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.
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
time of the full version of the National Anthem is approximately 52 seconds.
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.
complete song consists of the following five stanzas:
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
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
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.
NATIONAL CALENDAR OF INDIA
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
The magnificent Tiger (Panthera
tigris) was designated as the National Animal of India in
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.
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.
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
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.
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.