Pingali Venkiah, The man who Designed the Indian Flag. Let’s Recall and Respect the Forgotten Hero.
1. He was born in Andhra Pradesh.
Pingali Venkayya Gaaru was born on 2nd of August 1876 in Bhatlapenumuru near Machilipatnam of Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh.
2. He has 2 PhDs.
He went to Colombo in Ceylon for studying Senior Cambridge after passing his high school. He worked as Railway Guard and later in a Government Office as clerk in Bellary for some time and left the job as he was not content with it and decided to study further. He joined Anglo- Vedic College in Lahore and learnt Urdu and Japanese, after that he even obtained a few Ph.D’s in later years.
3. He was honored with membership of Royal Agriculture Society of Great Britain.
He had an immense knowledge in geology. He obtained his Ph.d in geology in his later years. He was an authority in Agriculture. Even British rulers were impressed with his knowledge in the field. He was bestowed honorary membership of Royal Agriculture Society of Britain. He was also an expert in Diamond mining. He was popularly known as ‘Diamond Venkayya’.
4. He served in the British Army during Anglo- Boer wars in South Africa.
This was the time where he came in contact with a young man named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who turned out to be the father of the nation in the later years. .
5. He Created the Syllabus for the school found by him.
He developed a aversion towards the war during his time in Anglo- Boer wars. He quit and went back to his roots and focussed his energy in developing a National School at Machilipatnam. He designed the syllabus & curriculum himself. The students were taught basics in military training, horse riding and history. Agriculture was another subject. He taught the students about soil, crops and their relationship with nature.
6. He created a new Variety of cotton and patented it.
He utilized his knowledge in agriculture and spent most of his fortune in experimenting with new crops in Andhra Pradesh. He even came up with a special type of cotton called Cambodia cotton which he got the patent for.
7. He was the one who came up with the idea of India having its own flag.
During the meeting of National conference of Indian National Congress held at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh on 31st March 1921 and 1st April 1921 Venkayya suggested that India should have a flag of its own . Mahatma Gandhi was very much impressed with his suggestion. Mahatma asked Pingali Venkayya to come up with the design of National Flag.
8. The first Indian flag had only two colours in it.
He first designed the flag in two colours. They were saffron and green representing two major religions in India Hinduism & Musalmani. Gandhiji liked it and insisted on adding a white strip to the flag representing the other minorities.
9. The Indian flag was first not accepted by the Congress.
The flag was not officially accepted by the congress politicians and was only hoisted within the National Congress meetings and for the only reason that it was liked by Gandhi ji.
10. Our National Flag was Inaugurated in Karachi, Pakistan ( Part of India back then).
During the National Congress conference in Karachi in 1931 Venkayya came up with a modified flag putting a Dharma Chakra (the emblem of Emperor Ashoka) in place of the Charkha at the centre of the flag and said that The saffron colour represents courage, white colour represents truth and peace and green colour represents faith and Prosperity.
The flag was finally accepted as National Flag after passing a resolution.
11. He was mistreated by The Congress Government in his later life and died in poverty.
Venkayya died in poverty in 1963 and was largely forgotten by the society and by the Congress Party. He spent rest of his life in poverty. His family was not awarded pension by the Government for many years after his death. Not even a memorial was built in his own town Machilipatnam and Even his house was demolished by the Government after his death.
12. The Government after decades issued a stamp on his name as a tribute back in 2009 with the pressure from NGOs.
Time to Salute the National Flag and our National Heroes because of whom we are now a Proud Nation called India.
Image credits: Sri Pingali Venkayya Charitable Trust