A national flag is the symbol of national pride for every citizen. Today (August 2) is the birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya, who was a fervent freedom fighter, linguist, geologist, writer and a Gandhian idealist.
He first designed the Indian Tricolour. In 1916, he had published a booklet titled “A National Flag for India” offering 30-odd designs. He first presented a design to Mahatma Gandhi on 1st April, 1921 during Gandhi’s visit to Vijaywada.
He was a fervent freedom fighter linguist, writer and a Gandhian idealist.
The design consisted of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities in India, red for Hindus and green for Muslims. Lala Hansraj suggested adding a “charkha” (spinning wheel), while Mahatma Gandhi requested a white stripe.
There were so many modifications made thereafter by various designers. The final design of the tricolour is composed of three stripes, a deep saffron at the top represents courage and sacrifice, the middle white stripe stands for peace and truth, and the green at the bottom represents faith and chivalry. This flag with a 24-spoked blue chakra (wheel) in the centre and with a width-to-length ratio of 2 to 3 was officially adopted on 6th August, 1931 by Indian National Congress.
Later on spinning wheel was replaced with Ashok Chakra in the flag as proposed by Surayya Badr-ud-Din-Tyabji. It was passed by the Constituent Assembly on July 24, 1947.
But Pingali Venkayya, born on August 2, 1876 near Machilipatnam had various interests apart from designing the flag. He had set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam. He joined the British Indian army as a soldier to take part in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in Africa, where he met Mahatma Gandhi. It was here that Pingali was struck by the sense of nationhood the Union Jack inspired among British soldiers.
He went to Cambridge to pursue higher education and grew up to become a true polymath with interests in geology, agriculture, education, and in languages.
He was called “Patti (cotton) Venkayya“, as he had given his research on staple varieties of cotton, especially Cambodia Cotton variety. He was also nicknamed “Diamond Venkayya“, as he was a Geologist and was an expert in diamond mining. He was so fluent in Japanese language that he was also known as “Japan Venkayya“.
He however died in penury and oblivion on July 4, 1963. But his greatest reward was the fruition of the seed of an idea that was planted in his formative mind during the Second Boer War. PM will release today a special commemorative stamp in his honour.
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.
As a part of this celebration, the Central Government has organised a “Har Ghar Tiranga campaign“ to be held from August 13-15, and has urged citizens of the country to use ‘Tiranga (Tricolour)’ as their profile picture in the social media accounts between August 2 and 15 and also to “hoist the National Flag at our homes”.
Let’s enlighten others with our light and bring a new morning.