The National Flag of India in its present form since 1947 is a horizontal rectangular tri color of saffron, white and green with a 24-spoke wheel in blue at its centre. It is law in India to use a special hand spun cloth of cotton and silk, so called "Khadi" for the national flag. In the 19th century when India was still under British rule, various flag designs were used prior to the Independence movement, working from different states of India. It was only after the Imperial rule came to life that a single flag representing India was raised.
Flag of British India, 1858 - 1947
In the early 20th century, nationalists wanted a representation through religious tradition. The symbols were Hindu-centric and did not relate to the Muslim population of India. The Flag used by the Swadeshi's, a movement against the British included eight white lotuses on the upper red band, one for each province, a sun and a crescent on the bottom green band - representing the Hindu and Muslim population.
introduced in 1921
The Swaraj Flag -
officially adopted by
the Congress in 1931
Gandhi wanted to present a flag at the 1921 Congress, but it was not delivered on time and another flag was than proposed at that session. Gandhi later realized that other religions were not represented and he had white added to the banner colours, to represent all other religions. When the Sikhs wanted to include black to the colours of the flag, Gandhi was forced to involve the public. Finally in 1929, the flag colors moved towards a more secular interpretation, stating that red stood for the sacrifices of the people, white for purity, and green for hope.
In 1947, just before Indians independents, it was decided that its flag had to be acceptable to all parties and communities. A modified version of the flag was chosen with the tricolour remaining as well as the same saffron in white and green. In 1951, after India became a republic, the Indian Standards Institute produced the first official specifications for the flag which was revised in 1964 to conform to the metric system which was adopted in India.