March 12, 2021
PingaliVenkayya was a freedom fighter and the designer of the Indian National Tricolour who went on to become synonymous with the spirit of free and independent India. The national flag that we see today was based upon his design. His life and contribution to the freedom struggle have barely been documented.
Born on August 2, 1876 in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Venkayya served as a soldier in the British Army in South Africa during the Anglo Boer war in Africa. A firm believer in Gandhian principles and an ardent nationalist, Venkayya met the Mahatma during the war. He was 19 when the meeting took place and formed an association which would last for more than 50 years.
He met the Mahatma once again in Vijayawada and showed him his publication with the various designs of the flag. Acknowledging the need for a national flag, Gandhi then asked Venkayya to design a fresh one at the national congress meeting in 1921.
Initially, Venkayya came up with saffron and green colours, but it later evolved with a spinning wheel at the centre and a third colour-white. The flag was officially adopted by the Indian National Congress in 1931.
In 2009, a stamp was also issued to commemorate him, and the Andhra Pradesh government recommended his name for the Bharat Ratna in 2014.
In 2015, the then Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu renamed the AIR Vijaywada after Venkayya and unveiled his statue on its premises.