The current form of the national flag of India was adopted at the Constituent Assembly in 1947, and it became official to use henceforth as the one belonging to the Republic of India. It was designed by an Indian freedom fighter called Pingali Venkayya, and the form is based on the Swaraj flag that belonged to the Indian National Congress. It is mandatory that the flag should be made from a cotton cloth type called 'Khadi'. The flag usage is regulated by some rules and regulations, which form a part of the Flag Code of India.
The design of the Indian National Flag is in a 2:3 ratio. The three colored bands are equal in width and length. They consist of the saffron, white, and green colors, from top to bottom, respectively on both sides. The navy blue-colored wheel called 'Ashoka Chakra' in the central part has 24 spokes that are evenly spaced, and is present on both sides of the flag. The size of the wheel varies with the changing flag size. Its diameter is approximately equal to the width of the white-colored band.
The Indian flag underwent a lot of changes and evolved accordingly during the freedom struggle against British rulers. Excluding the current form, there have been several variations of the flag which were used in the past. The following paragraphs explain in brief the flag history and related origins during the independence movement, along with the respective images of the Indian flag.
The first Indian flag was unfurled at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta (now called Kolkata), on August 7, 1906. It was also called the Calcutta flag. The first Indian to raise the flag on foreign soil was Madam Bhikaji Rustom Cama. Its design was quite different from the current one. It had the phrase Vande Mataram (praise to the Mother) on it. It was also called the Vande Mataram flag, and was used during the Swadeshi Movement. This version was designed after the Calcutta flag. In 1917, Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak unfurled an Indian flag during the Home Rule Movement, which had red and green bands in an alternate manner. The Union Jack was present in the top left corner, whereas seven stars were arranged in a 'Saptarishi' formation on the colored bands. The next two flag designs represented the spinning wheel of Mahatma Gandhi. This wheel indicated progress of the nation. Eventually, the wheel was replaced by the Ashoka Chakra, which had 24 spokes, and was also called the Dharma Chakra.
The set of laws and rules that dictate the proper usage of the flag are represented by the Indian Flag Code. The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) controls its manufacturing, and has set up standards for its correct use. According to the code, the flag should be made only out of Khadi cloth. The flag code is divided into three parts: In the first part, the general description is present. The second part consists of a display related rules by public and private organizations, and also by educational institutions. The third part description consists of displaying the national flag by government agencies, institutions, and organizations.
The National Flag can be hoisted over houses, institutions, offices, etc., by people on any day, including the National days. This can be only done by following and adhering to all the rules and regulations. As far as possible, the flag must be hoisted between sunrise and sunset, and hoisting is to be done regardless of the weather conditions. The flag should not be allowed to touch the ground in any situation, and should be displayed in the right manner, with the three colors: saffron, white, and green in the correct order from top to bottom. It must be ensured that there isn't any other flag hoisted above the height of the National Flag. Also, there should not be anything written on the flag, and decorating it with garlands and flowers is not to be done in any case. The honor and dignity of the flag should be maintained under all circumstances.
The saffron color represents courage, sacrifice, and renunciation.
The white color represents peace, truth, and purity.
The green color represents life, faith, and prosperity.
The symbol of the Ashoka Chakra represent progress, perpetuity, and righteousness.
During the mourning period regarding the death of an important person, the Indian National Flag must be hoisted at half mast. The associated decisions and mourning time are taken by the President of India. In such cases, the flag is first hoisted till the upper pole end, and then slowly its height is decreased.