Pingali Vekayya was a freedom fighter from India who was born on 2 August 1876 at Bhatlapenumarru near Machillipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Here are a few facts about the great Indian who was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi:
1. Joined British Army At 19
Venkayya joined the British Army when he was 19 years of age. During his stint as a soldier, he participated in the Anglo-Boer war in Africa. Here he met Mahatma Gandhi and formed an association that lasted for more than 50 years.
2. Designed National Flag
He designed National Flag which was accepted by Gandhiji and other members in the Congress Committee meeting that was held on March 31 and April 1 in 1921 in Vijayawada.
3. Acclaimed Geologist & Linguist
Apart from being a great patriot, Venkayya was also a writer, a geologist and a linguist who spoke multiple languages and worked as a lecturer in the college of Machillipatnam.
4. A Farmer And Researcher
After returning from Africa, Venkayya’s time was spent mostly in researching, farming and cultivating cotton. He studied Sanskrit, Urdu, and Japanese in Lahore’s Anglo Vedic School.
5. Admirers Called Him Japan Venkayya
In 1913, Pingali Venkayya gave a full-length speech in Japanese due to which he was given the title Japan Venkayya. He was also popularly called Jhanda Venkayya and Patti (cotton) Venkayya.
6. Published Books Offering 30 Designs For Indian Flag
In 1916, Venkayya published a book that carried 30 designs for Indian flag. All through the Congress sessions between 1918 and 1921, he consistently floated the idea that India should have a flag of its own.
Gandhiji wrote in Young India, “Pingali Venkaiah who is working in Andhra National College Machilipatnam, has published a book, describing the flags of the countries and has designed many models for our own National Flag. I appreciate his hard struggle during the sessions of the Indian National Congress for the approval of Indian National Flag.”
7. Last Desire Remained Unfulfilled
His last desire was to see the Tiranga flutter on the top of the Red Fort. However, this desire remained unfulfilled as his family could not afford to take him to Delhi.
8. Honored With Postage Stamp
Decades after the death of Pingali Venkayya in 1963, the Indian postal service honored him with a postage stamp in 2009 for his contribution as a freedom fighter.
9. Died In Poverty, Forgotten By Society & Congress
Venkayya who was an active member of the Congress was forgotten by the society as well as his party and died in extreme poverty.
10. Suggested For Bharat Ratna
The government of Andhra Pradesh recommended Venkayya’s name for Bharat Ratna in 2012. However, it was instead awarded to scientist C.N.R Rao and Sachin Tendulkar.