Lucknow: In a veiled attack on Narendra Modi over "Tiranga Yatra", All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Chief Asaduddin Owaisi while addressing his first public meeting in Uttar Pradesh capital on Saturday sarcastically reminded the prime minister that the India's National Flag was designed by a Muslim.
Stating that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are on nationwide 'Tiranga Yatra' after Prime Minister Modi issued directives to them, Asaduddin Owaisi said, "The Prime Minister should know that the national tricolour was designed by a Muslims."
"Notwithstanding the fact that the contribution of Muslims in India's freedom struggle are wittingly or unwittingly being ignored, the young generation should know the facts", Asaduddin Owaisi, on a two-day visit in Lucknow, said while addressing the AIMIM workers at Convention Centre.
Prime Minister Modi flagged off the "Tiranga Yatra" last week to mark the 70th anniversary of India's Independence from British rule. The prime minister also released a theme song "70 Saal Azadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani" for the yatra.
This was Asaduddin Owaisi's first rally in Lucknow. Owaisi, who has announced to contest the state elections expected to be held in couple of months, has earlier been denied permission to address public meetings.
Asaduddin Owaisi, who met local Dalit leader Ram Lakhan Paasi after reaching Lucknow, said, "Post Independence, Muslims and Dalits could not produce a single leader though they were instrumental in making leaders people from other communities and parties."
Asaduddin Owaisi's claim that Muslims designed India's national flag should not come as a surprise because, unlike the popular notion that the tricolor was designed by Pingali Venkayya, historians like Trevor Royle have claimed that Badruddin Tayabji’s wife Suraiya Tayabji is actually the designer of the tricolor.
It is said Prof. Sarojini Regani of Osmania University, in her hagiography, “Highlights of the Freedom Movement in Andhra Pradesh” published by the state government in 1972 had written about Pingali Venkaiah designing the national flag.
"However, she does not cite any primary source to substantiate her assertion", Voice of Telangana president Capt. L Panduranga Reddy said recently.
Owaisi's reminder about the Muslim designer of the Tricolour is significant since RSS, the organisation Modi and most of the BJP leaders are affiliated with, is accused of siding with British Raj when Muslims and others were sacrificing their lives for the independence of India.