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 tail of around 200 elongated feathers. The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male and lacks the tail. 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.
India is rich in flora. Currently available data place India in the tenth position in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. From about 70 per cent geographical area surveyed so far, 47,000 species of plants have been described by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
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.
The Ganga or Ganges is the longest river of India flowing over 2,510 kms of mountains, valleys and plains. It originates in the snowfields of the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas as the Bhagirathi River. It is later joined by other rivers such as the Alaknanda, Yamuna, Son, Gumti, Kosi and Ghagra. The Ganga river basin(External website that opens in a new window) is one of the most fertile and densely populated areas of the world and covers an area of 1,000,000 sq. kms. There are two dams on the river - one at Haridwar and the other at Farakka. The Ganges River Dolphin is an endangered animal that specifically habitats this river.
The Ganga is revered by Hindus as the most sacred river on earth. Key religious ceremonies are held on the banks of the river at cities such as Varanasi, Haridwar and Allahabad. The Ganga widens out into the Ganges Delta in the Sunderbans swamp of Bangladesh, before it ends its journey by emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India. This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water. Platanista gangetica has a long pointed snout and also have visible teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. Their eyes lack a lens and therefore function solely as a means of detecting the direction of light. Dolphins tend to swim with one fin trailing along the substrate while rooting around with their beak to catch shrimp and fish. Dolphins have a fairly thick body with light grey-brown skin often with a hue of pink. The fins are large and the dorsal fin is triangular and undeveloped. This mammal has a forehead that rises steeply and has very small eyes. River Dolphins are solitary creatures and females tend to be larger than males. They are locally known as susu, because of the noise it makes while breathing. This species inhabits parts of the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and the Karnaphuli River in Bangladesh.
River dolphin is a critically endangered species in India and therefore, has been included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The main reasons for decline in population of the species are poaching and habitat degradation due to declining flow, heavy siltation, construction of barrages causing physical barrier for this migratory species.
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 widtth 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 widtth 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, took effect from 26 January 2002 and superseded the 'Flag Code-Indias' as it existed. As per the provisions of the Flag Code of India, 2002, there are 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 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:
Gazette of India.
News broadcast by All India Radio.
Calendars issued by the Government of India.
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 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:
The English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo in prose 1 is:
I bow to thee, Mother,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.