Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The birth of Indian Flag (Thillaiaadi Valliammai)

  Thillaiyadi  Valliammi (22 February 1898 - 22 February 1914) just 16 years old when she died   

She was born to R.Munuswamy and Janakiammal, a young immigrant couple from a small village called Thillaiyadi in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. They went to Johannesburg the gold mining city of South Africa in search of wealth. Her father was a trader and owner of a confectionery shop. Since her mother Janaki hailed from Thillaiyaadi village and her daughter Valliammai came to be popularly called Thillaiyadi Valliammai. 

She grew in an environment that was rather hostile to Indians. But the young child did not even know that it was not right to be segregated so,until she was in her early teens.

A law was passed that any marriage that is not according to the Church or according to the marriage law of South Africa would be held null and void, which disproportionately affected the Indian community in that country. Doubts regarding inheritance arose. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began his opposition. Young Valliammai joined her mother in the march by women from Transvaal to Natal – which was not legally permitted without passes.

Valliammai, 16 years of age was arrested by the South African police while she was in the protest march and spent three months in Jail. She suffered a fatal fever in jail, when she was released, she was very weak and could barely walk. She heard some South African prison officers yelling at her, `why don`t you people register and become South Africans instead of Indians. Your India doesn`t even have a flag and it is not even a country. What are you really fighting for.`

If having a flag is what would give form to India, then here it is, she said, tearing off her saffron-white-green sari and she waved it triumphantly, MY FLAG! MY MOTHERLAND 

Mahathma Gandhi met her and asked: Do you not regret having been to jail? Look at you! If going back to jail again would add to the cause, I would do it again she replied.

She gave us our National flag (Gandhi designed the flag with the same three colours as her sari), a greater resolve (in his own words) to Gandhi`s freedom fight, undying fiery guts to women and a soul full of strength for her, our country. 

For further reference:

 Thillaiyadi  Valliammi

Wikipedia (Thillaiaadi Valliammai)


  1. In many places it is being mentioned that Valliammai saree colours designed indian flag. But now in Junir Vikatan nothing is mentioned about Thiyagi Valliammai regarding formation of indian flag in the article written by S.Ramakrishnan.

  2. Even in wiki ther is no such an information about Indian flag and Thillaiyadi valliammai .,., ur source plz....

  3. For Further reference about her: visit Google Books and type Thillaiyadi Valliammai OR Visit this link