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National Anthem

The song "Jana-gana-mana", composed by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the national anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas. The first stanza consists of the full version of the National Anthem. It reads:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka,
jaya he Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Punjaba-Sindhu-Gujarata-Maratha
Dravida-Utkala-Banga
Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mange,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
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 first and last lines of the stanza (playing time approximately 20 seconds) is also played on certain occasions. The following is Tagore's English rendering of the anthem:

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.

Click here for sound clip of the national anthem.

National Emblem

The national emblem of India is a replica of the Lion at Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where the Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation. 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), symbolising power, courage and confidence, rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals, that are considered 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 tricolour 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 2:3. 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; and the green for faith and fertility.

National Animal - Tiger

The large Asiatic carnivorous feline quadruped, Panthera tigris, maneless, of tawny yellow colour with blackish transverse stripes and white belly, proverbial for its power and its magnificence, is the national animal of India.

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 is in a comfortable position.

National Bird - Peacock

The male bird of species Pavo cristatus, the peacock is a native of India, with striking plumage and upper tail converts marked with iridescent ocelli, and able to expand its tail erect like fan as ostentatious display. Peacocks are related to pheasants.

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 waterlily is an aquatic plant of Nymphaea family 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.

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