Last modified: 1999-12-23 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: india | wheel | chakra | star | union jack | ashoka chakra | orion |
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It should be noted that there are, today, elements within India (as elsewhere?) who reject or challenge the secular state and call for a new flag, taking out the green and white (and what they symbolize?) and going to some form of all-orange flag, to represent a "Hindu India."
Ed Haynes, 10 April 1996
Musings on Indian flags (some mild political commentary follows):
"Sir John Colville, Governor of Bombay, let it be known that he would refuse to stay in his post as Governor after the transfer of power unless he were allowed to fly a Union Jack or some sort of flag with a Union Jack. (Sir John did stay on after Independence and stoutly flew the Union Jack on all British occasions.)(Interesting that the UJ in the canton is 1/9th, and not the 1/4 it is in Ensign flags...)
"In the case of the flags for the new Dominions, the Viceroy had not been inactive. Among his hobbies, along with the compilation of his family tree, was heraldry and design. He himself sketched and prepared the design for the flags of both Pakistan and India. One was based on the flag of Congress -- with Gandhi's spinning wheel -- and the other on the Muslim League's crescent. To each he added a small Union Jack, one ninth in area, sewn into the upper canton. He sent them to Jinnah and Nehru for their approval, as 'helpful suggestions'.
"Jinnah coldly replied that in no circumstances could the design be accepted as it would be repugnant to the religious feelings of the Muslims to have a Christian Cross alongside the Crescent. Nehru rejected the design on the grounds that, although Gandhi and Sardar Patel and others had originally expressed their willingness to accept it, he had now come to the conclusion that the prevailing feeling among Congress extremists was that the leaders were pandering to the British. This had reached a point where it was inadvisable to press the design upon them. Nehru sent the Viceroy a design prepared by Congress which showed the Dominion flag as closely resembling the Congress flag, but with the wheel of the Sarnath Asoka replacing the spinning wheel. And, of course, no Union Jack."
From 'The ABC of Heraldry' written by G.C.Rothery, 1915:
"When Lord Ampthill was in office in India he suggested a 'national' flag for the whole Viceroyalty; but nothing came of it. Thereupon 'Nondescript', in the pages of an Anglo-indian weekly, put forward the following design.collected by David Prothero, 2 Jun 1999
"Draw a rectangle 8 inches by 5 inches and give it a red border 1/4 of an inch wide, the enclosed rectangle measuring 7 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
"Draw a vertical line at the staff end one inch from the border, leaving 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
"Divide the depth of 4 1/2 inches into three horizontal bands, each 6 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches deep, coloured respectively, from the top, dark blue, green, and light blue. The vertical band, 4 1/2 inches by one inch to contain the Constellation of Orion, a familiar sight in the Eastern Sky, set upright, silver stars on a purple background.
"United India would be represented by the stars of the Constellation (the number being modified to suit the United Provinces and States; the 'Foreign' element, which has welded India into a whole, and which keeps it united, by the red border; the deep blue band would stand for Hindus and Buddhists; the green for the Mohomedans and the light or sky-blue band for the Indian Christians."
"Moreover, he thought that the "Orion" vertical band should have a compartment or space, about 3/4 inch deep, reserved at top for provincial or state ensigns or (in case of flags floting over Government Imperial buildings, forts, or ships) the royal arms."