A study conducted by Voice of Telangana President and Hyderabadi historian Capt. Lingala Panduranga Reddy found that the Indian tricolour was not designed by Venkaiah but a Hyderabadi woman named Suraiyya Tyabji.
The Indian national flag, which the constituent assembly authorized on July 22, 1947, is often credited to Pingali Venkaiah as its designer. In 1921, at a meeting of the All India Congress Committee in Bezawada, he introduced the concept of the flag. Contrary to widespread opinion, the final design of our current national flag was made by Hyderabadi woman Suraiyya Tyabji.
Designing the National Emblem
A flag committee led by Dr. Rajendra Prasad was formed to create a national symbol for Indians, and Suraiyya’s husband Badruddin Tyabji, an Indian civil servant, was a member. The committee members discovered British imagery in the hundreds of designs that were submitted.
Suraiyya then transformed the Lion Capital from the Sarnath Ashoka Pillar into the National Emblem and swapped the charkha for another Ashokan motif—a Dharma Chakra. Later, the Dharma Chakra appeared on the country’s flag as well.
Controversy around the original designer
The designs for the many national flags were numerous. The Indian National Congress’s Swaraj Flag was created by Venkaiah. The initial choice for the national flag was his flag, with Gandhi’s Charkha placed in the middle. Many people opposed the notion because a party flag cannot accurately symbolize an entire nation.
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The Tyabji pair was then tasked with creating the country’s flag as well. In her design, Suraiyya was quite specific about the fabric and color tones of the flag.
Both Badruddin and Suraiyya, however, made no claims to creative ownership of their designs. The only designer named as the original in English historian Trevor Royle’s book, “The Last Days of the Raj,” was Badruddin Tyabji.
The real designers of the tricolor were revealed by a study conducted by Voice of Telangana President and Hyderabadi historian Capt. Lingala Panduranga Reddy. Suraiyya is also credited as the designer in a study by the Flag Foundation. The first flag, which was later given to Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister after independence, was sewn under Suraiyya’s direct supervision.
Liberal, emancipated and proudly Indian
Suraiyya, who was born in 1919, was the niece of Sir Akbar Hydari, who served as the Seventh Nizam’s prime minister from 1937 until 1942. She was a well-known artist who was renowned for her unconventional and forward-thinking viewpoint. She wed Badruddin Tyajbi, who later worked as Aligarh Muslim University’s vice chancellor.
Suraiyya served on a number of committees under the control of the constituent assembly.
The daughter of Badruddin and Suraiyya, Laila Tyabji, described her “amma” as “liberal, emancipated, proudly Indian, and rather unconventional, given the times” in a piece for The Wire.