national flag: Bhatlapenumarru: A small Andhra village remembers its son who designed the national flag
A two-storey building built a few years ago with money pooled by villagers and some philanthropists, which is mainly used as a community hall, is the only “memorial” that bears the name of Pingali Venkaiah, the architect of the Indian National Flag.
A life-size statue of Venkaiah, along with that of Mahatma Gandhi, welcome visitors to the center of the village.
Venkaiah was a close disciple of the Mahatma and it was the latter who endorsed the national flag designed by him, during the Indian National Congress session at Vijayawada in 1921.
Venkaiah’s family and other relatives left the village for other places decades ago and their connection to Bhatlapenumarru is now nothing but nostalgic.
For the villagers too, Venkaiah was several generations apart, though he is still revered with pride and devotion.
On August 2, the 146th anniversary of Venkaiah’s birth was celebrated on a grand scale in the village, with residents displaying patriotic fervor and paying glowing tributes to the legendary son of the soil.
Villagers carried a 300ft tricolor around the village while the district administration organized flag hoisting and cultural events.
“Bhatlapenumarru is like any other village, except that it is now rather known by its legend. The village, with a population of around 3,500, only enjoys the glory of the name Pingali Venkaiah,” said observed a local citizen, Koteswara Rao.
A few years ago Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal organized a Tiranga Run in memory of Pingali Venkaiah and to put Bhatlapenumarru high on the national map.
“It was probably the only effort to put the village in the limelight, but nothing happened after that,” Koteswara Rao said.
Just a few kilometers from Bhatlapenumarru stands Kuchipudi, a village that has found its place on the international map, thanks to the classical Indian dance form of the same name that originated here.
As the nation celebrates “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, commemorating the 75th anniversary of independence, and a “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign undertaken to “invoke the feeling of patriotism in people’s hearts and promote awareness of the Indian national flag “, there is indeed a sense of pride among the villagers of Bhatlapenumarru.
“Mana jaatiya jhanda maa gadda meeda roopudiddukovatam maaku yeppatiki garva kaaranam. Adi maa Poorvikula adrushtam,” says 62-year-old villager PK Prasad. (It’s always a matter of pride that our national flag took shape on our land. Our ancestors were lucky to have lived at that time with the great man.)
Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy visited Bhatlapenumarru on July 31 to pay respects to Pingali Venkaiah as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. He was the first Union minister to visit the village.
Kishan Reddy ordered the Krishna district administration to erect a huge national flag in the village in honor of its architect.
He also promised to build a Pingali Venkaiah memorial in the village if the state government would provide land.
“We will install the mega flag in the next two or three months. The Union Minister has also asked us to develop the local village reservoir, which we will do,” Krishna District Joint Collector R Mahesh said. Kumar.
According to official sources, except for routine events in schools like drawing and other themed competitions for students, few activities are planned in Bhatlapenumarru as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.