The Indian national flag consists of three colors being tricolor consisting of white, India green and saffron along with containing navy blue Ashoka Chaka or 24 spoke wheel in the centre. The flag of India in its modern form was adopted during the Constituent assembly meeting taking place on 22 July in the year 1947 becoming the official India flag on 15th August in the year 1947. Tricolour has reference meaning towards the India national flag being based on Swaraj flag which was flag designed by Pingali Venkayya for Indian national congress.

India Flag

Indian Flag Material & Specifications

The Indian flag is made of special silk or cotton known as Khadi which was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi. The specifications and manufacturing procedure for Indian flag are specified by Bureau of Indian Standards. Indian national flag manufacturing rights are allowed to Khadi development and Village industries commission. Karnataka khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha being indian flag sole manufacturer since 2009.

Flag Code of India

Usage of the national flag of India is controlled by Flag code of India. Citizens of India were initially prohibited for using the national flag with the exception towards national day like Republic day and Independence Day but afterwards Supreme Court of India allowed the Indian government to provide amendment regarding flag usage by citizens therefore India’s Union cabinet provided amendment toward national flag code to allow national flag limited usage. Additional India national flag adoptions were allowed toward using clothing of certain form for flag. India national flag code controls the flag protocol regarding flying and usage along other non national flags or national flags.

History Of India Flag

Various flags have been used before India's independence movement by various rulers of princely state. Idea towards using single India flag was first thought about by the Indian British rulers after 1857 rebellion resulting in imperial rule establishment.

British India Flag Design

India's first flag design was influenced by western heraldic symbols and standard showing similarity towards other British colonies flags including South Africa and Canada. The flag showed 

  • Union jack towards the upper left quadrant
  • Towards the right side middle showing Star of India surrounded by royal crown
  • The star represented of “Indianness” the Queen of England Victoria

Knight Commander of the Order of the star of India was made to appreciate and show honour towards the British Empire by Indian people. Eventually all India's prince states incorporated and established flags having 

  • Heraldic symbols
  • Rights of portraying deface British red symbols

India Flag

Rise of Nationalism towards Indian Flag

After the coronation ceremony of Edward VII during the early twentieth century there was discussion regarding the need for a unique symbol for the Indian Empire. British Indian Civil Service member William Coldstream campaigned towards changing the Indian symbol from a Star to something more unique or appropriate. The government did not like the proposal as various objections regarding practicality were given including flag multiplication.

During this time period nationalism was rising within the region leading towards religious tradition representation through various symbols including

  • Ganesha
  • Kali
  • Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
  • Gau Mata
  • Bal Gangdhar Tilak

However most of the symbols suggested did not provide basis towards unity towards Indian Muslims.

Swadeshi Flag campaign

New flag was presented after the Bengal partition portraying the Indian independence movement showcasing to unite all the races and castes of the country. Vande Mataram slogan flag which was part of the Swadeshi national movement consisted of various religious Indian symbols showcased in westernized heraldic fashion. The new tricolour flag included

  • A crescent
  • Sun depicted on red band on the bottom
  • Eight white lotus flowers portrayed on green band showcasing eight provinces
  • Vande Mataram slogan portrayed on a central yellow band

The flag did not have any official launch ceremony but was covered by local newspapers. The flag was not covered by political or governmental reports but was utilized at the Indian National congress annual session. Madam Bhikaji Cama used a modified version of the flag at Second International Socialist congress held at Stuttgart in the year 1907. The flag ultimately failed to gain any popularity among Indian nationalists.

Sister Nivedita Indian flag proposal

Another proposal for the flag near the time was launched by Sister Nivedita being Swami Vivekanada disciple consisting of

  • Thunderbolt placed in centre
  • Vande Mataram slogan split along the thunderbolt
  • 108 oil lamps along the border

The flag was presented at Indian National Congress meeting in the year 1906. Afterwards many other flag proposal were started but non got approval from the nationalist movement.

Indian Home Rule Movement 

Pingali Venkayya in the year 1916 submitted booklet containing thirty new designs funded by High Court of Madras members. Most of the recommendations and proposal contributed toward keeping the flag movement alive. In the year 1916 Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant incorporated new flag for the Home Rule Movement featuring

  • Star and crescent in upper right corner
  • Union Jack in upper left corner
  • Seven stars diagonally portrayed from lower right on the background of four green and five red alternate bands

Afterwards the flag initiated first movement from government against nationalistic flag leading towards banning followed by public debate on the importance and function of national flag.

Indian Flag being national symbol

National flag discussions gained importance across various British dominions in the early 1920’s following the peace treaty between Ireland and Britain. The Indian delegation towards League of Nations in the month of November of 1920 wanted to use Indian flag and propelled British Indian government to put forward renewed emphasis on the flag being a national symbol.

Gandhi’s India Flag proposal 

During the year of 1921 in the month of April, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi highlighted the need for Indian flag in his journal Young India and proposed flag design with Charkha at the centre. Originally the idea of spinning wheel or charkha was given by Lala Hansraj as Gandhi assigned Pingali Venkayya to carryout the design of Indian flag with spinning wheel to be placed on red and green banner as green representing Muslims and red color representing Hindus.

Secular India Flag design

New flag proposal ideas was presented at the 1921 congress session after the initial flag failed to be delivered. Afterwards following the flag delay Ghandi realized that all other religions were not represented by the flag therefore white colour was added to the flag portraying other religions. Afterwards in the under the influence of some religious political development Ghandi adopted more secular approach toward flags colour interpretation citing that

  • White colour represented purity
  • Red colour represents people's sacrifices 
  • Green colour represents hope

India Flag

Indian Flag Satyagraha Movement

On the day of April the 13th of 1923 during commemoration procession event for Jallianwala Bagh massacre by congress volunteers, the Swaraj flag with chakra or spinning wheel was hoisted designed by Pingali Venkayya resulting in imprisonment of five people after congressmen and police confrontation. Flag procession event was carried out by over 100 protestors after meeting subsequently Jamnalal Bajaj being Nagpur Congress Committee secretary initiated Flag Satyagraha providing the event national attention and denoting an important stage in the flag movement. The movement of satyagraha which was promoted nationally by the Congress created confusion and ambiguity in Congress organization where Gandhians were highly optimistic while the Swarajists group labelled the movement inconsequential.

Indian Congress flag endorsement

Afterwards at the All India Congress committee meeting held in the month of July of 1923, Congress endorsed the flag movement at Jawaharlal Nehru and Saronjini Naidu insistence. The flag movement being managed by Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel included New Indian Flag be displayed through common people and public processions.

Over 1500 people were arrested among all British India by the end of the movement. According to The Bombay Chronicle the flag movement included various society groups including

  • Merchants
  • Farmers
  • Labourers
  • National servants
  • Students

Muslim participation in the flag movement was moderate while women showed interest in the flag movement.

Swaraj Flag Movemen

As the flag movement got its energy from Ghandi’s discourses and writings eventually the flag movement gained political accepted after Nagpur incident as editorial, newspapers, news reports and letters to editors posted among various journals attested to the bond development between the nation and the flag. The national flag honour preservation became important part of the independence struggle. While the Muslims remained wary regarding Swaraj flag, Muslim congress leaders and leaders of Khilafat movement accepted it as national flag.

Swaraj Flag accepted as Congress flag

The Swaraj flag was hailed as a symbol of national unity by various important political figures like Motilal Nehru making the flag important structural part of the institution of India. The British Indian government took great notice of the new flag and defined policy of response. The British Indian government after getting directions from London threatened to remove funds from local government and municipalities after British parliament discussion regarding public use of flag but even this step did not stop the display of Swaraj flag. Afterwards at the 1931 congress meeting the Swaraj flag became the official flag of Congress after becoming symbol of independence movement.

Mountbatten proposal regarding Swaraj Flag

Louis Mountbatten being Governor General proposed modification in 1947 for the flag of India afterwards becoming flag of Congress having Union jack in the canton but eventually it was rejected by Congressman Jawaharlal Nehru citing that Congress party's nationalist members would view Union jack inclusion as gratification to the British desires.

The Constituent Assembly was formed after India gained independence in the month of August in the year 1947. The assembly formed an ad hoc committee led by Rajendra Prasad including Sarojini Naidu, K.M Munshi, C.Rajagopalachari and B.R. Ambedkar as members.

Indian flag modifications by Indian Congress

During committee meeting on 14th July during the year 1947 the Indian National congress came to consensus regarding modifications for making Indian flag acceptable towards all communities as it was further clarified that the flag should not have any communal undertones. The congress flag spinning wheel was replaced by chakra or wheel which was portrayal of law or dharma. The change in flag regarding the wheel was explained by Jawaharlal Nehru being more symmetrical in design and more practical. Gandhi eventually approved the design but was not pleased with the change.

Nehru proposal for Indian Flag

Nehru proposed the flag during Constituent Assembly held on 22nd July 1947 as tricolor horizontal having

  • White
  • Dark green
  • Deep saffron in equal proportions
  • Blue Ashoka wheel in in the white band center

Two flags were presented by Nehru one being khadi cotton and other being Khadi silk to the assembly. After the resolution approval, the flag served as Dominion of India’s national flag from 15th of August 1947 to 26th January 1950 and has remained flag of Republic of India until then.

Color Of India Flag

Colour Type Orange (Saffron) White Green Navy Blue
Pantone 130 U White 2258 C 2735 C
CMYK 0-40-80-0 0-0-0-0 86-0-94-47 100-100-0-50
HEX #FF9933 #FFFFFF #138808 #000080
RGB 255-153-51 255-255-255 19-136-8 0-0-128

Indian Flag Colour Shades

The Indian flag wheel or Ashoka Chakra to be painted in navy blue colour on both sides according to the Flag code. Below are some of the specific shades to be used on the national flag with Navy Blue exception.

Colour X Y Z Brightness
India saffron (Kesari) 0.538 0.360 0.102 21.5
White 0.313 0.319 0.368 72.6
India green 0.288 0.395 0.317 8.9


Symbolism of the Flag of India

The Indian state flag initial design was modified to be approved by all communities therefore a modified Swaraj flag was selected having the same

  • Green
  • Saffron
  • White
  • Ashoka Chakra denoting wheel of law

Indian Flag Colour

Saffron Colour

The Indian flag’s saffron colour represents disinterestedness or abandonment.

White Colour

White colour represents light or path of truth.

Green Colour

Green colour represents plant life or relationship towards soil.

Navy Blue Wheel of Truth

Ashoka chakra or wheel represents the wheel of righteousness or truth; also represents motion as with life or moving forward with peace as India should move ahead and should not resist change.

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India Flag FAQS

India flags white colour represents light, green color represents life and saffron color represents abandonment.
The wheel symbol on Indian flag represents the motion of life or moving forward.
Indian flag has 2:3 proportion.
Indian flag is to be made of silk, cotton or hand woven wool.
Any Indian flag that has been damaged should be destroyed privately by burning or other method with retains dignity of Indian flag. Paper flags used for cultural or national or sports events must be disposed in private.
According to National Honour Act of 1971 Indian flag must be “honoured”. Putting up damaged flag, flying flag from single masthead, flying flag with object like flowers, flying other flag using same height, flag not to be used for decoration and only BIS approved flags can be used for official display.
Yes anyone who defines, destroys, defaces, publicly burns, mutilates or shows disrespect by acts, spoken or written towards the Indian National Flag or Indian Constitution shall be punished with fine or imprisonment extending upto 3 years.
Manufacturing standards are regulated by BIS or Bureu of Indian Standards.

Indian Flag construction & design

The Indian flag should have width and height aspect ratio 3:2 according to Flag code of India. The Indian flag all three bands (green, white and saffron) are equal in size. The wheel or Ashoka Chakra having 24 evenly spaced spokes.

Indian Flag Manufacturing Standards

In section 4.3.1 of “Manufacturing standards for the Indian flag in IS1” there are specific size of the chakra and the flag.

Size of Flag Width and height (mm) Diameter of Ashoka Chakra(mm)
1 6300 x 4200 1295
2 3600 x 2400 740
3 2700 x 1800 555
4 1800 x 1200 370
5 1350x 900 280
6 900 x 600 185
7 450 x 300 90
8 225 x 150 40
9 150 x 100 25

Indian Flag Manufacturing 

The manufacturing and design of Indian flag is controlled by Bureau of Indian Standards or BIS using three documents. Indian flags are to be create out of silk or cotton khadi cloth. Indian flag standards being created in the year 1968 and were updated in the year 2008. Indian flag has nine standard defined by law.

BIS Specifications for Indian Flag

After India became a republic nation in 1951, the BIS introduced official specifications for the Indian flag which were revised in the year 1964 conforming to metric system being implemented in the state of India.

Indian flag specifications were further refined on 17th of August in the year 1968 covering all aspects including

  • Brightness
  • Dye colour
  • Chromatic values
  • Hemp cordage
  • Threat count

Punishment, fines or jail punishment can be imposed if the Indian manufacturing guidelines are not followed.

Indian Flag Manufacturing Material 

Hand spun cloth or khadi is only allowed to be used for manufacturing of Indian flag as any other material used for manufacturing of Indian flag is punishable including imprisonment for three year or fine. Indian flag raw materials to be used are silk, wool or cotton. Khadi are of two kind including khadi bunting which occupies the body of Indian flag and Khadi duck being the beige cloth that connects the flag to pole.

The Khadi-duck in combination of three threats being combined into one weave in comparison to traditional weaving therefore being very rare skill only few weavers less than twenty are present in India. India flag guidelines specify there to be 150 threads per square centimetre having four threads per stich and one square foot weighting 205 grams.

Indian Flag approved manufacturing units

Khadi fabric obtain from Dharwad and Bagalko handloom units in districts of Karnata. Karantaka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha in Hubli being only Indian flag licensed supplier for production in India. Flag manufacturing units in Indian state is controlled by Khadi Development and Village Industries as BIS having authority to cancel license of production units that don’t adhere to flag guidelines. Khadi material for Indian flag was initially developed at Garag in the Dharwad district established in the year 1954 by freedom fighters under Dharwa Taluk Kshetriya Seva Sangh banner and obtained the license for the Indian flag manufacture.

Indian Flag Quality Testing

The woven material is test by BIS laboratories after manufacturing for quality testing, if acceptable is returned to factory. The material is then organized into three lots being white, green and dyed saffron. The wheel of the Indian flag is embroidered onto each side of white flag cloth. Synchronization of flag both sides maintained with precision. Each colour dimension are then stitched together as per the specifications and final flag is ironed and packed. BIS approves the colours and only then the Indian flag can be sold.

Laws and punishment regarding Indian Flag disrespect 

According to section 2 of Act anyone who defines, destroys, defaces, publicly burns, mutilates or shows disrespect by acts, spoken or written towards the Indian National Flag or Indian Constitution shall be punished with fine or imprisonment extending upto 3 years. Other acts of disrespect include

  • Waving flag at half-mast with the exception regarding specific occasions
  • Dipping the Indian flag in salute to anything or person
  • Using Indian flag as drapery with the exception towards state funders or last rites towards paramilitary forces or armed forces

Further it is also disrespectful to using Indian flag to

  • Cover platform
  • Cover monument
  • Cover statue
  • Printing or embroidering Indian flag on napkins
  • Printing Indian flag dress
  • Embroiling Indian flag on handkerchiefs

The Indian flag must not be put up in inverted manner or touch the ground as well

Flag Code of India

Flag code of India was introduced in 2002 allowing for unrestricted display of Indian flag as long as flag’s dignity and honour were to be respected as the code did not replace the previous governing rules regarding display of flag but was an effort to combine all previous laws, practices and conventions.

According to 2002 flag code consisting of three parts including 

  • Rules of display of flag in private, public bodies and educational institutes
  • Rules for display flag by government bodies and general description regarding Tricolor

Restrictions regarding Indian Flag Display

There is no restriction regarding display of Indian flag in private or public setting exception regarding "Prevention of Insults to National Honour act 1971” & “Emblems and Names act 1950”.

The Indian flag cannot be used for

  • salutation to anything
  • salutation to person
  • commercial purposes

Indian Flag Display rules

The code further states that the Indian flag should “occupy position of honour” whenever display. Putting up 

  • Damaged Indian flag is not allowed
  • Flying the Indian flag along other flags from single masthead is not allowed
  • Flying Indian along other object like garland or flowers are not allowed
  • Other flag being place same height as Indian flat are not allowed
  • Indian flag cannot be used for any decoration purposes or as festoon

Only those Indian flags which conforms to the Bureau of Indian Standards and bears mark can be used for official display.

Honour for Indian flag

The Indian flag should occupy a position of honour according to the flag code. The Indian flag should be 

  • Lowered slowly
  • Hoisted briskly

The Indian flag when being projected from balcony of windows or projected from window

  • Flag band’s saffron colour should be at staff end

When Indian flag is placed on the speaker platform

  • Flag should be place flat above or behind the speaker or towards the speaker right ride.
  • Indian flag to be flown on car should be fixed on the right or middle of car bonnet
  • The Indian flag should be front of center of parade line or towards the right of marching line.

When parade carrying Indian flag is passing or Indian flag is hoisted or lowered

  • Persons attending the ceremony should stand attention
  • Persons salute the Indian flag including dignitaries by removing headgear before salute

Indian flag can be flown at half mast in the event of 

  • Death of dignitaries
  • State funerals
  • Time of mourning

During times of mourning if mourning period coincides with special events like Republic day or Independence day etc. The Indian flag is not to be half mast flown with the exception of building where body of deceased is resident.

Reported Violations of the Indian flag over the years

There have been some allegations regarding Indian flag code to be violated by popular celebrities including

  • Amitabh Bachchan
  • Sania Mirza
  • Sachin Tendulkar

Tendular was issued legal notice in the year 2007 after he was found cutting cake having Indian flag on it on a video. Mandira Bedi had to bear FIR in year 2007 after she was found wearing Indian flag sari dress

Sania Mirza had to face the allegation case after she was found in a photo sitting position having her feet towards the national flag.

Amitabh Bachcan had to face criticism and case in the year 2011 for celebrating victory of India in Cricket world cup by wrapping himself in the Indian flag. Shahruk Khan had to face complaint regarding Indian flag insult after he was found holding Indian flag upside down during India’s world cup win celebrations.

Recent Indian Flag violations

Farmer Balvinder Singh whose death on January 24 brought insult as his brother and mother was booked by UP police for allegations regarding the body being covered in Indian flag as according to National Honour act of 1971, national flag cannot be used for funerals as drapery or any other form with only exception towards para military or armed forces funeral ceremonies.

There were other similar incidents regarding Indian flag code violation by farmers Ravin Sisodia, Navreet Singh funeral proceeding having body wrapped in Indian national flag. Tourism Minister MR. Prahlad Patel sought allegation towards Delhi chief minister Arvin Kejiwal for using Indian flag as decoration during telecast as he pointed towards inaccuracies in the flag color of green added and white reduced not being in line with Indian flag code provisions by the Ministry of Home affairs. Mr. Patel afterwards in an address claimed that Delhi chief minister had rectified his error.

Other Flags used by the State of India

The state of India has used variety of other flags for representing Ministry of Defence, Ensigns, Port authorities, Indian Armed forces, Army and Air Force . Some of which are as follows

India Flag

India Flag

India Flag