News: The new ensign was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi during the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
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What is a Naval Ensign?
- A naval ensign is a flag used in form of maritime identification that is installed atop naval warships, on ground stations, at air bases and other institutions.
- Literal meaning of naval ensign is Nishaan meaning symbol.
- Every country’s navy has its own ensign which can be the same as their country’s flag or a distant one. For example, the US Navy’s ensign is the same as its national flag but many other navies have distinctive naval ensigns which are used by their war vessels.
Evolution of Naval Ensign: Naval Ensign has undergone a change fourth time since 1950.
- When India became a republic on 26 January 1950, the Navy Crest and flags were duly ‘Indianised’. However, the Naval Ensign retained a touch of the British legacy i.e. the red St. George’s Cross even though India’s tricolor replaced the Union flag. Even in post-colonial period Indian Navy retained red St George’s Cross in their new ensigns and flags, till 2001.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government on 15 August 2001, changed the design of the ensign and the Cross was removed from Indian Navy ensign.
- In April 2004, Naval ensign was changed back to St George’s Cross with the addition of the Indian emblem in its intersection as there were complaints within the force that the blue of the naval crest was indistinguishable from the sky and the ocean.
- In 2014, the national motto “Satyameva Jayate” in the Devanagari script was updated in naval crest along with Naval ensign.
Attributes of New Ensign of Navy:
- Nation wide Navy was identified with white Ensign and two main constituents of naval ensign are the National Flag in the upper left canton, and a Navy Blue – Gold octagon at the centre of the fly side (away from the staff).
- Resting atop an anchor is Octagon superimposed on a shield with twin golden octagonal borders encompassing the golden National Emblem (Lion Capital of Ashoka – underscribed with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in blue Devnagri script).
- The motto of the Indian Navy ‘Sam No Varunah’ in golden Devnagriscript is inscribed below the shield, within the octagon, in a golden bordered ribbon, on a Navy Blue background. The design encompassed within the octagon has been taken from the Indian Naval crest,
- Fouled anchor associated with colonial legacy, has been replaced with a clear anchor representing the steadfastness of the Indian Navy.
Significance of new naval ensign: New Naval White Ensign reflects the glorious maritime heritage of India, as well as present day capabilities of our Navy..
- Shivaji Maharaj Rajmudra or the Seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji, inspired the twin octagonal borders.
- Inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj taken as he built a credible Naval Fleet that earned grudging admiration from European Navies operating in the region at the time.
- Eight directions (four cardinal and four inter cardinal) of octagonal shape represents the , Indian Navy’s global outreach.
- According to Navy octagon in its ensign stands for good fortune, eternity, renewal and draws positive energy from all directions.
Sources: Indian Express, PIB, Times of India
- Indian Express:- https://bit.ly/3d2q658; https://bit.ly/3xaXXzr
- Times of India:- https://bit.ly/3TVBq3u