Home >> National Symbols of India




The National flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The saffron stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white stands for purity and truth and the green for faith and fertility. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which has 24 spokes. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band.   Its design is taken from that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath. The design of the national flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947.



The state emblem depicts four lions, standing back to back. It is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra). The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation to the four quarters of the universe. The National Emblem is thus symbolic of contemporary India's affirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.

 In the State emblem, adopted by the Government of India on 26 January 1950, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The four lions symbolizing power, courage and confidence, rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girdled by four smaller animals -- guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, the horse of the south and the bull of the west. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. The words Satyameva Jayate (meaning 'truth alone tirumphs') from Mundaka Upanishad are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.



The song Jana-gana-mana, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the national anthem of India on Tuesday, 24 January 1950. Rabindranath Tagore wrote it at the request of his intimate friend Ashutosh Chaudhari, a judge of the Calcutta High Court, for singing at the 26th session of the Indian National Congress  on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress. 

Playing time of the full version of the National Anthem is approximately 52 seconds.

Jana Gana Mana was first published under the title "Bharat Vidhata" in the Tatvabodhini Patrika, the official organ of Maharishi Debenranath Tagore's Brahmo Samaj in January 1912. The song was sub-titled Brahmo-Sangeet.  However, the English translation of the original in Bengali was published earlier, on December 28, 1911, in the Bengalee. Much later, it was included in Tagore's Dharma Sangeet, a collection of religious hymns.

 The complete song consists of the following five stanzas: 

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,

Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Tagore rendered the National Anthem into English as follows:

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bengal;
it echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
thou dispenser of India's destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to thee.





The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was incorporated in his famous novel Ananda Math (1882). It has an equal status with the National Anthem. Later the song was set to tune by Rabindranath Tagore and sung for the first time before the gathering at the 12th annual session of the Indian National Congress held in 1896 in Calcutta.  It was declared as the National Song in 1937 through a resolution.





The National Calendar is based on the Saka Era with Chaitra being its first month.  It consists of 365 days in a normal year. It was adopted from 22nd March 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar for the following official purposes : Gazette of India; news broadcast by All India Radio; calendars issued by Government of India; and, Government communications addressed to the members of the public. Dates of the National Calendar correspond with those of the Greogrian Calendar. Thus, the first day of Chaitra always corresponds to 22nd March in a normal year.


Tiger ~ Panthera Tigris

The magnificent Tiger Panthera tigris (linnaeus), the national animal of India, is a rich-colored well-striped animal with a short coat. The combination of grace, strength, power has earned the tiger great respect and high esteem. Indian tigers are famous all over the world and one of the main attractions for the lovers of wild life. They are the crowning glory and the light of the Indian wild life.

Tough, muscular, majestic tigers roam about the Sunderbans of Bengal "burning bright in the darkness of the night." The natives of the forest worship the tiger as the deity that gives them honey and wax. The Sunderbans are their main habitat for their thick forests of Sunder trees. They feed on fish, cattle and sometimes human beings. The man-eaters are the most dreaded of all wild beasts. It is a common belief that a tiger does not harm anyone who has offered prayers to him. Tigers are fast runners, excellent swimmers and their eyesight is strong.



The Indian Peacock ~ P.cristatus


Lotus or waterlily is an acquatic plant of Nymphaea with broad flaoting leaves and bright fragrant flowers that grow only in shallow waters.


Mango ~ Mangifera indica

Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial.  The poet Kalidasa sang of its praises. Alexander savoured its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang. Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhi Bagh.


Banyan ~ Ficus bengalensis, the Indian Fig tree



© Copyright Culturopedia.net  All Rights Reserved 2014-2015