Salute to freedom fighter Pingali Venkayya (Venkaiah): Birthday Day Tribute

 To get rid of British rule many Indians fought or came forward to protest, as the British with the attitude of colonial feelings tortured /insulated Indians for trivial issues.   Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab, Patharighat, previously known as Patharughat, in Assam, etc., are two cases I am mentioning here out of many cases depicting the barbaric behaviour of the British rule.  In our history books from primary to secondary standards always a few names have been highlighted as if for them we have got independence. We all know huge sacrifices made by Shahid Bhagat Singh,  Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Khudiram Bose, Surya Sen (Masterda), Kushal Konwar, Birsa Munda,  and many others but their names are not highlighted as desired by Indian citizens. Anyway, one great name in the freedom movement who designed the Indian flag which many Indians in present generations may not know I am presenting as today his birthday. He is Pingali Venkayya (but on the postal stamp Venkaiah has been printed) who was born on 2 August 1876   and passed away on 4 July 1963. He was born at Bhatlapenumarru, near Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.  I visited Machilipatnam and really like the pristine beauty of the place. Anyway, it was formerly known as “Masulipatnam or Masulipatam, city, eastern Andhra Pradesh, southern India. Masulipatam was the first British trading settlement (1611) on the Bay of Bengal. From 1686 to 1759 the city was held by the French and Dutch until it was finally ceded to the British, who captured the city and fort from the French in 1759. The ruined fort is still a point of interest” ( 

Venkayya met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) when he was posted there as part of the British Indian Army. There he observed the soldiers had to salute the Union Jack (the British National flag). After returning to India, he decided to create a national flag for the country (source: Steena Joy 13 August 2021  Further, according to August 2018, he was also a linguist and a writer. In 1913, he delivered a full-length speech in Japanese. Such credentials gave him interesting titles like 'Japan Venkayya', 'Patti (cotton) Venkayya' and 'Jhanda Venkayya'.

He also published a booklet in 1916 offering thirty designs of what could make the Indian flag. Throughout all Congress sessions between 1918 and 1921, he persistently supported having a flag of our own. Venkayya's design for the National Flag was finally approved by Mahatma Gandhi in a Congress session held in Vijayawada in 1921.

It is heartening to mention that “Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy urged the Centre (in 2021) to confer the Bharat Ratna to Pingali Venkaiah who designed the National Flag, posthumously.  He also felicitated Ghantasala Sitamahalakshmi, daughter of late Venkaiah, while the inauguration of the 75-week-long "Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav" in the State. The Chief Minister presented ₹ 75 lakh to Sitamahalakshmi and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the Centre confer the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna on Venkaiah posthumously” ( Updated: March 13, 2021). 

A postage stamp in his honour was released in 2009. Also, the Vijayawada station of All India Radio has been named after him in 2014. I am reiterating in the postal stamp Pingali Venkaiah has been printed. 

My salute to  Pingali Venkayya  (Venkaiah)  on his birthday 2 August 2022 as every year we unfurl our National Flag on 15 August and 26 January on the occasion of Independence Day and Republic Day respectively.

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  1. Thank you very much. I have read your article and came to know about this great person. I knew that several model of the flag was rejected earlier. But couldn't memorize whose model was accepted. It is a valuable article indeed.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Dr Reza ul Karim, Guwahati

  2. Dear Prof Shankar Chatterjee,
    Glad there is an awareness of Sri Pingali Venkaiah's contribution around the time of Aazdi ka Amruth.
    Warm regards,
    Yours sincerely,
    C R Visweswara Rao
    Prof.C.R.Visweswara Rao
    Former Vice-Chancellor, VSU
    Flat No.303, S.S.Heights
    Nagarjuna Nagar, Near Sunday Market
    Tarnaka, Secunderabad-500017

  3. Dear Professor Chatterjee,
    It's a good and timely article.
    Appreciations for your timely decisions and for writing an appropriate article.
    With regards,
    Professor & Head (Retd.)
    (Formerly: UGC Emeritus Fellow;
    ICSSR Senior Fellow)
    Dept of Library & Information Science
    Osmania University
    Hyderabad - 500007