User:Vibhijain/National symbols of India

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The Republic of India has several official national symbols including a a flag, an emblem, an anthem, a calendar as well as several other symbols. All the symbols were picked up at various times. The design of the national flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly just before independence, on July 22, 1947.[1] There are also several other symbols including the national animal, bird, flower and tree.[2]

Father of the Nation[edit]

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, often referred to as Mahatma, was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. The title of the Father of the Nation was used by Subhas Chandra Bose in a radio address from Singapore in 1944[3]. He is also recognized by the Indian government as the Pater Patriae[4]. Gandhi has a strong current impact on India. Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is a national holiday in India, Gandhi Jayanti, and is celebrated around the world as International Day of Non-Violence[5][6]. India observes 30 January the day of his assassination, as Martyr’s Day, to commemorate those who gave up their lives in service of the Indian nation.[7] There are two temples in India dedicated to Gandhi. One is located at Sambalpur in Odisha and the other at Nidaghatta village near Kadur in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka.[8] Gandhi also appears on every Indian Rupee note.[9]

National Flag[edit]

The National Flag

Main article: Flag of India

The national flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour of Deep saffron, White and Dark green with the Ashok Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, in navy blue at its centre. It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of India. The flag was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. The flag was proposed by Nehru at the Constituent Assembly on 22 July 1947 as a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron, white and dark green in equal proportions, with the Ashoka wheel in blue in the centre of the white band. Nehru also presented two flags, one in Khadi-silk and the other in Khadi-cotton, to the assembly. The resolution was approved unanimously.[10] It served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950, and has served as the flag of theRepublic of India since then.[11]

State Emblem[edit]

The national emblem of Indiaincludes the motto Satyameva Jayatewhich means ‘Truth alone triumphs’ inSanskrit

Main article: Emblem of India

The emblem of India is an adaptation of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.It was adopted as the National Emblem of India on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic.[12] The emblem forms a part of the official letterhead of the Government of India, and appears on all Indian currency as well. It also sometimes functions as the national emblem of India in many places and appears prominently on the diplomatic and national Passportof the Republic of India. The wheel “Ashoka Chakra” from its base has been placed onto the center of the National Flag of India.

National Motto[edit]

Main article: Satyameva Jayate

Satyameva Jayate is a Hindu mantra from the ancient scripture Mundaka Upanishad.[13] Upon independence of India, it was adopted as the national motto of India.[14] It is inscribed in Devanagari script at the base of the national emblem. The emblem and words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ are inscribed on one side of all Indian currency. The emblem is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Asoka which was erected around 250 BCE at Sarnath, nearVaranasi in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, but does not contain the motto. The origin of the motto is a well-known mantra 3.1.6 from the Mundaka Upanishad.[14]

National Calender[edit]

The Indian national calendar (sometimes called Saka calendar) is the official civil calendar in use in India. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, news broadcasts by All India Radio, and calendars and communications issued by the Government of India.[15] The term may also ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar, and the Saka era is commonly used by different calendars as well.The calendar was introduced by the Calendar Reform Committee in 1957, as part of the Indian Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, which also contained other astronomical data, as well as timings and formulae for preparing Hindu religious calendars, in an attempt to harmonise this practice. Despite this effort, local variations based on older sources such as the Surya Siddhanta may still exist. Usage officially started at Chaitra 1, 1879 Saka Era, or March 22, 1957. However, government officials seem to largely ignore the New Year’s Day of this calendar in favour of the religious calendar.[16]

National Anthem[edit]

The National Anthem sheet music

Main article: Jana Gana Mana

Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India. Originally written in highly Sanskritized (Tatsama) Bengali, it is the first of five stanzas of a Brahmo hymn composed and scored by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It was first sung at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. The music for the present National Anthem was composed by Captain Ram Singh Thakur of the Subhash Chandra Bose led Indian National Army, as Qaumi Tarana of the INA at Singapore in 1943. Jana Gana Mana was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian national anthem on January 24, 1950.[17][18][19] [20][21][22][23] A formal rendition of the national anthem takes fifty-three seconds. A shortened version consisting of the first and last lines (and taking about 20 seconds to play) is also staged occasionally.[17] Tagore wrote down the English translation of the song and along with Margaret Cousins (an expert in European music and wife of Irish poet James Cousins), set down the notation which is followed till this day.[24]

National language[edit]

Main article: Languages of India

Neither the Constitution of India nor Indian law specifies a National language. India specifies Hindi and English as official languages of the India de jure. Article 343 of the constitution specifies that the official language of the India is Hindi in Devanagari script. Article 354 states that a state of India may officially adopt one or more languages in use in the state or Hindi/English as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that state.[25] Section 8 of The Official Languages Act of 1963 (as amended in 1967) empowers the Union Government to make rules regarding the languages which may be used for the Official purposes of the Union, for transaction of business in Parliament, and for communication between the Union Government and the states.[26] Section 3 of G.S.R. 1053, titled “Rules, 1976 (As Amended, 1987)” specifies that communications from a Central (Union) Government office to a State or a Union Territory in shall, save in exceptional cases (Region “A”) or shall ordinarily (Region “B”), be in Hindi, and if any communication is issued to any of them in English it shall be accompanied by a Hindi translation thereof.[27] Section 3 of G.S.R. 1053, titled “Rules, 1976 states Communications from a Central Government office to State or Union Territory in Region “C” or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English. Region C (South India) covers Tamil Nadu, Kerala , Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh [28]

National Song[edit]

The flag raised by Bhikaiji Cama in 1907

Main article: Vande Mataram

Vande Mataram is a poem from the famed novel Anandamath which was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1882. It was written in Bengali and Sanskrit. In 1950 (after India’s independence), the song’s first two verses were given the official status of the “national song” of the Republic of India, distinct from the national anthem of India Jana Gana Mana. The designation as “national song” predates independence, dating to 1937. At this date, the Indian National Congress discussed at length the status of the song. It was pointed out then that though the first two stanzas began with an unexceptionable evocation of the beauty of the motherland, in later stanzas there are references where the motherland is likened to the Hindu goddess Durga. Therefore, INC decided to adopt only the first two stanzas as the national song.

The controversy becomes more complex in the light of Rabindranath Tagore‘s rejection of the song as one that would unite all communities in India. In his letter to Subhash Chandra Bose (1937), Tagore wrote:

“The core of Vande Mataram is a hymn to goddess Durga: this is so plain that there can be no debate about it. Of course Bankimchandra does show Durga to be inseparably united with Bengal in the end, but no Mussulman [Muslim] can be expected patriotically to worship the ten-handed deity as ‘Swadesh’ [the nation]. This year many of the special [Durga] Puja numbers of our magazines have quoted verses from Vande Mataram—proof that the editors take the song to be a hymn to Durga. The novel Anandamath is a work of literature, and so the song is appropriate in it. But Parliament is a place of union for all religious groups, and there the song cannot be appropriate. When Bengali Mussulmans show signs of stubborn fanaticism, we regard these as intolerable. When we too copy them and make unreasonable demands, it will be self-defeating.”

In a postscript to this same letter, Tagore says:

“Bengali Hindus have become agitated over this matter, but it does not concern only Hindus. Since there are strong feelings on both sides, a balanced judgment is essential. In pursuit of our political aims we want peace, unity and good will—we do not want the endless tug of war that comes from supporting the demands of one faction over the other.” [29]

Rajendra Prasad, who was presiding the Constituent Assembly on January 24, 1950, made the following statement which was also adopted as the final decision on the issue:

…The composition consisting of words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations as the Government may authorise as occasion arises, and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honored equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause) I hope this will satisfy members. (Constituent Assembly of India, Vol. XII, 24-1-1950)

Floral emblem[edit]

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

Main article: Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera, or simply Lotus, is the Floral emblem of India. It 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 since time immemorial. The reason this flower was chosen is because it signifies that which keeps itself pure even when living in a rough environment.[30]

National Fruit[edit]

Mango (Mangifera indica)

Main article: Mango

The species was brought to East Asia around 400-500 BCE from India.[31] Mango is the national fruit of India, Philippines and Pakistan. It finds mention in the songs of 4th century CESanskrit poet, Kalidasa, prior to it is believed to have been tasted by Alexander (3rd century BCE) and Chinese pilgrim, Hieun Tsang (7th century CE). Later in 16th century Mughal Emperor, Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, Bihar at a place now known as Lakhi Bagh [32] In Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by Lord Ganesha as a symbol of attainment, regarding the devotees potential perfection. Mango blossoms are also used in the worship of the goddess Saraswati. Mango leaves are used to decorate archways and doors in Indian houses and during weddings and celebrations like Ganesh Chaturthi. Mango motifs and paisleys are widely used in different Indian embroidery styles, and are found in Kashmiri shawls, Kanchipuram silk sarees, etc. Paisleys are also common to Iranian art, because of its pre-Islamic Zoroastrian past. In Tamil Nadu, Mango is considered, along with Banana and jack fruit, as the Three royal fruits (Mukkani).

National Animal[edit]

Main article: Panthera tigris

Panthera tigris is the national animal of India. Out of eight races of the species known, the Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region and also in the neighbouring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. To check the dwindling population of tigers in India, ‘Project Tiger’ was launched in April 1973. So far, 27 tiger reserves have been established in the country under this project, covering an area of 37,761 sq km.[33]

The Bengal tiger has been a national symbol of India since about the 25th century BCE when it was displayed on the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley Civilisation. On the seal, the tiger, being the largest, represents the Yogi Shiva’s people.[34] The tiger was later the symbol of the Chola Empire from 300 CE to 1279 CE and is now designated as the official animal of India.[33]

The Project Tiger initiative launched in 1972 initially reversed the population decline, the decline has resumed in recent years; India’s tiger population decreased from 3,642 in the 1990s to just over 1,400 from 2002 to 2008.[35]Since then, the Indian government has undertaken several steps to reduce the destruction of the Bengal tiger’s natural habitat in India.

National Bird[edit]


Main article: Indian Peafowl

Indian Peafowl is the national bird of India.[36] Prominent in many cultures, the peacock has been used in numerous iconic representations, including being designated the national bird of India in 1963.[37] The peacock, known as Mayura in Sanskrit, has enjoyed a fabled place in India since and is frequently depicted in temple art, mythology, poetry, folk-music and traditions.[38] Many Hindu deities are associated with the bird, Krishna is often depicted with a feather in his headband, while worshippers of Shiva associate the bird as the steed of the God of war, Karthikeya (also known as Skanda or Murugan). In Buddhist philosophy, the peacock represents wisdom.[39]Peacock feathers are used in many rituals and ornamentation. Peacock motifs are widespread in Indian temple architecture, old coinage, textiles and continue to be used in many modern items of art and utility.[40]

National Aquatic Animal[edit]

Gangetic Dolphin

Ganges River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India. This animal was given this title as it represents the purity of the Ganges as this mammal only survives in pure and fresh water. They are locally known as susu, due to the sound which is made while breathing. It is critically endangered in India and has been included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The main reasons for the decrease in its population are poaching and habitat degradation and construction of barrages resulting in physical barrier for this species.[41]

National Heritage Animal[edit]

Asian elephant

Main article: Asian elephant

Asian elephant is the National Heritage Animal of India. This status was given to this animal due to the decline in its polulation. The Environment and Forest Ministry recommended to give this title to this species and the Elephant Task Force was approved by the standing committee of National Board of Wildlife on October 13 2010. There are over 25,000 elephants in the country, including 3,500 in zoos and temples– specially in Kerala and north-eastern parts of India.[42]

National River[edit]

The Ganges in Varanasi

Main article: Ganges

The Ganges or Ganga, is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it ranks among the world’s top 20 rivers.[43] The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs.[44] It is worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.[45] It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra,[46] Kannauj,[46] Kara, Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur and Kolkata) have been located on its banks. In November 2008, the Ganges, alone among India’s rivers, was declared a “National River”, facilitating the formation of a Ganga River Basin Authority that would have greater powers to plan, implement and monitor measures aimed at protecting the river.[47]

National Game[edit]

Indian Hockey team

Main article: Field hockey

Hockey is the national sport of India.[48][49] The Indian men’s hockey team is the most successful hockey team in Olympic history with 8 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals. Indian hockey’s golden era was from 1928-1956, when the Indian hockey team successively won six Olympic gold medals.

National Tree[edit]

Main article: Ficus benghalensis

Banyan, or Ficus benghalensis, is the national tree of India. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground, they grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. This tree is considered sacred in India, and often shelters a little or larger temple underneath. Even today, most village council meets under this tree.[50]

National Personification[edit]

The relief map of India as Bharatmata, carved out of marble at Bharat Mata Temple, Varanasi

Bhārat Mātā is the national personification of India as a mother goddess. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in a saffron sari holding a flag, and sometimes accompanied by a lion.[51] The image of Bhāratmātā formed with the Indian independence movement of the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay, Bhārat Mātā, was first performed in 1873. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1882 novel Anandamath introduced the hymn “Vande Mātaram“,[52] which soon became the song of the emerging freedom movement in India.

Bipin Chandra Pal insisted that elaborated its meaning in idealizing and idealist terms, along with Hindu philosophical traditions and devotional practices. It represented an archaic spiritual essence, a transcedental idea of Universe as well as expressing Universal Hinduism and nationhood.[53]

Abanindranath Tagore portrayed Bhārat Mātā as a four-armed Hindu goddess wearing saffron-colored robes, holding a book, sheaves of rice, a mala, and a white cloth.[54]The image of Bharatmatha was an icon to create nationalist feeling in Indians during the freedom struggle. Sister Nivedita, an admirer of the painting, opined that the picture was refined and imaginative, with Bharatmata standing on green earth and blue sky behind her; feet with four lotuses, four arms meaning divine power; white halo and sincere eyes; and gifts Shiksha-Diksha-Anna-Bastra of motherland to her children.[55]

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