National Flag and National Anthem

Prabhakar Vissavajjhala (vissa@cortex.neuro.mssm.edu)
Fri, 15 Aug 1997 11:10:27 -0500


Hearty greetings  to every Indian on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the
Indian Independence.

I always wondered about our National Anthem and National Flag for different
reasons. The National Anthem ('jana  gaNa  mana  adhinAyaka  jayahE!" )got
a very wide publicity and brought popularity for the author, Rabindranath
Tagore also, which turned out to be a controversial issue later on. As
people figured it out, 'janagaNamana...' was written as a welcome song
addressing the British queen (Victoria; and probably the king also) on
their visit to India. Some people even point out that the phrase  'bhArata
bhAgya  vidhAta' mentioned in the song was either the 'British Queen or
king'. May be the controversy took its toll later on, and playing the
National Anthem was not as frequent as it used to be later on or sometimes
it used to be a shortened form it being played.  However, the popularity it
brought for the author was unquestionable.  Someone might say Tagore is
otherwisely also famous for his poetry and Nobel Prize. But one can't deny
that he is known through the National Anthem also quite well at least for
Indians.

On the contrary, the sad part about our National Flag, where there is no
such a controversy as above;  never got the pubilicity not even the
familiarity about the designer of it. That sadly but mostly ignored and
less publicised National personality is none other than a 'telugu-Indian'
Sree pingaLi  venkaiyya'. As I heard, it was first designed by him and
'mahAtmA  gAndhi' gleefully approved it. Initially, it used to be the Flag
for Indian National Congress, which took a major part in the freedom
struggle, with a 'carkha (rATnamu)' at the center of the flag. Later it was
substituted with 'aSOka dharma  cakra' with 24 radii indicating the 24
hpurs of the day. It is truly sad and strange that 'Sree pingaLi venkayya'
is not as popularly known as the author of the controversial National
Anthem. It is very strange for me that I never found people paying any
tributes to this important person.

Could some kind soul present a brief gist or an account on 'Sree pingaLi
venkayya' on this Golden Jubilee occasion of Indian Independence?

Thanking you,

With regards,
Prabhakar Vissavajjhala