From today I am going to instigate a new category in my blog “Did you know?” to share something more interesting than my usual raves and reviews.
I don’t know how many of you know about this. But I came to know about our old Indian National flag only after reading “Freedom at midnight” by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. Of course I might have read all these in my school and pretty obviously I refused to keep that in my mind.
Below is an excerpt from that book. Let’s see what they got to say about my old National flag!
“For thirty years, the tricolour sash of homespun cotton khadi, soon to replace the Union Jack on India’s horizons, had flown over meetings, marches and manifestations of a people thirsting for independence. Gandhi had designed the banner of a militant congress himself. At the centre of its horizontal bands of saffron, white and green, he had placed his personal seal, the humble instrument he’d proposed to the masses of India as the instrument of their non-violent redemption, the spinning-wheel.
“Now with independence at hand, voices in the ranks of congress contested the right of what they called ‘Gandhiji’s toy’ to occupy the central place in what was about to become their nation’s flag. To a growing number of party militants his spinning-wheel was a symbol of the past, a woman’s thing, the hallmark of an archaic India turned inwards upon herself.
“At their insistence the place of honour on the national flag was assigned to another wheel, the martial sign of the conquering warriors of Ashoka, founder of the Hindu empire, had borne on their shields. Framed by a pair of lions for force and courage, Ashoka’s proud symbol of strength and authority, his dharma chakra, the wheel of the cosmic order, became the symbol of the new India.
“Gandhi learned of his followers’ decision with a deep sadness. ‘However artistic the design may be,’ he wrote, ‘I shall refuse to salute a flag which carries such a message.'”