India's Independence Day celebrations have been closely related to several symbols related to the freedom struggle, but nothing parallels the importance and popularity of the National Flag and the National Anthem.
This year too, as India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on Saturday, people of the country will hoist the Indian national flag and sing the national anthem on this day amidst much fanfare.
The current form of the Indian national flag came into existence after a series of developments and modifications. An integral part of India's freedom struggle, the Tricolour has a rich history. Likewise, the National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, too has its own history. It was originally composed in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore.
Interesting facts about the Indian National Flag
The national flag of India is also called Tricolour or tiranga. It is designed horizontally and consists of three colours - saffron on the top, white in middle and green at the bottom. The flag has Dharma Chakra or Asoka Chakra in the centre. Adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947, the Chakra in the flag has 24 spokes in navy blue colour and symbolises Hindu and Buddhist philosophies and represents ideas of righteousness, justice and forwardness.
The saffron colour of the flag represents the country's strength, courage and selflessness, while the white colour indicates peace and truth as well as cleanliness and knowledge. The green signifies fertility, growth and auspiciousness of India's land.
As per the law, the flag is to be made of 'Khadi', a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton or silk. The Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission holds the right to manufacture the Natioanl Flag. The Bureau of Indian Standards is responsible for the manufacturing and designing process of the flag.
The country's National Flag is based on the Swaraj flag - the Indian National Congress flag which was designed by Pingali Venkayya.
According to a report by NDTV, the first version of the National Flag of India had green, yellow and red stripes; it was hoisted on 7 August 1906. The flag had religious symbols, eight roses, and Vande Mataram inscribed in it.
For the first time ever, the Indian tricolour will be hoisted at Times Square in New York on 15 August 2020.
A report by Jagran Josh says that the ratio of width of the Indian national flag to its length is 2:3. The national flag should always be taken down in the evening by the sunset. The government has recently allowed hoisting of the national flag at all the central universities in the country.
Interesting facts about the Indian National Anthem
India's national anthem is written by Rabindranath Tagore and was originally composed in Bengali as Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata. The NDTV report says that the national anthem of India was first publicly sung on 27 December 1911, at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress.
During a meeting of the German-Indian Society on 11 September 1942, Subhas Chandra Bose first used the term "National Anthem" for Jana Gana Mana. It formally became the national anthem of India in 1950.
According to Ministry of Home Affairs, the full version of the anthem and its playing time is approximately 52 seconds.
Interestingly, Tagore translated the national anthem into English on 28 February 1919, titled The Morning Song of India. A Hindi-Urdu version translated by Captain Abid Hasan Safrani also exists ans is called Subh Sukh Chain.
There was also a controversy that Tagore wrote the song as a praise to King George IV. However, the Nobel Laureate quashed those rumours in a letter to Pulin Bihari Sen which was later published in Bichitra (p.709, Dec 1938).
The letter as quoted in The Indian Express, reads: "That Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George"
After the controversy refused to die down, Tagore again wrote on 13 March, 1939: "I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind."