Q:

What does the "Wheel of Law" mean on the Indian flag?

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Quick Answer

The Wheel of Law, or Ashoka Chakra, is a Buddhist symbol whose 24 spokes represent the 12 links of dependent origination and the 12 reversals of the causal links. These links illustrate that no phenomena or beings exist independently, but everything is interconnected.

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Full Answer

In the first rendition of the Indian flag proposed by Mahatma Gandhi, the red stripe at the top represented the Hindus, and the green strip at the bottom represented the Muslims. The white strip in the middle stood for all the other religious communities in India. The symbol in the center was a spinning wheel, which represented Gandhi's campaign to make India's people self-reliant by making their own clothing from local materials. The flag became a symbol of the independence movement when India was still governed by the British. Upon independence in 1947, a committee was set up to modify the flag, as it needed to be acceptable to all communities and political parties.

By law, the modern flag is made of hand-spun cotton or silk. The top stripe of saffron represents renunciation, the middle white stripe represents light or truth, and the bottom green stripe represents relation to the soil and plants. The wheel is included to suggest that those who live and work under this flag should hold to the law of dharma, or truth, that it represents.

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