The unheard inspiring story of Surayya Tayyabji – the Woman, who designed the final version of our Indian National Flag, Tricolor. Read more to know.
The national flag serves as an identity of the nation. Every year we Indians do flag hoisting on Independence Day and Republic day. We also know about the significance of our national flag and how different colours of our tricolor signifies courage, peace, and prosperity, and the Ashok chakra represents the dynamism of a peaceful change. We hoist the flag but hardly think about the people, especially the woman who contributed to designing the Indian National Flag.
Yes, the woman! As per the commonly known that the Indian flag was designed in 1921 by Pingali Venkaiah. But, that’s not the whole truth. As per some recent reports, there has been substantiating claims that our national flag evolved during the independence movement. And, it was the woman, who gave us the final national flag – our Tricolor.
The woman who created this final version of our national flag was Surayya Tayyabji. She hardly received recognition for her contribution. Mainly Pingali Venkayyah is known as the designer of our national flag. He created one of the versions of our national flag, and he was the designer of the Swaraj flag of the Indian National Congress but the final version of our national flag was designed by Surayya Tayyabji. (Also Read: Widow At 18: How This Single Mom Shattered Social Norms To Become India’s First Woman Engineer)
Who Was Surayya Badruddin Tayyabji? The Woman Who Made Significant Contribution To Indian National Flag
Surayya Badruddin Tayyabji was born in Hyderabad in 1919 to Aamir Ali and Leila Hasan Latif. In the 20th century, where women were struggling for their fundamental rights, Surayya’s family were educated and progressive. Her grandmother, Amina Hyderi, was an activist. Surayya grew up in a liberal environment and became a reputed artist. She also acted as a member of various committees under the Constituent Assembly.
Surayya Tayyabji’s daughter Laila Tayyabji mentioned her mother as a path breaker. who never liked to be just an ambassadorial wife but someone who loved her world of painting and other adventurous things. She was a multi-talented person who had vivid interests in painting, cooking, sewing, riding, and swimming. Surayya Tayyabji was married to Badruddin Tayyabji who was an Indian Civil Servant. He also served as the Vice-Chancellor for the Aligarh Muslim University.
In 1947, when India was about to become an independent nation, the need for a national flag arose. Jawaharlal Nehru gave the responsibility for the same to Badruddin Tayyabji who set up a flag committee headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and asked various art schools to send their designs. The designs influenced British Emblem but the committee was keen on using something which had Indian significance. (Also Read: ‘I Haven’t Taken A Single Day Off’: 107-YO Padma Shri Winner Shares Her Inspiring Story & We Are Her Biggest Fan)
Laila Tayyabji, daughter of Surayya and Badruddin Tayyabji has mentioned in her write up that the flag that Pingali Venkayyah had designed for Congress had Gandhiji’s spinning wheel in the middle of it. But there was some opposition that the party flag should not represent the nation. After much thought, Gandhiji agreed to the chakra which was taken from ‘Ashok stambh’. King Ashoka has been respected by Hindus and Muslims alike, so Surrayya Taiyabji painted a black chakra but, Gandhiji objected to it, and later it was changed to navy blue.
Surayya Tayyabji supervised the sewing of the very first flag. Later an Indian flag was presented to Jawaharlal Nehru. That is how the very first time the tricolor flew on Jawaharlal Nehru’s car, as Badruddin Tyabji watched Nehru’s car going over Raisina Hill. The flag was then unanimously accepted on 22nd July 1947. (Also Read: Why Every Educated Indian Woman Needs To Thank Savitribai Phule, The First Woman Teacher)
Hyderabadi historian Capt. L. Panduranga Reddy’s research shows Surayya designed the final tricolor. The documents of Parliamentary archives show Surayya Tayyabji’s name in the list of members of the Flag Presentation Committee who presented the national flag. The contribution of Surayya Tyabji has hardly received an acknowledgment in all these years.
At IFORHER, we applaud Surayya Tayyabji’s contribution and hope our society will give Surraya’s her due credit by recognizing her effort in designing of our Indian National Flag, the Tricolor. ( Also Read: 25 Fabulous Females Who Own Inspiring Title Of “The First Indian Woman”)