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Vexillology- learn a new word today

Updated: Apr 1

26th January was round the corner, the tricolour and the history behind it popped into our mind. Therefore, let's talk about Vexillology- the study of flags today. Specifically, our flag. 

I remember learning in school that the Indian National Congress flag had the charkha in the centre, symbolising Gandhiji's goal of self-reliance by fabricating our own clothing. The flag was adapted for use as our national flag at the time of independence. 

Did you know? Facts about the Indian flag

When India was on the cusp of getting her freedom, in the middle of getting the constitution ready, all the nightmares of the partition, a brand new nation realised we needed a national symbol, a flag. Some of the initial designs had all those symbolic tigers and swans! It is said that Suraiya Tyabji, one of the members of the Flag Presentation Committee (also,  the mother of Laila Tyabji of Dastkar) had originally suggested keeping the flag similar to the INC, using the Ashoka Chakra instead of the charkha. Her original design had suggested black that later became the blue we are all familiar with. A simple solution, and that was the flag unfurled in 1947. 

26th January, 1950, was the day the Indian Constitution came into effect. And thus turned India from a dominion into a Republic, separate from the British Raj. 

Did you know? Manufacturing the Indian flag

The national flags that flutter across the country are made by women from below poverty line families, working in Bengeri, Hubballi. The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangh was the only authorised centre in India to weave national flags till 2021. Nearly 45 women work on hand spinning, weaving to stitching and toggling, but their lives remain unchanged as they continue living in abject poverty without even getting minimum wages.

Did you know? The Indian flag and khadi

Before the amendment of the flag code in 2021, the flag was by law only to be made of khadi. Today, we are allowed polyester, silk, paper too. But the honour for the flag stays, we cannot merely discard the flags after use where it can be stepped upon. 

Ekibeki shares these stories as a small attempt to keep the essence of yesteryears, contemporary and relevant today. So as you watch the tricolour unfurl, wherever in the world you are, remember the stories. You salute our past, present and the future. 

Jai Hind. 


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