The AICC held its two-day crucial session in Vijayawada on March 31 and April 1, 1921. Besides Mahatma Gandhi, several national leaders attended the event, which is often described as a turning point in the history of India’s freedom movement.
Venkayya had presented the draft design of the Congress flag, which after a few changes was adopted as the national flag just before Independence in 1947. The AICC session played a key role in mobilising funds for the freedom movement, apart from giving the Congress its party flag and later, Indians the national Tricolour.
100 years ago, national flag took shape
The centenary of the first ever draft design of the Indian National Flag is on March 31. It was on this day in 1921 that a young freedom fi ghter Pingali Venkayya presented the draft design of the flag to Mahatma Gandhi at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session held at Bezwada (Vijayawada).
The role played by Bezwada in the Independence struggle was unparalleled, and in recognition of the city’s contribution, it was selected for installation of Gandhi stupa. Vijayawada was one of the five places selected for erection of Gandhi stupas.
The draft design by Venkayya had two colours – green and red – with a spinning wheel or Gandhi Chakra. It was adopted as the Congress flag by replacing red with saffron and including white colour. The design of the Chakra was also changed. Later, Gandhi Chakra was replaced by Ashoka Chakra in the national flag when the design for the Tricolour was finalised.
There were two events in Bezwada on March 31 and April 1, 1921. The AICC session was not a regular one. It was a special session. Also, there was the Congress Working Committee (CWC) session. Venkayya met Gandhiji and presented the design on March 31. Gandhiji had called him to meet the next day. But the CWC session was hectic and a decision the flag design was not finalised. Gandhiji took the design with him and in fact, acknowledged it in one of his editorials in Young India (April 13, 1921).
While the centenary calls for a big celebration, ironically it has not received the attention it deserves. There are no celebrations or big events planned for today. The only event that took place in the city was the release of a catalogue on the AICC session, published by the AP Photography Akademi, on Tuesday.