PingaliVenkayya was a freedom fighter and the designer of the basic of our National Flag. Several flags were considered as the national flag which were used by the freedom fightersduring the independence movement. Venkayya was designed the flag for the first time to approve it from Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Later it was modified and made the current Indian National Flag after 1947. According to The Hindu newspaper, Venkayya was an expert of agriculture, geology. He was an educationist and established an institution in Masulipatnam. Unfortunately he died in poverty in 1963. He was disremembered by the society and his own Congress party. Government of India published a postal stamp to honour him in 2009 and 2011. In 2012, his state Andhra Pradesh recommended his name for the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to the Central Government. But unfortunately it was not approved till now.
He was born in Bhatlapenumarru near Masulipatnam in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. His full name was PingaliVenkayyaGaru. He was also known as Patti Venkayya or Diamond Venkayya. He was the eldest in six brothers and two sisters. He got his primary education from Challapalli and studied in Hindu High School of Masulipatnam. Then he went to Colombo for finishing Senior Cambridge. He was very enthusiastic about the education and this zeal took him to the Lahore to pursue the Anglo- Vedic College. There he learned about the History, Urdu and Japanese. He joined the British Army at the age of 19 with the patriotic passion. He was participated in Anglo-Boer war in Africa. There he met with Gandhi and that relationship continued for more than fifty years. His patriotism never allowed him to stay at the same job. He worked as a railway guard, Army man, researcher, geologist, mining, teacher, trainer and party worker. He was extremely talented and educated person.
Venkayya married to Rukminamma and they have two sons and one daughter. His eldest son PingaliParasuramaiah a geologist, worked as a correspondence in Indian Express. His other son ChalapathiRao worked in the indian Army. Venkayya’s only daughter Seethamahalaksmi is still alive. She has three sons and three daughters.
In the time of five years when he was in the north, he joined in politics. He met with many revolutionary leaders who made plans to remove the colonial rule. In 1906 DadabhaiNaoroji allowed him to appear as an activist and permitted him behind the decision making committee. There he met with the renowned philanthropist the king of Munagala.
Later Venkayya concentrated into the research works for the improvement of agriculture. He was always interested in doing something new. He was loved the research work and devoted himself for discovery. Venkayyaspent six years from 1906 to 1911 on the research work on diversities of crops and found out a special type of crop Cambodia Cotton. British rulers came to know about his research work and recognised him. They named him Cotton Venkayya. The British were very much impressed for his contribution in agricultural field and awarded him honorary membership of Royal Agricultural Society of Britain. He was vastly knowledgeable about Geology and received a doctorate. He was an expert of diamond mining in Andhra Pradesh. That is why he was named Diamond Venkayya.
Then he returned to Masulipatnam. He was concentrated on developing the National School at Masulipatnam, where he trained basic military training, horse riding and taught history and agriculture, soil, harvests and agriculture’s relation to nature. In 1914, he revolved his agricultural land into amanor and named it Swetchapuram.During 1916 to 1921, he spent another five years in researching on various flags of 30 nations. Finally he made the tricolour.
During the 1921 to 1931, it was like a daring episode for Vankayya and his state Andhra Pradeshfreedom movement. On 31 March and 1 April 1921 The AICC organized a two days meeting at Bezwada. Vankayya took the chance and proposed the concept of the flag to Gandhi. Venkayya’sconcept of the flag was the representation of the country’s two major communities Saffron and Green. But the flag was not officially received by the AllIndia Congress Committee. But Gandhi accepted his concept and the flag was raised in all the sessions of Congress. Mahatma Gandhi approved his design with few changes. LalaHansrajof Jallandarproposed a Dharam Chakra the wheel of law symbolising progress and the common man. Then Gandhi wished a white strip behind that wheel to represent the other minority communities. The consent was not reached till 1931. The concept of colour choices of the flag created controversy. Communal tension spreads for its interpretation. Then it was solved in the meeting of Karachi in 1931. A new concept of interpretation was passed. Like, saffron represents courage, white represents truth and peace. Green represents prosperity and faith. The Dharma Chakra of the Sarnath at the capital of King Asoka as the emblem on the national flag. After India’s independence, on 22 July 1947 the present flag was accepted in the meeting of the Constituent Assembly.
Venkayya was in various jobs throughout his life but he lived his life in poverty. He suffered in poverty till he died in a small hut at Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh in 1963. No one remembered him. Even he doesn’t have any memorial in his hometown. But he is the man, who brought that much of excellence to Andhra. Only few years back Government of India started pension to his daughter.
In 2012, the State government of Andhra Pradesh has suggested PingaliVenkayya’s name to the Central government for the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna. Unfortunately, the recommendation of the Andhra government was still waiting for recognition of the central government. More than six decades passed after the independence and the state government realised the importance of recognizing his contribution. He was the talented in different fields and he was the designer and the concept owner of our national flag. Till now Venkayyahas received only honour when the government issued a postal stamp in 2009 and in 2011.