Pingali Venkayya

Pingali Venkayya

News: As Independence Day draws closer, the PM has changed his social media profile picture to the Indian flag. The Indian tricolour represents the nationalist fervour of over a billion Indians. Pingali Venkayya — the man who designed the Indian national flag — was a freedom fighter, educationist, author and a true patriot.

• Born in a small village near Machilipatnam, Venkayya studied in a Hindu high school in Madras. He would go on to pursue his further education at the University of Cambridge in England.
• He developed a taste for geology and agriculture but was keenly interested in being an educationist, linguist and writer. In fact, Venkayya was fluent in many languages, including Sanskrit, Urdu and Japanese. His fluency in Japanese earned him the name of “Japan Venkayya.”
• At the age of 19, Venkayya joined the army during the Boer war. It was during this stint in the British Army that Venkayya met Mahatma Gandhi in Africa. Their association would last over 50 years.

Evolution of Indian Flag’s design:
• He wrote a book titled “National Flag for India,” which was published in 1916. The book showcased thirty designs of what could make the Indian flag. Throughout all Congress sessions between 1918 and 1921, he relentlessly put forth the idea of having a flag of our own since that would resonate with the people and develop our own identity.
• In 1921, Venkayya presented the first draft design of the flag to Mahatma Gandhi at the AICC session held at Bezwada.
• The first draft designed by Venkayya had two predominant colours: green and red. On top of them was a spinning wheel of the Gandhi Chakra in blue. Before being accepted as the Congress party's flag, the colour red was replaced with saffron and the colour white was also added. The design of the Chakra was also changed, and it now sat on the white strip between the saffron and green bands. Later, the Gandhi Chakra was replaced by the Ashoka Chakra when the design for the tricolour was finalised.

On July 4, 1963, Venkayya breathed his last. Even as he was drawing his last breaths, his patriotism was very much alive. His last wish was that his body be covered with the Indian flag.

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