The idea of a national flag for India was used at various junctions of Indian Independence movement calling for a united and free nation.

In 1906 the following flag with the inscription of ‘Vande Mataram’ was hoisted in Green Park, Calcutta. Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra are believed to have designed the flag. The flag was hoisted as a protest against Curzon's Bengal Partition Plan. 

 

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Image Credits - Government of India

 

 

Madam Bhikaiji Cama (socialist revolutionary) hoisted a modified version of the flag in 1907 at Berlin, Germany. Some claim that the flag was used to represent Indian communal harmony as part of making a case for India's freedom before German communist audience.

 

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Image Credits - Government of India

 

Lokamya Tilak and Annie Besant presented a flag during Home Rule movement in 1917 which had 7 stars in the Saptarishi configuration and Union Jack. The inclusion of Union Jack (England's national flag) reflects the character of Indian Independence movement around that time. The demand as put forth by the Home Rule movement was of self-rule and dominion status for India within the context of the British empire.

 

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Image Credits - Government of India

 

It is interesting to note that all three flags aimed to accommodate India's religious diversity in India either through symbols or the colours adopted. 

In 1931, the Indian National Congress adopted tricolour flag with Gandhi’s spinning wheel in the centre as designed by Pingali Venkayya.

 

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Image Credits - Government of India

 

The National Flag in Constituent Assembly

On 22nd July 1947, a few days before India’s Independence, the Constituent Assembly discussed and adopted India’s National Flag. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru proposed the resolution for formal adoption of India’s National Flag. He presented the flag before the assembly members.

 

 

 

Nehru regarded the flag as ‘flag of freedom’ which symbolised India’s spirit and tradition. He urged the Constituent Assembly to formally ratify the flag which was popularly adopted. He maintained that the design of the flag has no communal significance.

H.V. Kamath, moved an amendment to include the Swastika inside the Chakra of the flag: 

‘I thought, Sir, if the Swastika be inscribed inside the Chakra it would along with the Dharma Chakra of Asoka fittingly symbolise our ancient culture, that is to say, the exoteric and esoteric aspects of our culture. The Dharma Chakra symbolises the esoteric and the Swastika symbolises the esoteric aspects’.

Kamath withdrew his amendment after Nehru presented the flag in the Constituent Assembly realising that incorporating Swastika into the design of the flag would make it look ‘clumsy’ and ‘cumbersome’. 

 

Image Credits – By Ms Sarah Welch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59270898

                           

Saiyid Mohammad Saadulla accepted the flag as presented by Nehru and regarded it as a ‘symbol of India’s freedom’.  Sarojini Naidu too accepted the flag and stated that under it there is no privilege, 'but only duty, resibility and sacrifice'.

After Saojini Naidu's remarks, the motion to accept the flag displayed by Nehru was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly with all members standing.