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The National flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (‘kesaria’) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportions. 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 having twenty four spokes, which represents the chakra. 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 22nd July 1947.

Various proto-types of the National Flag were presented by different individuals before the design was finalised. Margaret Noble or ‘Sister Nivedita’ designed one of the earliest proto-types of the national flag in 1905, which was displayed by the Indian National Congress in its annual session at Calcutta in December 1906. Another flag dubbed as the “Calcutta Flag” was designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose and Sukumar Mitra and unfurled on 7th August 1906 in Calcutta. Perhaps, it was the efforts of Pengali Venkayya, who started the Indian National Flag Mission in 1916, that led to the emergence of the final design of the National Flag. He presented thirty different designs for the national flag, of which the one presented in 1921 contained a spinning wheel on a red and green background. An ad hoc Flag Committee headed by Dr Rajendra Prasad set up in June 1947 arrived at a decision on the final design of the National Flag.

The tricolour was hoisted for the first time on the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 16th, 1947 and the flag hoisting ceremony at the Red Fort started from August 15th, 1948 onwards.  The display of the National Flag is governed by the Flag Code of India, 2002, which, incidentally, permitted members of the general public to display the National Flag.


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 triumphs') from Mundaka Upanishad are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script and form part of the State Emblem. The use of the State Emblem is governed by the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005.


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 National Anthem was first played as an orchestral arrangement in the United Nations at New York in 1947.


The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji on November 7th, 1875, 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 Kolkata. It was declared as the National Song in 1937 through a resolution. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh translated the song into English (‘Mother, I bow to thee!’) in 1909.


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.


The magnificent Tiger (Panthera tigris) was designated as the National Animal of India in 1973,  the Asiatic Lion (‘Panthera leo persica’).  It is a rich yellow coloured 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. The Indian tigers are known as the ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’, which is also the national animal of Bangladesh.


The colourful, swan-sized Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus) having a fan-shaped crest of feathers, a white patch under the eye and a long, slender neck was names as the National Bird of India in 1963. The peacock symbolises qualities like beauty, grace, pride and mysticism.

The peacock is known as the ‘Sun bird’ or ‘Sarp Bhuj’ and has been described by various terms such as ‘Mayura’ or ‘Nilakantha’ in ancient texts.


Lotus (Nelumbo Nucipera Gaertn) iis the National Flower of India.  The lotus is considered sacred in the Indian mythology and is regarded as  a symbol of purity and fecundity.



The Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) is the National Tree of India.  It is described as  ‘Kalpavriksha’ in ancient texts, which means a tree that fulfils wishes.



 Mango (Mangifera indica), which is known as the 'King of Fruits', is considered as the National Fruit of India. 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 while Bahadur Shah Zafar had a mango garden known as ‘Hayat Bakhsh’ in Red Fort.




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