Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection Software India Flag
India Flag by

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quest for a National flag for India, Part - XIII

Quest for a National flag for India, Part - XII ; New Purna Swaraj (Total Independence) Flag: 1931-1947
We have seen in the last post dated June 8, 2010 that All India Congress Committee rejected the All Saffron Flag as recommended by the Flag Committee(1931), and instead approved a new Tricolour Flag popularly known Purna Swaraj Flag in India.

The new Purna Swaraj Flag immediately acquired irresistible power, it betokened fearlessness and faith amongst the Freedom fighters in their ultimate victory in gaining Independence in 1947.

 The Patriotic cover shows the effigy of Mahatma Gandhi flanked by the new Tricolour flags and the legend ‘Vande Mataram’ in Tamil.The envelope is chopped with Japanese censored mark and was postally carried in Malaya then under Japanese occupation during World War II (Postage stamps were duly affixed at the back) 
  “Kumaran's Hand Holding the Flag” Postmark from Tirupur issued on August 15, 1997 commemorating the 50th. Anniversary. of Independence 
  Kodi Kaatha Kumaran (1904 - 1932)
Kumaran - The protector of the Flag, on January 10, 1932, Kodi Kaatha Kumaran, a brave young mill-hand of Tirupur, Madras (now Tamil Nadu) was leading a labour resistance procession holding the tricolour in his hand, when police attacked Kumaran brutally he exhibited an exemplary act of defiance against the British violence by holding the Tricolour up while raising the freedom cry ‘Vande Matarm’. Kumaran succumbed to his  injuries next day. 

 Sanjiva Nijalingappa actively participated and courted arrest in the 'Flag Satyagraha' organised by the Mysore Congress in April 1938 at Shivapura near Maddur, Karnataka.
 On August 8, 1942 Mahatma Gandhi gave the historic call “Quit India” in Bombay and raised the slogan “Do or Die” for the cause. 
 On August 9, following the arrest of most of the prominent leaders, Aruna Asaf Ali came forward and hoisted the National Flag at Gowalia Tank Maidan (Renamed, August Kranti Maidan) in Bombay (now Mumbai).
 Matangini Hazra was an active participant of the Quit India Movement at the age of 73. On 29th. Sept, 1942 while she was leading a procession in Tamluk, Bengal and advanced with the Tricolour flag in her hands, a shower of bullets from the police felled her, but the flag was still flying in her hands unsullied. 
 The August Kranti at Ballia,under the leadership of Chittu Pandey was an inspiring chapter of the “Quit India” Movement 
 The bronze sculpture (by D. P. Roychoudhury) depicts the seven students who lost their lives while attempting to hoist the flag atop old Patna Secretariat building during Quit India Movement. The seven students, who's names are engraved on Martyrs’ Memorial, Patna.;* Umakant Prasad Sinha - Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, class IX * Ramanand Singh - Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, class IX * Satish Prasad Jha - Patna Collegiate School, class X * Jalpati Kumar - Bihar National College, 2nd year * Devipada Choudhry - Miller High English School, class IX * Rajendra Singh - Patna High English School, matric class * Ramgovind Singh - Punpun High English School, matric class.

(To be continued)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Flag Day , "Flags on Stamps; Facts File - Part 2"

Issued in 1962 to commemorate 150 years of Argentine Flag
Gen. Manuel Belgrano - the creator of the Flag

To-day June 20, is happened to be Argentine Flag Day.
 The Argentine flag was raised for the first time on February 27, 1812 by Gen. Manuel Belgrano. Legend goes that its creator Gen. Belgrano, was inspired by the colour of the sky or the Virgin’s cloak when he chose its colours. On a rainy day of May 25, 1810, Argentine patriots were demanding freedom from Spain. As they stood about in one city square at the banks of the Paraná River, someone handed out blue and white ribbons (Escarapela). Presently word came to the people that the Viceroy had resigned and at that moment, the Sun burst through the clouds and shone down on the people. In honour of these patriots, the first military flag of Argentina had blue and white stripes. On June 20, 1816 the Congress officially declared the flag designed by Gen. Belgrano as the national symbol. In 1918 the “Sol de Mayo” (Sun of May) was added on the white strip to be used in case of a war. In 1938, June 20 was declared The Flag’s Day and a national holiday, in homage to its creator Gen. Belgrano, who died on June 20, 1820.
(In the year 1920, in commemoration of Gen. Belgrano's centenary of death, Argentina issued a set of three stamps of which the 2c. value depicts the scene of "Creation of Argentine Flag", again on the occasion of  200th. birth centenary of Belgrano in 1970 a set of two stamps was released wherein, the 50c. stamp reproduces the art work of Jose Floravanti's bas-relief "Creation of Argentine Flag").

Flags on Stamps; Facts File. Part -II

World’s smallest Miniature Sheet (Perforate) featuring flags; Fiji

First water-marked paper with 'Flag motif' used for stamp production. India 1854 (4 stamps of denomination 1/2a, 1a, 2as & 4as) 

Flag at half-mast on Stamp; Burma 
Issued in 1948 to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of Burma’s leaders in the fight for freedom.

Most Flags at Half-mast on a single Stamp; Bhutan

First Stamp featuring Flags of Foreign Nations USA in 1919 ‘Victory issue’- flags of the Allies (Successful outcome of WW-I)

 First Indian National Flag in stamp issued abroad Rep. of Korea (South Korea) in 1951

First British Stamp to depict “Union Jack” On the shield of “Britania” on the high value Sea-horse issues of 1913.

Flag wrong way up (Up-side

This Jamaican stamp was printed the British ‘Union Jack’ up-side down in 1921. But immediately the error was noticed and the flag design was corrected.

The first British stamp to commemorate an overseas leader and the first to be designed by an overseas artist ; Mahatma Gandhi in 1969 using Indian National Colours as back drop of the design (The Indian-born designer of the stamp was Biman Mullick (his autograph appears above). The designer had met Gandhi as a child in Calcutta).

Most celebrated Flag Raising Events of the World
[A] Raising the American Flag over Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima on February 23,1945
( Original photograph by Joe Rosenthal. The US stamp was issued on July 11, 1945. More than 150 million were sold)
[B] Raising the Soviet Red Flag over Reichstags, Berlin.
(There are numerous stamps issued from all over the world depicting the above ‘Flag events’ to mark the end of World War II).

First Stamp to show ‘Lowering of Flag’- Canada
Scouting Year-1983.
(Normaly, we see picturisation of flag raising events on stamps) 

Real 'hole' in Flag Stamp; Hungary issued in 2006
During the Uprising of 1956, the centre ‘Communist Emblen’ was ‘torn out of the Hungarian flag’ by the nationalist patriots but when Communist rule was restored; it was decided to have no 'ARMS’ on the flag.
I thank Mr. Kenneth Sequeira of Dubai, UAE for bringing to my notice certain factual errors and typographical mistakes that cropped up in the list of Indian flag on foreign stamps published earlier in this blog. I shall issue a corrigendum to the list  in due course along with some more new items.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pledge of Allegiance to Flag ; A Philatelic Overview

14th June every year in the United States of America is observerd nationally as the "Pledge of Allegiance Day" to the US National Flag, nicknamed "Old glory" and "Stars and Stripes". The “Pledge of Allegiance” drew its impetus in 1892 from the “Old Glory”, commencing “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” (God was inserted during the Eisenhower era). The first “Stars and Stripes” was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. This date is now observed in the US as “Flag Day”.
In this Flag the 13 stars, representing a new constellation, were arranged in a variety of designs. The most popular – the stars in a circle so that no state could claim precedence over another – is known as the Betsy Ross Flag, in honour of the seamstress who is supposed to have sewn the first flag.

Betsy Ross showing the Flag to Gen. George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross ( The 3c. US stamp was issued to commemorate 200 Anniv. of the birth of Betsy Ross on January 2, 1952).

It's not known for certain who designed the first U.S. Flag, but it is likely that the flag was designed by Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson (inscription on the back of stamp describes the flag). (The stamp was issued on Flag Day featuring the historic flags under the title "Stars and Stripes" sheet-let on June 14, 2000)

Old Glory Self-Adhesive Book-let Stamps issued on April 3, 2003
(Uncle Sam on Bicycle with Liberty Flag 20th Century, 1888 Presidential Campaign Badge, 1893 Silk Bookmark, Modern Hand Fan and Carving of Woman with Flag and Sword-19th Century).

 "Old Glory" was coined by Captain William Driver, of Massachuetts in the year 1831. The story goes as Capt. Driver was leaving on one of his voyages abroad the his brig 'Charles Dagget' when his friends presented him with a new American Flag for his ship. It has been reputed that as the flag opened to the breeze for the first time, Capt. Driver exclaimed "Old Glory". The flag was worn on his most voyages which took him to Tahiti where he found the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Capt. Driver on his retirement setteled in Nashville in 1837, where he took his flag. When the Civil War broke out, Tennesse seceded from the Union and the rebels were determined to destroy Capt. Driver's flag, but repeated searches yeilded no trace of the flag since the flag was kept hidden by Capt. Driver. When Union forces captured Nashville in 1862 the '24-starred - Old Glory' was brought out from the hidden place and hoisted by Capt. Driver again by replacing the flag hoisted by the Union forces. Now, Capt. Driver's grave at Nashville is one of the very few select places authorised by the act of congress where the US flag is flown 24 hours a day. (Pitcairn Islands issued a colourful miniature sheet of value $5.00, on April 21, 2006 Commemorating "175 years of Old Glory", with an interesting note on the history of the Old Glory)

Maximum Card commemorating 250 years of Naval dockyard, Bombay
The Star-spangled Banner, the National anthem of the USA, was composed on board HMS Minden in 1814 by Francis Scott Key in Baltimore harbour when he was a prisoner of the British on board His Majesty's ship Minden. Naval Dockyard, Bombay (now Mumbai) was established in 1736, the Indian stamp issued to commemorate the 250 years of Naval dockyard (designed by Commde A. K. Dhir, IN (Retd.) depicts Dockyard’s Duncan Drydocks. It is the oldest Dockyard east of Suez which commenced its Ship-building and Repair activities in 1736.
'HMS Minden', an Indian teakwood 'man-of-war' was the first ship to be launched in 1810 from the Duncan Dock, Bombay. This was also the first ship commissioned in the Royal Navy from India. She was named after the German town 'Minden' and the 'Battle of Minden' of 1759, a decisive victory of British and Prussian forces over France in the Seven Years' War.
The U.S. Army commissioned Mary Pickersgill, a professional flagmaker in Baltimore, to make two flags for Fort McHenry, one of which was the flag that Francis Scott Key witnessed flying over the fort during and after the bombardment. The flag is now at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

‘Flag Day’ There are plenty of stamps issued from various countries around the world to commemorate "Flag Day" observed to celebrate‘Adoption of flag’, ‘Anniversary of the Maker of Flag’, and/or ‘Flag events of great National importance’ to re-dedicate allegiance to their respective National Flag. We shall from time to time discuss and bring out country-wise fascinating stories of Flag Day Stamps.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flags on Stamps; Facts File (Part -I) & Quest for a National flag for India, Part - XII ; New Purna Swaraj (Total Independence) Flag: 1931-1947

Flags on Stamps; Facts File (Part-I) 

 World’s first stamps featuring Flag issued by 
Costa Rica in the year 1863.

Denmark has the oldest flag ‘The Dannebrog’—as the Danish national flag is called – dropped traditionally ‘as a sign from heaven above’ on June 15, 1219, turning defeat into victory for the Danish crusaders under Valdemar the victorious in the ‘Battle of Lindanaes’ against the Pagan Esthonians.

 1700 years of St. George’s Red Cross Flag 
The legend goes that St. George rescued a princess from a dragon, dipped his lance in the dragon’s blood and traced a cross on his white shield. After the siege of Antioch in 1098, when the Crusaders were losing, Saint George with his flag and a host of heavenly soldiers appeared in the sky. The vision inspired the English to win the battle. Richard Coeur de Lion brought the story back to England, proclaimed St. George the nation’s saint and made his banner the national flag. Saint George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres (Spain), Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Milan, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod, Barcelona and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations, and disease sufferers. (Wikipedia)
 Red Cross flag is the first recognized International flag established in 1864 by the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. 

Red Cross being a Christian symbol, many Moslem countries opted for Red Crescent as equivalent flag and also recognised by Geneva Conventions and Protocols. First adopted by Turkey.

 Tonga’s flag prior 1875 was identical to Red Cross Flag, so they had to modify their flag with the proviso that the flag should never be altered again.

Avant-garde : Multi-colour Postage Stamp
Azerbaijan is the first country to produce multi-colour flag stamps in 1919. Then, considered a 
technical break through on stamps. 

 First book on “Flags on Stamps” published in 1956. 
Prior to that a compilation of ‘Flags on Stamps’ written by Ben Hamilton, Jr. was published in ‘Scott’s Monthly Journal’ for July, 1945. It listed over 6000 stamps featuring Flags.

 First Omnibus Issue featuring Flag 
[I] Flagship San Gabriel of Vasco-da-Gama in 1898 (ref. Discovery of Sea route to India, blog of April 30, 2010) [II] “Flag of the (Hispanic) Race”, issued simultaneously from; Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay in 1933.

First 'Seamstress of Flag' on stamp; Cuba -1951 
 Emilia Teurbe Tolon sewing the first Cuban flag in 1850

  ********     *******

Quest for a National flag for India, Part - XII ; New Purna Swaraj (Total Independence) Flag: 1931-1947

 Some more interesting items on Swaraj flag (1921-1931) (from the collection of Sri G. Biswas of Kolkata)

The Flag Committee -1931 headed by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramyya after going through various suggestions as received from various sources came up with an entirely new design, all Saffron Flag charged with a brown Charkha at the top left corner (canton) of the flag. The Flag design recommended by the Flag Committee failed to create any consensus amongst the Congress members in general and Muslims members in particular. The proposed flag was summarily rejected by the Congress Working Committee for the reason that the flag design interfered too much with the flag. As a result the all Saffron Flag never saw the light of day.
 The CWC which met at Bombay (now Mumbai) on August 5-6, 1931 presided over by Sardar Ballavbhai Patel approved a new “Tricolour” by substituting Saffron for Red and re-arranging the positions of the colours -- “Saffron over White over Green with a Charkha (Spinning wheel) in deep blue at the centre of the middle white stripe”. The new flag was named “Purna Swaraj Flag”.

 The CWC was attended by amongst others, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Dr. M. A. Ansari, Dr. Syed Mohammed, Sardul Singh Caveeshar, J. M. Sengupta, M. S. Aney, J. Daulatram, Abul Kalam Azad, Madan Mohan Malaviya, P. Sitaramyya, T.A.K. Sherwani, and Purushottamdas Tandon.

Dr. N. S. Hardikar was entrusted with the task to prepare the new flag. The original design had spindle of the Charkha (Spinning wheel) towards the flagpole, but later the position of the Charkha was changed.

(Note; P. Venkayya who is credited and correctly so, for the original Swaraj flag was in fact, not even consulted by the CWC while designing the new Purna Swaraj Flag in 1931. P. Rajeswar Rao in his book “Tha Great Indian patriot”. (Vol - I) tells us; ‘….. Venkyya had retired from active politics in 1922 as he had no faith in the non-violent Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi. He belonged to the old school of revolution….’. Many historians still erroneously mention ‘Venkayya’ as the designer of the Purna Swaraj flag).

(To be continued)