoid sectarian associations with the colour scheme, saffron, white and green were chosen for the three bands, representing courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, and faith and chivalry respectively.

A few days before India became independent on 15 August 1947, the specially constituted Constituent Assembly decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities. So, a modified version of the Swaraj flag was chosen; the tricolour remained the same saffron, white and green. However, the charkha was replaced by the Ashoka Chakra representing the eternal wheel of law.

A number of flags with varying designs were used in the period preceding the Indian Independence Movement by the rulers of different princely states; the idea of a single Indian flag was first raised by the British rulers of India after the rebellion of 1857, which resulted in the establishment of direct imperial rule. The first flag, whose design was based on western heraldic standards, were similar to the flags of other British colonies, including Canada and Australia; the blue banner included the Union Flag in the upper-left quadrant and a Star of India capped by the royal crown in the middle of the right half. To address the question of how the star conveyed "Indianness", Queen Victoria created the Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India to honour services to the empire by her Indian subjects. Subsequently, all the Indian princely states received flags with symbols based on the heraldic criteria of Europe including the right to fly defaced British red ensigns.

Display and usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India, 2002 (successor to the Flag Code – India, the original flag code); the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950; and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 Insults to the national flag, including gross affronts or indignities to it, as well as using it in a manner so as to violate the provisions of the Flag Code, are punishable by law with imprisonment up to three years, or a fine, or both. Official regulation states that the flag must never touch the ground or water, or be used as a drapery in any form The flag may not be intentionally placed upside down, dipped in anything, or hold any objects other than flower petals before unfurling. No sort of lettering may be inscribed on the flag. When out in the open, the flag should always be flown between sunrise and sunset, irrespective of the weather conditions. Prior to 2009, the flag could be flown on a public building at night under special circumstances; currently, Indian citizens can fly the flag even at the night, subject to the restriction that the flag should be hoisted on a tall flagpole and be well-illuminated The flag should never be depicted, displayed or flown upside down. Tradition also states that when draped vertically, the flag should not merely be rotated 90 degrees, but also reversed. One "reads" a flag like the pages of a book, from top to bottom and from left to right, and after rotation the results should be the same. It is considered insulting to display the flag in a frayed or dirty state, and the same rule applies to the flagpoles and halyards used to hoist the flag, which should always be in a proper state of maintenance.

The rules regarding the correct methods to display the flag state that when two flags are fully spread out horizontally on a wall behind a podium, their hoists should be towards each other with the saffron stripes uppermost. If the flag is displayed on a short flagpole, this should be mounted at an angle to the wall with the flag draped tastefully from it. If two national flags are displayed on crossed staffs, the hoists must be towards each other and the flags must be fully spread out. The flag should never be used as a cloth to cover tables, lecterns, podiums or buildings, or be draped from railings. Whenever the flag is displayed indoors in halls at public meetings or gatherings of any kind, it should always be on the right (observers' left), as this is the position of authority. So when the flag is displayed next to a speaker in the hall or other meeting place, it must be placed on the speaker's right hand. When it is displayed elsewhere in the hall, it should be to the right of the audience. The flag should be displayed completely spread out with the saffron stripe on top. If hung vertically on the wall behind the podium, the saffron stripe should be to the left of the onlookers facing the flag with the hoist cord at the top.

The flag should be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. The decision to do so lies with the President of India, who also decides the period of such mourning. When the flag is to be flown at half mast, it must first be raised to the top of the mast and then slowly lowered. Only the Indian flag is flown half mast; all other flags remain at normal height. The flag is flown half-mast nationwide on the death of the president, Vice-president or prime minister. It is flown half-mast in New Delhi and the state of origin for the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Union Ministers. On deaths of Governors, Lt. Governors and Chief Ministers, the flag is flown at half-mast in the respective states and union territories. The Indian flag cannot be flown at half-mast on Republic Day (26 January), Independence day (15 August), Gandhi Jayanti (2 October), National Week (6–13 April) or state formation anniversaries, except over buildings housing the body of the deceased dignitary. However, even in such cases, the flag must be raised to full-mast when the body is moved from the building. Observances of State mourning on the death of foreign dignitaries are governed by special instructions issued from the Ministry of Home Affairs in individual cases. However, in the event of death of either the Head of the State or Head of the Government of a foreign country, the Indian Mission accredited to that country may fly the national flag at half-mast. On occasions of state, military, central para-military forces funerals, the flag shall be draped over the bier or coffin with the saffron towards the head of the bier or coffin. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or burnt in the pyre.

Sources: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA- Creative Commons

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