August 15th, 1947 India got Independence. As Indians, we boast of possessing a beautiful and meaningful Tricolour Flag with Dharma Chakra embossed at center. We also get involved in trolls on celebrities like actress Priyanka Chopra for their careless attitude towards tricolor. But if we are quizzed about the designer of Indian tricolor we get into silent mode as the majority of us do not know about the person who designed our National Flag. Here is a post to introduce readers to Mr. Pingali Venkayya, the freedom fighter who designed our National Flag.
Early Life & Education
Mr. Pingali Venkayya was born on 2nd August 1876 at a place called Bhatlapenumarru in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. His parents were Mr. Hanumantharayudu and Mrs. Venkataratnamma. He did his primary education at Challapalli and High school from Hindu High School Machilipatnam. For his higher studies, he went to Colombo. His zeal to fight for Nation made him enroll for Boer-Anglo war at the age of 19. He served as Sena Nayak aka Captain in British Army posted in South Africa. During his stay at Africa rapport developed with Mahatma Gandhiji which lasted for more than half a century. His mercurial nature didn’t allow him to be stagnating in a permanent job. He worked as a railway guard, and his quest for education took him to Anglo-Vedic College at Lahore. His zeal to learn different languages led him to learn Urdu and Japanese.
Career as Researcher in Geology
During the period 1906 to 1911, Pingali did rigorous research regarding a variety of crops and his contribution to study about Cambodia cotton earned him a name as ‘Cotton Venkayya.’ His immense knowledge in Diamond mining also made British to call him as ‘Diamond Venkayya.’ He even went on to pursue higher studies in Geology and procured a Doctorate in it. Pingali Venkayya was a versatile person with polyglot characteristics and was an educationist too.
Plunge to Freedom Movement
It was during British-Boer war in South Africa; Mahatma Gandhi met Pingali. From then on Pingali was inspired by Gandhi’s philosophy. His patriotic zeal made him join freedom movement. His constant association with Freedom fighters made him a permanent member of Indian national congress.
The Research behind Design of Indian National Flag
At Indian National Congress conference held in Kakinada on March 31, 1921, Pingali Venkayya floated the idea of National Flag. Pingali Venkayya’s role in designing the National flag was nonetheless smaller than a scholarly research work. He did an extensive research from 1916 to 1921 and studied flags of nearly 30 countries before arriving at his initial design. Initially, he presented a version with two colors Saffron and Green. Mahatma Gandhiji approved it with one more color white at the center. Lala Hansraj suggested the addition of Dharma Chakra or Ashoka Chakra to the center of the flag. The present flag was approved and adopted by the Constituent Assembly held on July 22, 1947, a few days before India got her Independence.
Destitute Life in Independent India
The fact that Pingali Venkayya led an impoverished life in a small hut in his home state of Andhra Pradesh in Independent India is a shocker to every citizen of this Nation. Even his party men in Congress failed to recognize his contribution to the nation. Mr. Pingali was a renowned educationalist, and he even started a school in his home town of Machilipatnam. He took his last breath in the year 1963. Ironically his home town did not possess even a single memorial in his name. The only solace we can derive is to commemorate him a postal stamp was released in the year 2009 and in the year 2011 his name was recommended for posthumous Bharat Ratna award, whose status is unknown in the year 2017. But current Indian Govt. has taken a welcome step by unveiling a statute of great Pingali Venkayya at premises of All India Radio station in Vijayawada.
Kalam fan Club is proud of this National Hero who sacrificed his life for the nation and led a simple life in his home nation without craving for power and position to which many of his fellow-men craved for. We salute you sir for the wonderful National Flag you have bestowed on us.