Remembering an educationist and a freedom fighter on his birth anniversary. A name that just disappeared in the Indian history but gave us something that we will cherish generation after generation.
Pingali Venkayya was the designer of the flag on which the Indian National Flag is based.
This was during the time when people made various so-called National Flag designs and different parties used those flags for the Indian Independence movement way before the time when we achieved Independence in 1947.
The design made by Pingali Venkayya was first used by Indian National Congress and subsequently modified in 1947 and became our National Flag.
As far as I remember, I haven’t read anything about Pingali in my school textbooks. But according to The Hindu
, “Pingali Venkayya was an authority in geology, agriculture and also an educationist who set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam. He, however, died in poverty in 1963 and was largely forgotten by the society and by his own party, the Congress.”
He joined the British Army with patriotic zeal at the age of 19 and took part in the Anglo-Boer War in Africa. It was here that he met Gandhi and the rapport lasted for more than 50 years.
A polyglot who was proficient in various languages including English and Urdu, he was also popularly nicknamed ‘Diamond Venkayya’, as he was an expert in diamond mining. Some even called him ‘Patti Venkayya’ (Cotton Venkayya), because he dedicated most of his time researching staple varieties of cotton and did a detailed study on a variety called Cambodia Cotton.
To pay a tribute to such a great man, a postage stamp was issued in his honor in 2009. Though Pingali left us in 1963, in 2011 an idea was proposed to honor this man with the Bharat Ratna but no outcome of the proposal has been received yet.
In 2015, a statue of Venkayya was unveiled on the fore-lawns of the AIR (All India Radio) building, Vijayawada, by the Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.