Le Corbusier, the designer of the modern planned city of Chandigarh created this motif – the open hand, to symbolise that humanity had choices, and did not have to accept the falsities of the world around oneself.
He proposed this symbol to represent non-alignment to the two power blocs at the time, in the context of the Cold War.
"This sign of the Open Hand is a sign of peace and of reconciliation," Le Corbusier said. "The Open Hand is meant to receive the created riches, and to distribute them to the peoples of the world. That should be the symbol of our epoch."
Chandigarh is the dual capital of the States of Punjab and Haryana. The first planned city in India, it was named for the Chandi Temple, some 15km away from the modern city.
It lies in the middle and is a Union Territory of India (like the Australian Capital Territory). It was made necessary during the Partition of India (and in this context, of Punjab), when the former capital of Punjab was lost to the Punjab state of Pakistan – this was Lahore.
Today Lahore is only 25 km from the Border with India at Wagah/Attari in Pakistan/India respectively. Amritsar is a similar distance across into India.
More about the CIty of Chandigarh, and its status and history can be found at the official website: <a href="http://chandigarh.nic.in/">chandigarh.nic.in/</a>
*PP on my macbook with glossy screen; I am unsure of colour fidelity on this machine…; still off me legs – found my entire India trip RAW collection on my iPod :)