“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
On the 15th of August, 1947, we Indians heard these words from the hall of the Constituent Assembly of India. This was the day, India had achieved independence. This was the day marking the end of the British rule in India and the rise of the India.
Some time prior to the Independence Day, the Indian flag was presented in the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly members, responsible for guiding the newly independent India, realised the need for a national flag, and thereby on the 22nd of July, 1947, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru presented the resolution of a national flag as follows:
“Resolved that the National Flag of India shall be horizontal tricolour of deep Saffron (Kesari), white and dark green in equal proportion. In the centre of the white band, there shall be a Wheel in navy blue to represent the Charkha. The design of the Wheel shall be that of the Wheel. (Chakra) which appears on the abacuse of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka. The diameter of the Wheel shall approximate to the width of the white band. The ratio of the width to the length of the Flag shall ordinarily be 2:3.”
Along with the resolution, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru made a lengthy speech on what is the significance of a national flag, what does the national flag mean for India, and what heights he believes India will achieve under this flag.
Any resolution put forth in the Constituent Assembly, generally attracted a number of amendments, but herein, in this case, the three amendments suggested were also retracted by the people who had suggested the amendments themselves. The entire assembly applauded the flag unanimously.
Having seen the flag myself since my birth, and having read various articles, I had developed a thought on as to what does the tricolour, I so proudly believe in signify, but, having read Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s speech on the presentation of the flag, I felt like a student who was desperately in need of a teacher on this topic.
What does our tricolour signify? What do the Kesari, white and dark green colour signify along with the chakra.
Dr. S. Radhkrishnan has very beautifully explained our National Flag.
According to him, the White colour band in the centre stands for the “path of light”, the “light of truth” and of “transparent simplicity”.
The chakra or the Ashoka’s wheel stands for the “wheel of Law”, the “wheel of Dharma”. He says that the resistance to change is the cause of sufferings and thus, the centre of our flag asks us to keep moving in life. He says, “This wheel which is a rotating thing, which is a perpetually revolving thing, indicates to us that there is death in stagnation. There is life in movement.”
At the top of the tricolour is a band of bhagwa colour, which according to him represent the spirit of renunciation. On signifying over the importance of the spirit of Renunciation Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “All forms of renunciation are to be embodied in Raja Dharma. Philosophers must be Kings. Our leaders must be disinterested. They must be dedicated spirits. They must be people who are imbued with the spirit of renunciation which that saffron, colour has transmitted to us from the beginning of our history.” He also warns that if the spirit of renunciation does not exist, then India will again witness its downfall.
At the bottom, the green band is in regard to our relation with our soil and plant life. He in a manner suggests that the green band is a message to all Indians, to also take care our our green planet Earth.
Dr. Radhakrishna concludes his speech by summarising his points as follows, “We must be guided by truth (white), practice virtue (wheel), adopt the method of self-control and renunciation (saffron). This Flag tells us ‘Be ever alert, be ever on the move, go forward, work for a free, flexible compassionate, decent, democratic, society in which Christians, Sikhs, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists will all find a safe shelter.’”
On reading all this, I at times wonder, Where did we go wrong? Our founding fathers had laid down everything for us. We had a path carved out for us, still, how come we lost our route midway. Why did we end up getting lost in the mountains?
Today, our tricolour signifies something else only. Why is it so? How come we ended up being misinformed about something so clearly enunciated by our founding fathers?
I believe, we aren’t lost. I believe, we’re still the same nation that had the courage to give birth to Bhagat Singh and at the same hand also the courage to give birth to the compassionate Mahatma Gandhi. We were the nation that died in Jallianwala Bagh, and we were the same nation that drove Britishers out of our lands non-violently. We are the Indians that fought the Kalinga Battle via Ashoka and we ourselves post the battle had a change of heart on seeing the rampage caused. We Indians made a Kalam, and we Indians ourselves tore down the Babri Masjid.
So, we aren’t lost, no, we are not. We are a group of confused enthusiastic patriots, who wish to see India attain the long lost glory. Yes, we are confused, but we aren’t wrong. Today, maybe not, but tomorrow definitely, we will understand the path laid down by our founding fathers and thereby rise up and awaken in our “Sone ke chidiya” India.