Our national flag symbolizes pride and unity and represents the freedom struggle. It provides a source of belongingness to all and reflects India’s status as an independent republic. Pingali Venkayya designed the national flag, the man commonly known as Jhanda Venkayya.
Pingali Venkayya was one of the most passionate men in the history of the struggle for the independence of India. He was born on the 2nd of August 1876 in Bhatlapenumarru, Madras Presidency of British India. He completed his schooling at Madras High School and graduated from the University of Cambridge. He showed an interest in subjects like geology, agriculture, education, and language.
At a very early age, Pingali joined the British army. He then met Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to South Africa as a soldier of the Anglo-Boer war, serving in the British army. He was highly influenced by Gandhian ideas and fondly believed in his principles. Pingali and Gandhi shared a strong bond that lasted for more than fifty years of their lives.
He took the initiative of designing the flag after witnessing the hoisting of the British flag in the congress meeting during the idea of freedom struggle. In 1906, a meeting of Congress in Calcutta urged him to dedicate his time to designing a national flag.
Pingali Venkayya was a flag enthusiast who released a handbook titled ‘A National Flag for India’ in 1916, presenting twenty-four flag designs. In a meeting with Gandhi later in Vijayawada, he showed his booklet and shared his idea of the national flag. Gandhi was pleased and praised his idea and requested him to design a flag for the National Congress meeting, which was to be held in 1921. Initially, Pingali’s flag was made of two strips of red and green representing Hindu and Muslim unity, known as the Swaraj flag. Considering Gandhi’s suggestion, he added white to the swaraj flag, representing all social classes of the nation.
Later, Gandhi and Congress suggested a tricolor flag consisting of saffron, white, and green, color to represent the independence movement. The constitution assembly further decided to add Chakra to the flag. Jawaharlal Nehru, in the constitution assembly on the 22nd of July 1947, proposed the national flag of India.
The Constituent Assembly unanimously approved the resolution by Jawaharlal Nehru. Hence the flag by Pingali served as the national flag of India from the 15th of August 1947 to the 26th of January 1950, and then it was given the status of the flag of the Republic of India.
Pingali Venkayya’s contribution to the freedom struggle and the path of independence of the country is remarkable. He created the flag of the nation with a sense of national unity.