Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to put the "tiranga" ('tricolour', the national flag) as their display pictures on social media profiles between August 2 and 15. In his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast, he flagged a movement called 'Har Ghar Tiranga' (tricolour on every house) being organised from August 13 to 15. "Let us further this movement by hoisting the National Flag at our homes," he said.
The drive is part of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' ('Pious Festival of Freedom'), which has been celebrated with several events and schemes in the lead-up to the 75th anniversary of Independence this year. The PMs said it's turning into a mass movement.
On choosing August 2 to begin the social media profile-picture drive, he said the date marks the birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya, "who designed our national flag".
Venkayya's initial design in 1921 — which he presented to Mahatma Gandhi -- was, in fact, slightly different from what eventually became the national flag, but it served as a prototype. His design had the three colours that we have today, but had a charkha (spinning wheel, a symbol of self-reliance) at the centre.
A stamp issued in memory of Pingli Venkayya (also spelt Venkaiah) by the Indian government in 2009. (Image: postagestamps.gov.in)
PM Modi also referred to "Madam Cama", whose full name was Bhikaiji Rustom Cama, as having played "a key role in giving shape to the national flag". Her version from 1907 had three colours too, besides several cultural and religious symbols, with 'Vande Mataram' in the centre.
For the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign, the central government has also tweaked the Flag Code. Now, all kinds of materials can be used for making the flags — polyester, cotton, wool, silk and Khadi bunting material — while earlier machine-made and polyester flags were not allowed. There is also no restriction on the size of the flag, neither on the timing of its display. Earlier, the flag was allowed to be flown only from sunrise to sunset.
According to an official statement, over 20 crore national flags would be unfurled on top of houses for the three days.
PM Modi, in the address, mainly focused on events to celebrate Independence. "People from all walks of life and from every section of the society are participating in different programmes across the country," he said. "When India completes 75 years of its Independence, all of us are going to witness a glorious and historic moment."
He spoke of some schemes of his government, too. Fairs of several cultures also found a mention, as did Ayurveda. He also congratulated sportspersons who achieved success during July.
"A few days ago the results of Class 10 and 12 have been declared across the country," he further said, "I congratulate all those students who have achieved success through their hard work and dedication."