Vexillology, in layman language, means the study of flags. The term Vexillology originates from two sources, Greek and Latin. The Latin word “vexillum” means ‘flag’ and the Greek word “logia” means ‘study’. Hence the study of flags is termed as Vexillology.
But these days, it is very difficult to indulge yourself in such detailed hobbies. There was a time when Philately was my hobby and I was quite passionate about it. But now, with all the responsibilities that come with age, and all the pressures that we undertake to maintain a decent livelihood, takes up all our time and consumes all the energy. So my interest in Vexillology still remains an ‘interest’ and has not yet been converted to a passion or profession.
But people always find an alternative, and so have I. Since I am very interested in crossing boundaries demographically, I thought that it would be a good idea to first cross them virtually. Coincidentally, I chanced upon an application named Flag counter.
As the name suggest, Flag counter counts flags for you. Still confused? Well, let me explain. Flag counter is basically an accessory for your online account or your webpage. Flag counter can be installed free of charge. It is very easy to manage Flag counter as there is no manual intervention required for it to function. All you have to do is align it anywhere on your webpage and Flag counter will start monitoring the visits made on your web page. Every time a person belonging to a particular nation visits your website, you will see Flag counter actively putting up the flag of that particular country on your profile. Flag counter can show you the images of up to 255 flags.
So, if you were to become a Vexillology enthusiast, all you need to do is recognize those flags, as to which country they belong to, and start your research from there. First, you can know the name of the country. Then you can know about how the particular design of the flag resembles that country and about the highlights of the patterns made on the flag. For example, the flag of India symbolizes the characteristics of our nation. The tricolor is a visual representation of our beliefs, our strengths and our unity. Saffron stands for brevity, white for peace and green for Mother Nature. The Ashok Chakra in the centre resembles the ever-spinning wheel of our law. These are the basic facts which every citizen of India knows.
Vexillology is more than just gathering the basic facts. It is a detailed study about the origin of the flag, the symbolic value attached to it, the aesthetic importance of the diagrams, patterns and images chosen for a particular flag and much more.
So if you think that’s a lot to study about, well, you are right. However, you need not do it at one go. Just pick one flag at a time from the flag counter. Proceed with the second only when you have thorough knowledge about the first one. It might take days, or even weeks and months to study about one flag, but here’s the mantra: do not give up! It might seem tiring and you might not be interested after a short period of time, but then again, if you give up, you will never know.
This is something I aspire to do in my life, and I will certainly share my experiences as a student of Vexillology when I can call myself one. Since I have a passion to travel and see the far-away lands of my dreams, I would very much like to know about them in advance. If you get to read about different places, from credible sources of course, then you already are a part of that place, at least in your mind. Books are a great help in this regard. I can say that because I have experienced it. I was transported to Afghanistan by the great author Khaled Hosseini and I felt the charm of that particular nation in every bone of my body, even though I have never been there in person.
Vexillology is not just a study for people who want to make it their profession. It is also for people like me and you, who crave for knowledge, who have the insatiable urge to know more and more. We have our dreams to take care of us at night, so while we are awake, let’s share the joy of learning amongst ourselves.
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