[email protected]: Man who designed National flag died in penury, was forgotten

New Delhi: National flag was hoisted first on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta. The flag was composed of horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. The red strip at the top had eight white lotuses embossed on it in a row. The green strip had a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right.

 But before this flag there was a different national flag which was designed back in 1921. And the man who designed it was forgotton and died in penury. It is said that the first version of the current national flag was made by Pingali Venkayya at Bezwada in 1921. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolize progress of the Nation.

Pingali Venkayya was an Indian freedom fighter and the designer of the flag on which the Indian national flag was based. He was born at Bhatlapenumarru, near Masulipatnam, in what is now the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Various so-called national flags had been used by members of the Indian independence movement prior to independence being achieved in 1947. Venkayya's version was first designed for the Indian National Congress and subsequently modified in 1947.

According to The Hindu, "Pingali Venkayya was an authority in geology, agriculture and also an educationist who set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam. He, however, died in poverty in 1963 and was largely forgotten by the society and by his own party, the Congress." A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009 and in 2011 it was proposed that he be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna. The outcome of that proposal is still not known.