Pingali Venkayya (or Pingali Venkaiah) 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 (now called 'Machilipatnam'), in what is now the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. After finishing his primary education at Challapalli and middle school at the Hindu High School, Machilipatnam, he went to Colombo, Sri Lanka to complete his Senior Cambridge. Enthused by patriotic zeal, he enlisted himself for the Boer war. While serving in Africa he met Gandhi, and their friendship lasted for more than half a century. For a short time, he worked as a Guard with the Indian Railways and went to Lahore where he joined the Anglo-Vedic College and learned Japanese, Urdu, and History. From 1906 to 1911, Venkayya spent most of his time researching staple varieties of crops and came up with a study on a special variety called Cambodia Cotton and locals nicknamed him Patti Venkayya (literally ‘Cotton Venkayya’). He was immensely knowledgeable in geology and obtained a doctorate in it. He was also an authority on diamond mining and came to be known as ‘Diamond Venkayya’.
He spent years researching flags of many countries. In 1921, he presented a flag design to Mahatma Gandhi that consisted of two horizontal bands of red and green. Lala Hans Raj Sondhi suggested placing the traditional spinning wheel at the middle and Mahatma Gandhi suggested adding a white stripe in the center. The resulting flag was called Swaraj flag and it was designed by Pingali Venkayya with suggestions from Mahatma Gandhi and Lala Hans Raj Sondhi. It became the official flag of Indian National Congress Party at its 1931 meeting. When India was about to get its independence, the flag was modified and was adopted as the National Flag of India. Though very talented, he was ignored by the society, his party (Indian National Congress) and the Indian government. Venkayya died in his hut in extreme poverty in 1963. A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009.
|Born||2 August 1876 at Bhatlapenumarru, Krishna Dist, AP, India|
|Parents||Hanumantharayudu (father) and Venkataratnamma (mother)|
|Died||4 July 1963 at Vijayawada, AP, India|
|Known for||Designing the 'Swaraj flag' on which the Indian national flag was based|