Emblems of India

National Anthem

Jana-Gana-Mana-Adhinayaka, Jaya He
Ucchhala-Jaladhi Taranga
Tava Subha Name Jage
Tava Subha Ashisha Mage
Gahe Tava Jaya Gatha.
Jana-Gana-Mangala Dayaka, Jaya He
Jaya He, Jaya He, Jaya He,
Jaya Jaya Jaya, Jaya He

The following is a translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s rendering of the stanza:

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India’s destiny. The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha, of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal; it echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of the Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea. They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise. The salvation of all people is in thy hand, thou dispenser of India’s destiny.

Victory, victory, victory to thee.

National Emblem

The National Emblem of India is a replica of the Lion of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. 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 reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.

The four lions (one hidden from view) – symbolizing power, courage and confidence – rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded 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 motto ‘Satyameva Jayate’ inscribed below the emblem in Devanagari script means ‘truth alone triumphs’.

National Flag

The Indian flag was designed as a symbol of freedom. The late Prime Minister Nehru called it a flag not only of freedom for ourselves, but a symbol of freedom to all people.

The flag is a horizontal tricolor in equal proportion of deep saffron on the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom. The ratio of the width to the length of the flag is two is to three. In the centre of the white band, there is a wheel in navy blue to indicate the Dharma Chakra, the wheel of law in the Sarnath Lion Capital. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes. The saffron stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and truth; the green for faith and fertility.

Even those who cherish the tricolour, though, may not always give it due honour because they are unfamiliar with the specifications of the Flag Code. Not just a piece of bright material, but the symbol of a great nation, the tricolour must be displayed correctly, reverently, and according to very specific rules. The dimensions of the National Flag should be in the ratio of 3 : 2 and the Asoka Chakra should have 24 spokes.

The National Flag may be flown daily only from important public buildings such as the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the Supreme Court, at border posts, and on the official residences of the President and Vice-President, governors and lieutenant governors.

The public may hoist the tricolour only on special days: Republic Day (January 26), National Week (April 6 to 13), observed in memory of the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs, Independence Day (August 15) and Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary (October 2). The Flag may also be flown by individuals on days declared for “national rejoicing,” and in the states on days of special significance (on May 1 in Maharashtra for instance, the day the state was founded).

The privilege of flying the Flag on motor cars is generally reserved for selected dignitaries: the President and Vice-President, governors and lieutenant governors, the Prime Minister and other ministers, speakers, chief justices and heads of Indian missions abroad.

The Flag should be hoisted at sunrise and lowered at sunset. It may be displayed after sunset only on very special occasions. It should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. No other flag or bunting should fly above the tricolour and none beside it, except for the UN flag and other national flags which may be hung to the left. No flowers, garlands or emblems may be placed on the flagmast, nor any other flag flown on the same pole.

The Flag should not be dipped in salute to any person, no matter how exalted; or to any edifice or object, no matter how sacred.

The Flag should not be allow ed to touch the ground or trail in water. It should flutter freely.

The tricolour may not be used or displayed as a festoon, rosette, bunting, curtain, tablecloth or drapery and pieces of coloured cloth should not be arranged so as to look like it.

It should not be used as part of a costume or uniform, embroidered on cushions and handkerchiefs, or printed on napkins and boxes. Lettering of any kind is not allowed on the Flag. Its use in advertisements is prohibited except when allowed by the government.

When the Flag is worn out or faded, it should not be displayed. Once torn, it should not be mended and used again. A damaged Flag must be burnt or otherwise destroyed in a manner befitting its dignity.

On the death of a notable, whether Indian or foreign, the Flag is flown at half-mast only on buildings where it is permitted to be flown daily; on days when the Flag is being flown by all the people, it can be half-masted only on the building where the body of the deceased is lying.

Like a child, our Flag was born out of love -love of country – and has become dearer for the many and great sacrifices made for it. Long may it wave!

National Animal – Tiger

Large Asiatic carnivorous feline quadruped, Panthera Tigris, maneless, of tawny yellow color with blackish transverse stripes and white belly, proverbial for its power and its magnificence.

There are very few tigers left in the world today. A decade ago the tiger population in India had dwindled to a few hundreds. The Government of India, under its Project Tiger programme, started a massive effort to preserve the tiger population. Today, thanks to Project Tiger, India’s population of tigers has considerably increased.

National Bird – Peacock

Found wild in India (and also domesticated in villages) they live in jungle lands near water. They were once bred for food but now hunting of peacocks is banned in India. The peahen has no plumage. These birds do not sound as beautiful as they look – they have a harsh call.



National Flower – Lotus

The Lotus or water lily is an aquatic plant of Nymphaea with broad floating leaves and bright fragrant flowers that grow only in shallow waters. The leaves and flowers float and have long stems that contain air spaces. The big attractive flowers have many petals overlapping in a symmetrical pattern. The root functions are carried out by rhizomes that fan out horizontally through the mud below the water. Lotuses, prized for their serene beauty, are delightful to behold as their blossoms open on the surface of a pond. In India the sacred lotus is legendary and much folklore and religious mythology is woven around it.

National Tree – Banyan

Indian fig tree, Ficus bengalensis, whose branches root themselves like new trees over a large area. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches. Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India. Even today, the banyan tree is the focal point of village life and the village council meets under the shade of this tree.

National Fruit – Mango

A fleshy fruit, eaten ripe or used green for pickles etc., of the tree Mangifera indica, the mango is one of the most important and widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world. Its juicy fruit is a rich source of Vitamins A, C and D. In India there are over100 varieties of mangoes, in different sizes, shapes and colors. Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial. The poet Kalidasa sang its praises. Alexander savored its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang. Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhi Bagh.

Adopted from the Govt. of India Web Site (http://www.meadev.gov.in)

Flags of India

Reader’s Digest (Indian edition) – August 1979
Copyright: RDI Print and Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with permission.

A FLAG symbolizing the Indian people’s aspiration to nationhood was hoisted in Paris in the early l9OOs by Madame Bhikaiji Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries. Widely accepted as the first flag in the Indian freedom movement- though some historians believe the “first” flag was actually unfurled at the Parsi Bagan Square in Calcutta on August 7, 1906 – the Paris banner had a red band with a white lotus flower and seven stars to denote the Milky Way; a yellow band with Vande Mataram inscribed in deep blue Devanagri script; a green band with a sun on the left and a crescent-and-star symbol on the right, both in white.

Nine years later, during the Home Rule Movement, Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak presented yet another flag; this one had five, alternately red and green horizontal stripes, a Union Jack in the left top corner reflecting the demand of the day that India be given dominion status within the British Empire, the Milky Way in the centre, and a crescent-and-star in the right top corner. The rising tide of nationalism quickly made the flag unacceptable. A call for new leadership brought Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to the forefront, and it was through Gandhi that India was to get her first tricolour.

In 1921, during the session of the All-India Congress Committee at Bezwada (now Vijayawada), a student from Masulipatnam’s National College presented Mahatma Gandhi with a flag of red and green, the colours representing the two major Indian communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. Gandhi suggested the addition of a white stripe to symbolize the rest of India’s communities, and a charkha to symbolize the masses of India.

Flags of India

The tricolour, officially adopted as the national emblem by the Congress at its 1931 Karachi session presided over by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, held no communal undertones. The flag then unfurled had a band of deep saffron to symbolize courage and sacrifice, a band of white imprinted with a blue charkha for truth, and a band of dark green for faith and chivalry. On July 22, 1947 three weeks before Indian Independence, the Constituent Assembly adopted the tricolour as India’s National Flag, but replaced the charkha with the Asoka Chakra, which appears on the abacus of the Lion Pillar at Sarnath. “A symbol of India’s ancient culture,” explained Prime Minister Nehru in moving the resolution on the National Flag before the Assembly.

Today, 32 years after Independence, the flag continues to stir profound feelings of nationalism in most Indians. To guard this symbol of liberty against desecration by the few, Parliament in 1950 included a section on the National Flag in The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, forbidding its use in any trade mark or design unless permitted by the Central Government. Later in 1971 it passed the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, stipulating three years’ imprisonment or fine, or both, for anyone who, in public view, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples on or otherwise brings the National Flag into contempt.