'Hyderabadi Muslim woman, not Pingali, designed Tricolour'

Published: 02nd July 2013 10:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2013 10:43 AM   |  A+A-

Our national flag was designed by a Hyderabadi Muslim woman by the name of Suraiya Tayyabji and not by Pingali Venkaiah as is widely believed, according to Voice of Telangana president Capt. L Panduranga Reddy.

At a press conference here on Monday, Panduranga Reddy said the popular belief wes that in 1921 the All India Congress Committee meeting was held at Bezawada (Vijayawada) wherein Pingali Venkaiah, a Congress volunteer designed a tri-coloured flag and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi was reportedly impressed by the design and passed it on to the working committee. In deference to the wishes of Gandhi, the Congress adopted the flag and subsequently it went on to become the national flag. But the truth is that the national flag was designed by a Hyderabadi Muslim woman, Suraiya Tayyabji.

In order to substantiate his claims Capt. Panduranga Reddy said that the AICC authorised historian Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramaiah on the issue of national flag, who has written that the issue of national flag was for the first time discussed in the annual conference of  the Indian National Congress held at Calcutta in 1923.

However, the Home Rule League movement which was started by  Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Beasant in 1916, had already designed a flag and propogated it as the national flag.

After the merger of Home Rule League in Congress, a sub-committee was appointed to finalise the national flag, but the committee never met and the Congress included a charkha in the Home Rule League flag and adopted it as the national flag.

It was in 1931, that the original red colour in the Home Rule League flag was replaced with the ochre colour and that the charkha was replaced by Ashoka’s Dharma Chakra.

However, Seetaramaiah did not make any mention of Pingali Venkaiah’s name, not even once in his book.

Moreover, the resolutions adopted during 1921 All India Congress Committee meeting held at Bezawada makes no mention of the meet adopting a resolution on the acceptance of the national flag design prepared by Pingali Venkaiah, he claimed.

Even in the book published on the freedom struggle by noted historian Tarachand “Freedom Struggle of India” published in 1957, there was no mention of Pingali Venkaiah having designed the national flag.

“Moreover, the book published on the occasion of centenary year of Congress party in 1985 has  no mention of Pingali Venkaiah designing the national flag”, he said. It was Prof. Sarojini Regani of Osmania University, who in her hagiography, “Highlights of the Freedom Movement in Andhra Pradesh” published by the state government in 1972 had written about Pingali Venkaiah designing the national flag. However, she does not cite any primary source to substantiate her assertion.

The sample prepared by Suraiya Tayyabji was approved on July 17, 1947, he claimed and added that English historian Trevor Royle in his book “The Last Days of the Raj” has written that the national flag was actually designed by Badruddin Tayabji’s wife Suraiya Tayabji.

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