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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quest for a Flag for India, Part - III

The first serious attempt at flag making came from Sister Nivedita (Margaret Nobel, 1867-1911) an Irish disciple of Swamy Vivekananda.  She conceived the idea of the flag, while on a  visit to Bodh Gaya in 1904, in the company of J.C.Bose and Rabindranath Tagore. She was inspired by the Vajra sign, symbol of Budha - the selfless man. It was the weapon of Lord Indra and is a symbol of strength (and also associated with the Goddess Durga).Legend goes that Vajra (Thunder bolt) was made from the bones of Rishi Dadhichi. It is a symbol of supreme sacrifice.

Sister Nivedita’s flag, prepared by the students of her Girls' School at Calcutta  was displayed for public view at the Congress exhibition in December 1906. The flag was square in shape, it had the symbols of Vajra (Thunder bolt) in the centre. On both sides of the Vajra was written‘Vande’ and ‘Mataram’ and 108 Jyotis (flames) in the outer periphery..

Sister Nivedita (using R.S. as nom de plume) in an article titled ‘The Vajra as a National Flag’ published in the Modern Review, November 1909, strongly suggested Vajra as a National flag for whole of India. The opening sentences of the article goes, I quote  "The question of the invention of a flag for India is beginning to be discussed in the press.Those who contemplate the desirability of such a symbol, seem to be unaware that already a great many people have taken up, and are using, the ancient Indian Vajra or Thunderbolt, in this way....",unquote.  Above are some of the draft sketches prepared by Sister Nivedita herself for illustrations of the said article. 
Nivedita’s Vajra, has been adopted as the logo of the Bose Institute, Kolkata

                                            Crest of North Bengal University has also the Vajra symbol in the centre.

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