Will Pingali Venkayya, freedom fighter and designer of the National Tri-Colour, that became synonymous with the spirit of free and independent India, get the honour he richly deserves when the Centre announces its civilian awards on Republic Day?
The State government has recommended late Pingali Venkayya’s name to the Centre for conferring the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna. More than six decades after the country attained independence, the State seems to realise the need to acknowledge the contribution of the multi-faceted man from Krishna district who conceived and designed the National flag. The only tribute paid to Venkayya was when the government brought out a postal stamp in his honour in 2009.
It was Venkayya’s suggestion at the National Conference of Indian National Congress held in Kakinada on March 31, 1921 that India should have a flag of its own that impressed Mahatma Gandhi.
When the Mahatma asked Venkayya to design the flag, he initially came up with saffron and green colours, but it later evolved with a spinning wheel at the centre and a third colour – white.
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.
Pingali Venkayya’s name tops the list of 50 names of persons, drawn from various fields for their significant contributions, to be considered for the ‘Padma’ awards to be announced on Republic Day. Prominent persons whose names were recommended for Padma Vibhushan are Prof. Shiv K. Kumar, an octogenarian and a prolific writer, poet C. Narayana Reddy. Eminent artist, director Lakshmi Narayana Sattiraju, popular as ‘Bapu’ for Padma Bhushan and playback singer S. Janaki for Padmasri. Surprisingly, the latter two never won even a Padma award despite winning all-round acclaim for their inimitable talent.