Ramamurthy, a social activist and the pioneer of the Kannada movement, is credited with designing the yellow-and-red flag. As far as Kannadigas can remember, the flag has been associated with Karnataka and Kannadigas. Although it has not yet obtained an official state flag status, it is no less than that.
In 1964, Ramamurthy held a rally to demand the promotion of the Kannada identity in the newly-formed state. He realised the movement needed a unifying symbol, so he created the yellow and red flag to represent peace and revolution.
However, the flag was not created as the state flag of Karnataka, but as the flag of the movement, he led – the Kannada Paksha. Over the years, Ramamurthy’s movement became popular among the people and has gained the status of an unofficial state flag from the symbol of the movement.
All you need to know about the legacy of the Karnataka flag which so far unofficial-
1. Ma Ramamurthy, son of freedom fighter and litterateur Veerakesari Seetharama Shastri, was the first to have conceptualised and designed the Yellow and Red flag for Karnataka.
2. Ramamurthy was born on March 11 in 1918 at Nanjangud. He started his career as a journalist, and was an editor of a newspaper, ‘Kannada Yuvajana’.
3. At that time, non-Kannadigas were preferred in Karnataka more than Kannadigas, which forced writers and intellectuals to work together to protect the interests of Karnataka. After several instances of anti-Karnataka like migrants from other states hoisting their state flag, Ramamurthy protested against hoisting of such flags in Karnataka. This also forced him to believe that Karnataka does not have a flag as its identity. He designed a flag with yellow and red around 1965.
4. His earliest version of the flag was yellow, with a map of Karnataka printed on it and a paddy crown in the centre. However, only yellow and red were later adopted.
5. Yellow and red colour respectively represent peace and courage. Although Ramamurthy used the flag for a political party ‘Kannada Paksha’ formed by him, the party did not last long, but the flag was linked to Kannada and Karnataka together.