Indian National Flag Designer-Pingali Venkayya
Our Prime Minister and President hoist the National Flag every year on Independence Day, the 15th of August and on Republic day the January 26th every year respectively. People wave our National Flag enthusiastically on these days and also when our sportspersons win any major international tournament such as Cricket World Cup or Olympics medal. How many of us know Pingali Venkayya as the person who designed our National Flag and that he was a prolific writer and a great patriot.
Pingali Venkayya was born on 2nd August 1876 in Bhatlapenumuru near Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. His parents are Hanumantharayadu and Venkataratnamma. He went to Colombo in Ceylon for studying Senior Cambridge after passing high school. He worked as Railway Guard and later in a Government Office as clerk in Bellary. He was not content with the job. He decided to study further. He joined Anglo- Vedic College in Lahore and learnt Urdu and Japanese.
Venkayya was an accomplished person in many fields. He had an immense knowledge in geology. He obtained Ph.d in geology in his later years. He was an authority in Agriculture. He utilized his knowledge 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. British rulers were even impressed with his knowledge in this field. He was bestowed honorary membership of Royal Agriculture Society of Britain. He was also an expert in Diamond mining. He was popularly known in the Diamond field as ‘Diamond Venkayya.’
He served in the British Army during Anglo- Boer wars in South Africa. He came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi there. He was very much influenced by Mahatma’s ideology. He went back to his roots and focussed his energy in developing a National School at Machilipatnam. He taught his students basics in military training, horse riding and history. He also taught basics in Agriculture. He taught the students about soil, crops and their relationship with nature. In 1914 he turned liberal and named his Agricultural land as estate and called it Swetchhapuram in order to reflect a deep commitment to his liberal values.
Venkayya suggested that India should have a flag of its own during the meeting of National conference of Indian National Congress held at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh on 31st March 1921 and 1st April 1921. Mahatma Gandhi was very much impressed with his suggestion. Mahatma asked Sri Venkayya to come up with the design of National Flag. Pingali Venkayya designed the flag in two colours. They were saffron and green representing two major religions in India. Gandhiji liked it. Mahatma insisted on adding a white strip to the flag representing the other minorities. Hansraj Jalandhar suggested Charkha ( A wheel with a spindle and thread for weaving cloth) in the middle to signify progress and common man. The flag was not officially accepted. This flag was hoisted by National Congress during all Congress sessions since it was liked by Mahatma.
The flag was finally accepted as National Flag after passing a resolution during National Congress conference in Karachi in 1931. Dharma Chakra the emblem of Emperor Ashoka replaced Charkha at the centre of the flag. The saffron colour represents courage, white colour represents truth and peace and green colour represents faith and Prosperity.
Dr.Sarvepally Radhakrishnan remarked that the National Flag ought to control the principle of all those who worked under it.
Sri Pingali Venkayya had to leave for heavenly abode on 4th July 1963. He spent rest of his life in poverty till his death and remained incognito. His daughter was awarded pension only few years back by the Government. It seems no memorial is built even in his Machilipatnam town. Even his house was demolished perhaps as a tribute to him.
Dr.Sarvepally Radhakrishnan interpreted the three colours of the National Flag beautifully. According to him Saffron denoted renunciation or Political Leaders disinterest in materialistic gains in life. White denotes enlightment or lighting the path to guide our conduct. Green symbolized our relation with the soil. It means that our relation with the plant life on which all other life depends. Ashok Wheel represents Dharma, Law of Land.
I leave to the wisdom of readers whether Dr.Sarvepally Radhakrishnan’s interpretation is relevant even today after all these endless mess ever since we got our Independence and also for the fact that the way these Political Leaders ignored a Truly Remarkable Patriot.
Flag code: After 64 years, the citizens of India are free to fly the Indian National Flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day. On 26th January 2002, the flag code was changed, giving Indians the freedom to proudly display the national flag anywhere and anytime. However, there are still some rules and regulations upon how to fly the flag, based on the 26th January 2002 legislation, which should be followed by the all Indian citizens. These rules and regulation includes certain dos and don’ts, which have been explained below.
- The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
- A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with the dignity and honor of the National Flag.
- Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.
- The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
- The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
- No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems, can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolor cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.
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