Monday, January 16, 2012

National Symbols

सत्यमेव जयते

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 proportion. 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
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 22 July 1947.
Apart from non-statutory instructions issued by the Government from time to
time, display of the National Flag is governed by the provisions of the Emblems and
Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (No. 12 of 1950) and the Prevention of
Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (No. 69 of 1971). The Flag Code of India, 2002
is an attempt to bring together all such laws, conventions, practices and instructions
for the guidance and benefit of all concerned.
The Flag Code of India, 2002, has taken effect from 26 January 2002 and
supercedes the ‘Flag Code—Indias’ as it existed. As per the provisions of the Flag
Code of India, 2002, there shall be no restriction on the display of the National Flag
by members of general public, private organisations, educational institutions, etc.,
except to the extent provided in the Emblems  and Names (Prevention of Improper
Use) Act, 1950 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and any
other law enacted on the subject.

The state emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. In the
original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a
frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and
a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a
single block of polished sandstone, the Capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law
(Dharma Chakra) .
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 wheel appears in
relief in the centre of the abacus with a bull on right and a horse on left and 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 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 24 January 1950. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Kolkata
Session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas.
The first stanza contains the full version of the National Anthem :

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mange,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Playing time of the full version 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. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896
session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza :
Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Shubhrajyotsna pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!

The national calendar based on the  Saka Era,  with  Chaitra  as its first month and a
normal year of 365 days was adopted from 22 March 1957 along with the Gregorian
calendar for the following official purposes: (i) Gazette of India, (ii) news broadcast
by All India Radio, (iii) calendars issued by the Government of India and
(iv) Government communications addressed to the members of the public.
Dates of the national calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of
the Gregorian calendar, 1  Chaitra  falling on 22 March normally and on 21 March in
leap year.

The magnificent tiger,  Panthera tigris,  a striped animal is the national animal of India,
it has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength,
ability and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as 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.

The Indian peacock,  Pavo cristatus,  the national bird of India, is a colourful, swan-
sized bird, with a fan-shaped crest of feathers, a white patch under the eye and a
long, slender neck. The male of the species is more colourful than the female, with a
glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green trail of around 200
elongated feathers. The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male and lacks
the trail. The elaborate courtship dance of the male, fanning out the tail and preening
its feathers is a gorgeous sight.

Lotus  (Nelumbo Nucipera Gaertn) is the National Flower 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 Banyan Tree  (Ficus benghalensis)  is the National Tree of India. This huge tree
towers over its neighbours and has the widest reaching roots of all known trees,
easily covering several acres. It sends off new shoots from its roots, so that one tree is
really a tangle of branches, roots, and trunks.

Mango  (Manigifera indica)  is the National fruit of India. Mango is one of the most
widely grown fruits of the tropical countries. In India, mango is cultivated almost in
all parts, with the exception of hilly areas. Mango is a rich source of Vitamins A, C
and D. In India, we have hundreds of varieties of mangoes. They are of different
sizes, shapes and colours. Mangoes have been cultivated in India since time