Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Indian Navy’s new ensign: Chhatrapati Shivaji’s royal seal

The Indian Navy’s new ensign was inaugurated today by PM Modi. The Navy dropped the earlier ensign with the St George’s cross and the newly introduced design features a distinct shape, the shape of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s royal seal.

The meaning and significance of the new ensign were explained in a short video. The video also honoured the heritage of the Maratha emperor and depicted how the design has undergone changes over the years. Here is the video.

“From a small harbour police outfit at the beginning of the 17th century to one of the world’s finest naval forces in the 21st century, the Indian Navy has come a long way. It is the proud custodian of a rich maritime legacy. For years, the rank and file of the Indian Navy have dreamt of a change in its ensign that would honour its civilisational heritage. Over the years, the Indian navy’s ensign has undergone several changes and has transformed on many occasions. Shedding the last remnants of the colonial past, on September 2, the Indian Navy adopts its new ensign,” the video says.

It goes further to narrate, “With the national flag on the upper canton and a blue octagonal shape encompassing the national emblem, sitting atop an anchor depicting steadfastness, and superimposed on a shield with the Navy’s motto, ‘Sha Nau Varunah’ in Devnagari script.”

“The octagonal shape represents the 8 directions symbolizing the Indian Navy’s multidirectional reach and multidimensional capabilities. The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet, with 60 fighting ships and approximately 5000 men. The rising Maratha naval power, during Shivaji Maharaj’s period, was the first to secure the coastline against external aggression.”

The video then plays a clip from PM Modi’s speech at Red Fort on the occasion of India’s Independence Day celebrations this year. The part where PM Modi emphasised the need to discard the remnants of a colonial mindset, thought process and outlook.

“As India marks the 75 years of its independence, the new Naval ensign is a step towards liberating the mind, and further empowering the sentinels of our seas, the Indian Navy”, the video ends.

The new Navy ensign features the distinctive octagonal design of the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as a mark of respect towards the Maratha emperor, who is regarded as the father of the Indian Navy.

The is notable here that the St George’s cross, a remnant of India’s colonial past, has been a part of the Indian Navy’s ensign all these years, apart from a brief period between 2001-2004, under the Vajpayee govt, when it was dropped. Curiously, the cross was brought back in 2004, with the minor change of including the National Emblem in the middle.

Inaugurating the new ensign today in Kochi, PM Modi said in his address, “Today on September 2, 2022, we have finally discarded a colonial burden.”

However, the fact that the flag with a Crusade-related symbol, representing the rulers of England remained for so long in the Indian Navy’s ensign is another proof of the levels to which our governance, our thought process and the mindset of the people in power are influenced and controlled by a colonial hangover. The Navy of New India discarding the St George’s cross and embracing the octagonal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a welcome step, a significant step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

(This piece is taken with gratitude from OpIndia)

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