Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday appealed to the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, on Pingali Venkaiah, a prominent freedom fighter from the state who designed the Indian national tricolour.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the YSRCP president said conferring the award on Venkaiah posthumously would be a matter of prestige for every Indian on the occasion of the country’s 75th Independence Day next year.
Jagan visited the freedom fighter’s residence at Macherla in Guntur district and felicitated his daughter Ghantasala Seetha Mahalakshmi and other family members. He also garlanded a portrait of Venkaiah and announced a financial assistance of ₹75 lakh for Mahalakshmi. A government order has already been issued in this regard.
While appreciating Modi’s decision to hold ‘Azadi ki Amrut Mahotsav’ programme, Jagan recalled that during the first meeting of the national committee on March 8, ‘Har Ghar Jhanda’ (flag in every household) was selected as one of the key themes for the celebration.
“A call will be given to every citizen to hoist the national flag in their house on August 15 next year as part of the festivities. In this context, I would like to draw your attention towards the immense contribution made by Pingali Venkaiah in designing the Indian national flag,” the letter read.
The freedom fighter, also known as Jhanda Venkaiah, was born on August 2, 1876 in Bhatlapenumarru village near Machalipatnam and was deeply influenced by Gandhian thoughts and ideology, Reddy said. “He worked on various designs of the national flag and on March 31, 1921, in Vijayawada, he gifted them to Mahatma Gandhi who mentioned Venkaiah’s efforts in his journal Young India,” he added.
The chief minister said Venkaiah’s design of the tricolor was adopted as the national flag of India by the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947.
“Thus, Venkaiah was credited as the architect or designer of the Indian national flag. The flag designed by him came to be synonymous with the spirit of free and independent India. However, his life and works largely remain unrecognized. He breathed his last on July 4, 1963,” he said.