Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why the flag of Indian Navy still reminds us of our colonial past?




Have you noticed the Flag of Indian Navy (Indian Naval Ensign)? See it below and you will notice that it's another souvenir that the British left for us. The Red Cross having National Emblem at it's center and Indian flag at the top right corner resembles the Royal Navy's Ensign in every way. Doesn't it rings question in your mind that why are we still bearing the burden of our past? I've got few of the answers for you!


Left: Indian Navy Ensign | Right: Royal Navy Ensign


Navy's present ensign does has a little history attached to it. Indian Navy Flag was first displayed in 1950 which was same as the present flag minus the Emblem at the center. Which means they just replaced the Union Jack with the Indian National Flag. 

Thankfully, we are not the only ones since then, having this burning question in our minds that why did nobody thought of removing the British heritage (red cross) from it? The question must have aroused which finally led to a change in 2001. From 15th August 2001, a new ensign was introduced which was not having the Red Cross; instead it had a blue coloured Crest of Indian Navy at it's bottom right (pic below).

Indian Naval Ensign from 2001 to 2004


But soon it was noticed that the design has a flaw as the blue color of the crest is getting visibly submerged in the blues of the ocean and the sky which made the flag hard to spot from a distance. This led to another change in the design but what's surprising this time was that the thinkers of then brought back the Red Cross in the design and just Indianized it by putting our National Emblem at the middle. 

This new flag is the official Naval Ensign of India since 25th April 2004 till present day. I found two news articles from 2004 stating the change. You can read them here and here.

The whole point of raising this issue is the feeling that we have when we see the present Navy Flag. It reminds us, in bold letters, of our not-so-glorious colonial past! My question is that, if you really had to change the design of the ensign in 2004 because of the technical flaws, why did you go back to the old one making the whole story meaningless? It's like admitting a mistake committed in 2001 when the ensign was changed for the first time since independence. It's like sending out a message that you are very proud of your colonial past and you cannot let the memories of it fade away!

Were we so deprived of good designers at that time or nobody actually took the pain of being creative? Apart from the Navy, the flags of the other entities of the Indian Armed Forces are also very basic with minimal design (though they do not carry colonial memories). A good way to get a good design is to outsource it to the Indian public, like what they did with the Rupee Symbol and couple of other things. It really works and proves that a billion strong India cannot be short of talent in any walk of life, it's just about putting the right talent at right place!

Jai Hind!

23 comments:

  1. Well sighted, but does it really mater?

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    1. Maybe it doesn't matter to people like you, but for others it does. Plus, "heritage" would be a wrong term to use.. it's massive genocide and that's where it ends.. the insignia of navy could have been turned red or something to make it more visible. The red cross is called St. george ensignia, it is not related to our country at all and must be thrown away from our flag.. it's stupid to continue using this emblem.

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    2. i hate to see a flag like this and your same questin has been ringing bells inside me. As an Indian and more powerful than Britian in every possible way right from before and now India has to choose another unique flag for our armed forces.

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    3. Totally agree with you buddy!!

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    4. I like how you talk of being more powerful than Britain now and before, Your economy and military/navy fighting ability says different. You have a united India, still using Road and railway networks the "Evil British" put in place.. Not to mention a first rate civil service and your people are governed by common law. India is far better for British rule, you are now a united people. We in Britain are proud of our brother in the commonwealth including India

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  2. Yes it does, might not to all, but at-least to those who are not so proud of the colonial rule. I believe that freedom is something for which our countrymen fought really hard and sacrificed a lot; and things like these, however small, does undermine that fight-of-freedom we ought to respect.

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  3. Interesting post on a less noted subject, appreciations...
    I believe most of the navy flags across the globe are in such manner, having cross cuts.
    Flags and patterns never matters, the contribution Indian navy is crucial..
    Nice post :)

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  4. It is worth noting that other Commonwealth countries use the red cross in their navy's flags, or variation of the British white ensign, and that the red cross was originally from Genoa!

    Like it or not the British were with us for a century, and made the modern Indian navy, so that it is part of our heritage still and why some countries share the red cross design.

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  5. Existance of St George cross on Indian naval ensign shows poor colonial mentality. People have to salute lord nelson's strips (former royal navy officer), fight for a commonwealth Indian naval ensign, salami to an anthem who is wrote In praise of royal imperials. It is very demoralizing and heart breaking.

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    1. Exactly. I don't know what goes in the mind of sailors when they salute the flag everyday! What's stopping the authorities to change it! Hard to understand.

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    2. Pl read Churchills secret war by Madhushree Murkerjee and Modern India 185-1945 by Sumit Sarkar.

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  6. Existance of St George cross on Indian naval ensign shows poor colonial mentality. People have to salute lord nelson's strips (former royal navy officer), fight for a commonwealth Indian naval ensign, salami to an anthem who is wrote In praise of royal imperials. It is very demoralizing and heart breaking.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Existance of St George cross on Indian naval ensign shows poor colonial mentality. People have to salute lord nelson's strips (former royal navy officer), fight for a commonwealth Indian naval ensign, salami to an anthem who is wrote In praise of royal imperials. It is very demoralizing and heart breaking.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Existance of St George cross on Indian naval ensign shows poor colonial mentality. People have to salute lord nelson's strips (former royal navy officer), fight for a commonwealth Indian naval ensign, salami to an anthem who is wrote In praise of royal imperials. It is very demoralizing and heart breaking.

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  9. As an Englishman, I am proud to share my national flag with the Indian Navy, a navy that fought so bravely in two world wars and which, like the Indian people has earned our great respect. We see India as equals, it is unfortunate that some wish to recall only the worst of our union and not the best. My respect to India and her people.

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    1. I agree. It's a pity the British did not leave India twenty years earlier - when it was time. But a changing a flag won't change a countries democracy, its legal system, and much of its infrastructure, which is also inherited from Britain.

      One interesting thought is that the British Amorial of 3 golden lions on a red shield, which was Richard the 1st's symbol, is based on the coat of Arms of Normandy, which has two lions on a red shield.

      Britain has been invaded and shaped by the Romans, the Vikings and the French. It's history.

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  10. Really appreciate your thoughts Bill! I wish it to be of the majority view.

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  11. We need to remove the red cross ASAP

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  12. British Provide us Security and Support in Marine Time... Congress govt got the deal made again. British told us that no cross no UK support to our Navy... Inside story.. And it Bullshit that the blue color was not identifiable. I sailed on INS Gomati with this Ensign and it was all beautiful :)

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  13. All services like their traditions and usually have no hang ups with political implications because politics are not for servicemen. I would say they value the memory of their brave forbears who served under it and brought peace and security to the seas more than politics.
    It depends what you want to remember. One English City has a statue of a Roman soldier over the entrance to its Victorian Town Hall because they wanted people to know their city was 2000 years old. That he was a imperial occupier did not matter. In the same way the British Armies Scottish and Welsh regiments have marches celebrating the times the defeated the English and nobody in England, Scotland or Wales thinks anything of it.

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  14. When ships are in dock, there will be linesof pennants decorating the ship. Each individual pennant denotes a wordand they actually spell out a message. Table Flag

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