NATIONAL SYMBOLS OF INDIA
The Republic of India has several official national symbols. These symbols are intrinsic to the Indian identity and heritage. These are discussed as follows:
- The National Flag is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion.
- The ratio of width of the flag to its length is 2:3. In the centre of the white band is a navyblue wheel which represents the chakra.
- Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
- The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on July 22, 1947.
- The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.
- The flag, by law, is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth, or silk made popular by Mahatma Gandhi.
- It is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the Capitol is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).
- In the state emblem, adopted by the Government of India (by Madhav Sawhney) in 1950 on January 26, 1950, only 3 lions are visible. The wheel appears in the centre of the abacus with a bull on right and a horse on left.
- The outlines of other wheels on extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted.
- The words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.
- The use of the state emblem of India, as the official seal of the Government of India, is regulated by the State of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005. No individual or private organisation is permitted to use the emblem for official correspondence.
- The song Jana-gana-mana, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adoptedin its Hindi version as the National Anthem of India on January 24, 1950.
- It was first sung on December 27, 1911 at the Kolkata Session of the Indian National Congress.
- It has five stanzas with first stanza containing the full version of the National Anthem.
- The duration of the National Anthem is approximately 52 seconds. A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the stanza (playing time approximately 20 seconds) is also played on certain occasions.
- The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom.
- It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. It was first sung at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.
- The National Calendar based on the Saka Era, with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365 days was adopted from March 22, 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar for:
- Gazette of India,
- News broadcast by All India Radio,
- Calendars issued by the Government of India, and
- Government communications addressed to the public.
- Dates of the National Calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of the Gregorian calendar, 1 Chaitra falling on March 22 normally and on March 21 in leap year.
- Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a sacred flower and occupies a unique position in the art and mythology of ancient India and has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture.
- Mango (Mangifera indica) originated in India and the country is home to more than 100 varieties of the fruit.
- Ganga is the longest river of India with the most heavily populated river basin in the world. The river is revered by Hindus as the most sacred river on earth.
- Indian banyan (Ficus bengalensis) roots themselves to form new trees and grow over large areas. Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India.
- Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the largest carnivore is found only in the Indian subcontinent and can be found in most regions of the country.
National Aquatic Animal
- Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga River as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.
- Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus) is designated as the national bird of India. A bird indigenous to the subcontinent, peacock represents the unity of vivid colors and
finds references in Indian culture.
- Indian Rupee (ISO code: INR) ‘₹’ is the official currency of the Republic of India. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India.
- The Indian rupee symbol is derived from the Devanagari consonant (ra) and the Latin letter “R” was adopted in 2010.
- King Cobra is selected as the National reptile of India. The species is endemic to India and Southeast Asia. It is the sole member of its own genus and world’s longest venomous snake with a maximum length of 18.8 ft.
National Heritage Animal
- Indian Elephant has been declared as National Heritage animal of India,native to mainland Asia. The Indian elephant has been listed as endangered and threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation.