What’s in a colour? A certain wavelength to relate to masses

Why are colours so important in politics? For centuries, people have worn colours to show they identify with a cause and colours have also been part of the emotional life of social movements. Political colours are colours used to represent a political ideology, a movement officially or unofficially

Why are colours so important in politics? For centuries, people have worn colours to show they identify with a cause and colours have also been part of the emotional life of social movements. Political colours are colours used to represent a political ideology, a movement officially or unofficially


Many parties use either single or combination of colours for flags

With the State Assembly elections in five states to be held in the latter part of the year and early part of 2024, the poll bugle has been sounded by all parties. The election fever will grip the country till the middle of 2024, when the general elections are over and the next government is seated in the Parliament house, the Lok Sabha. Alliance and association is being discussed and hectic parleys are being carried out.

That politics makes strange bed partners is 100 per cent correct. The warring groups are getting ready from now on to face one another on the battle field. Elections in any country in the world are no less than a war. In the battle field, it’s the ammunition that is extensively used but in elections, in a democratic country like India, it’s the war of words being recklessly used crossing all principles, morals and ethics and the right to freedom of speech is used unabashedly.

The party symbol and the colour of the flag play a prominent role in these elections. People identify the party with the symbol and colour than with the person. Colours form an inseparable part of our life and a life without colours would be boring and dull. Colours have a strong effect on senses especially on sight, touch and overall personality. They are powerful communication tools and can be used to signal action, influence mood and even physiological reactions. There is no denying the link between colours and our emotions, and we even have an abundance of idioms to show what each colour can affect our mood.

Flags and colours are not new to Indian culture. One of the interesting aspects of the Mahabharata war fought at Kurukshetra, is the vivid description of the warrior’s personalized flags. These flags were flown above the warrior’s respective chariot, and represented their choices/personalities. Cutting down the flag was common, and was viewed as an insult, or a sign of defeat which even today it is thought of in the same way.

Bhishma’s flag was a palmyra palm with five stars. It’s symbolic of his greatness, perhaps of his unsullied nature in spite of being in the Kaurava camp. Yudhishthir’s flag is a golden moon, symbol of great energy with planets around it. Arjuna’s flag is known as Kapidhwaja since he has the flag of Hanuman on his chariot. Bhimasena’s is a gigantic silver lion with its eyes made of the Lapis Lazuli (deep blue semi-precious stone). Karna’s flag depicted a beautiful white conch (Sankha), signifying his ever readiness to go to battle. Duryodhana had a snake wearing a diamond on its hood signifying his longing for wealth and his crooked nature.

Bhagwan Krishna did not fight in the war; his famous flag bears the king of birds Garuda, an eagle and the mount of Vishnu, on it.

Just like symbols, colours are a part of a party’s image. Indian political parties clearly choose colours to have party recognition; especially, it becomes important while wooing illiterate and semi-illiterate voters, as many are still short of the 3 R’s. So, for them it’s easy to recognise the colours like a baby gets drawn to eye catcher colours. Every party has a flag and flaunts its colour more deliberately and widely to associate itself with a movement it became popular with or a party.

Political colours are colours used to represent a political ideology, a movement officially or unofficially. Politicians making public appearances will often identify themselves by wearing rosettes, flowers, ribbons, shawls or angavastram representing the colour of their party. Parties with similar ideologies sometimes use similar colours. The political association of a given colour varies from party to party.

Why are colours so important in politics? For centuries people have worn colours to show they identify with a cause and colours have also been part of the emotional life of social movements. Skin colour of candidates plays a significant role in our electoral processes and it is always not in favour of the fair. During elections, typical voters are not well-informed about candidates. As a result, voters typically use short cuts to make broad judgements about candidates most likely to represent their interest paying attention to factors such as party affiliation, caste, religion and or gender. It was found out that Dalits express support for dark-skinned candidates more frequently than the rest of the society.

When it comes to the colour of clothes and parties, India is usually more tolerant than West. Black is not chosen because in politics as in life, in West and in East, black is often the anti-colour. The political tradition of greeting somebody with black flags, more recently black shirts or sarees, to protest against the person or party has existed in India since colonial rule. Historically, black shirts and black flags with a red circle were symbols of Dravidar Kazhagam, a movement started in 1944, by E V Ramasami (usually called Periyar), who fought against religion, Brahmin domination and for the self- assertion of Tamils. The two major Dravidian parties, the DMK and the AIADMK have different party colours. Interestingly late Jayalalitha, the party supremo of AIADMK, always used green shawl, green saree and the backdrop of stage decorations were all green. The love for green springs from the fact that it symbolises prosperity, peace and progress and the party symbol two leaves also means the same.

As for DMK, yellow best beholds the eye of party chief late Karunanidhi, who for many years donned shawl of the same hue. Yellow was the colour of the stage’s backdrop in all his grand election meetings. Interestingly, the party’s symbol the rising sun too is invariably yellow. The

saffron is the most obvious in stance of a politicised colour, though the colour existed from centuries and worn by sadhus and the people who renounced pleasures. It is associated with Hindu religion, particularly with Bhagwan Mahadev from times immemorial. It is also believed that the flag of Shivaji, the Hindu king of the Maratha community, was saffron. It was chosen by Shiv Sena. The Indian National Congress party was created by Indira Gandhi in 1969 after it split from the Congress (O) Nijalingappa faction. The flag has all three colours of the National Flag. The paramount colour is turquoise with hand as its symbol.

The RSS chose the saffron flag as their own. When the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Jan Sangh established a party in 1951, its colour from the beginning was saffron. Bharatiya Jan Sangh’s current Avtar, the BJP uses saffron flag with a green stripe and a lotus. Saffron represents secular arm and green means democracy. Over a period of time, saffron has become a colour identified with Hindu nationalists as easily as red is linked and immediately reminds us of the Communists and green with Muslim movements, though green is the symbol of nature and prosperity. But we forget the fact that all these colours are gifts of Nature.

Many parties use combination of colours on their party flags. The Samajwadi Party, a socialist political party, of Uttar Pradesh uses red and green flag, with bicycle as its symbol. Its government made many blatant attempts-such as giving out school bags in those colours to children so that people associate these colours with the party.

Green, saffron and white appear quite often on party flags as they are colours of our National Flag. A political party cannot use Tiranga as its own flag in toto. The Bahujana Samajwadi Party (BSP), one of the main parties that claims to fight for Dalit rights led by Sushree Mayawati uses a blue flag with an elephant on it. All the Dalit protest movements use blue flags since the times of Dr. Ambedkar. There is no particular or proven reason for using blue for Dalit movements, but professor Rao Saheb Kasbe admits that blue is the colour of sky and under the sky there is no discrimination and is believed that everyone is equal and has equal opportunities. Colour is not only associated with a party but with an idea.

The pink of TRS now BRS, the state of Telangana carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 in which TRS had a major role. A pink flag with an outline of demanded state’s borders in black is the party’s flag but it does not stop there. The colour reigns supreme in all BRS supremo KCR’s public appearances, on posters,

make shift gates, shawls, gamchas and many more. Pink is a good choice because most of the other parties do not use it.

Though we are surrounded by so many colours but each colour has a different meaning. Colours may range from bright to dull; from warm to cool; from relaxing to exciting etc. but still all the colours play a very important role in human life. Selection of political colours thoughtfully and sensibly in your life may lead to a huge difference.

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