National symbols of India

National symbols of India

February 25, 2017
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The Republic of India has several official national symbols including a historical document, a flag, an emblem, an anthem, a memorial tower as well as several national heroes. 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 22 July 1947.There are also several other symbols including the national animal, bird, flower, fruit and tree and game.

1.National flag – Flag of India

The National Flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour of India saffron, white and India green; with the Ashoka 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, and it became the official flag of the Dominion of India on 15 August 1947. The flag was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. In India, the term “tricolour” (Hindi: तिरंगा, Tiraṅgā) almost always refers to the Indian national flag. The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.

By law, the flag is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth or silk, made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The manufacturing process and specifications for the flag are laid out by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The right to manufacture the flag is held by the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission, who allocates it to regional groups. As of 2009, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha has been the sole manufacturer of the flag.

Usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India and other laws relating to the national emblems. The original code prohibited use of the flag by private citizens except on national days such as the Independence day and the Republic Day. In 2002, on hearing an appeal from a private citizen, Naveen Jindal, the Supreme Court of India directed the Government of India to amend the code to allow flag usage by private citizens. Subsequently, the Union Cabinet of India amended the code to allow limited usage. The code was amended once more in 2005 to allow some additional use including adaptations on certain forms of clothing. The flag code also governs the protocol of flying the flag and its use in conjunction with other national and non-national flags.

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Name Tiraṅgā (meaning “Tricolour”)
Use National flag
Proportion 2:3
Adopted 22 July 1947; 69 years ago
Design A horizontal triband of India saffron, white, and India green; charged with a navy blue wheel with 24 spokes in the centre
Designed by Pingali Venkayya

2.National emblem – State Emblem of India

The State Emblem of India, as the national emblem of India is called, is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, preserved in the Varanasi Sarnath Museum in India. It was adopted on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic.

The emblem forms a part of the official letterhead of the Government of India and appears on all Indian currency as well. It also functions as the national emblem of India in many places and appears prominently on Indian passports. The Ashoka Chakra (wheel) on its base features in the centre of the national flag of India.

The usage of the emblem is regulated and restricted under State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005. No individual or private organisation is permitted to use the emblem for official correspondence.

The actual Sarnath capital features four Asiatic lions standing back to back, symbolizing power, courage, confidence and pride mounted on a circular base. At the bottom is a horse and a bull, and at its centre is a beautiful wheel (Dharma chakra). The abacus is girded with a frieze of sculptures in high relief of an elephant (of the east), a bull (of the west), a horse (of the south), and a lion (of the north), separated by intervening wheels, over a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. Carved from a single block of sandstone, the polished capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

In the emblem adopted by Madhav Sawhney in 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 the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus beneath the abacus has been omitted.

Forming an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते (English: Truth Alone Triumphs). This is a quote from Mundaka Upanishad, the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas.

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3.National calendar – Saka calendar

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Saka calendar, is the official civil calendar in use in India along with the Vikram Samvat calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India.  The Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the “Day of Silence”, is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal’s Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar.

The term may also ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar; the Saka era is also commonly used by other calendars.

Calendar structure

The calendar months follow the signs of the tropical zodiac rather than the sidereal zodiac normally used with Hindu calendar.

# Month (Sanskrit) Length Start date (Gregorian) Tropical zodiac Tropical zodiac (Sanskrit)
1 Chaitra 30/31 March 22/21 Aries Meṣa
2 Vaishākha 31 April 21 Taurus Vṛṣabha
3 Jyēshtha 31 May 22 Gemini Mithuna
4 Āshādha 31 June 22 Cancer Karkata
5 Shrāvana 31 July 23 Leo Siṃha
6 Bhaadra 31 August 23 Virgo Kanyā
7 Āshwin 30 September 23 Libra Tulā
8 Kārtika 30 October 23 Scorpio Vṛścik‌‌‌a
9 Agrahayana 30 November 22 Sagitarius Dhanur
10 Pausha 30 December 22 Capricorn Makara
11 Māgha 30 January 21 Aquarius Kumbha
12 Phalguna 30 February 20 Pisces Mīna

4.National anthem  –  Jana Gana Mana

Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India. Written in Bengali, the first of five stanzas of the Brahmo hymn titled Bharot Bhagyo Bidhata  are attributed to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The underlying message of Jana Gana Mana is pluralism.

It was adopted in its Hindi version  by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. (the “Hindi version” essentially means simply that the Inherent vowel is changed from ô to ə in the official variation, no literal translation is done, nor is necessary, since the Sanskrit words mean the same in all Indian languages) It was sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta (now, Kolkata) Session of the Indian National Congress. A formal rendition of the national anthem takes fifty-two seconds. A shortened version consisting of the first and last lines (and taking about 20 seconds to play) is also staged occasionally.

Lyrics

The poem is written in a literary register of the Bengali language called sadhu bhasa. The song has been written almost entirely using nouns that also can function as verbs. Most of the nouns of the song are in use in all major languages in India. Therefore, the original song is quite clearly understandable, and in fact, remains almost unchanged in several widely different Indian languages. The transcription below reflects the Bengali pronunciation, in both the Bengali script and romanisation.

जन गण मन

जनगणमन अधिनायक जय हे, भारतभाग्यविधाता।
पंजाब सिंध गुजरात मराठा, द्रविड़ उत्कल बंग।
विंध्य हिमाचल यमुना गंगा, उच्छल जलधि तरंग।
तव शुभ नामे जागे, तव शुभ आशिष मागे।
गाहे तव जयगाथा।
जनगणमंगलदायक जय हे, भारतभाग्यविधाता।
जय हे, जय हे, जय हे, जय जय जय जय हे॥

5.National song – Vande Mataram

Vande Mataram (Devanagari: वन्दे मातरम्, Bengali: বন্দে মাতরম্, Vande Mātaram) is a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870s, which he included in his 1881 novel Anandamath. The first two verses of the song were adopted as the national song of India in 1937.

An Ode to Durga as the Mother goddess, it was written in Sanskrit and Bengali. The title ‘Vande Mataram’ literally means “I praise thee, Mother” or “I bow to thee, Mother”.  The “mother goddess” in later verses of the song has been interpreted as Mother Bengal and Mother India, though the text does not mention this explicitly.

It played a vital role in the Indian independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.  It became a popular marching song for political activism and Indian freedom movement in 1905. Spiritual Indian nationalist and philosopher Sri Aurobindo referred it as “National Anthem of Bengal”. The song and the novel containing it was banned by the British government, but workers and general public defied the ban, many went to colonial prisons repeatedly for singing it, and the ban was overturned by the Indians after they gained independence from the colonial rule.

In 1950 (after India’s independence), the song’s first two verses of the song were declared the “national song” of the Republic of India, distinct from the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana. The first two verses of the song are an abstract reference to mother and motherland, they do not mention any Hindu deity by name, unlike later verses that do explicitly mention goddesses such as Durga. There is no time limit or circumstantial specification for the rendition of this song [unlike the national anthem Jana Gana Mana that specifies 52 seconds].

Etymology

The root of the Sanskrit word Vande is Vand, which appears in Rigveda and other Vedic texts.   According to Monier Monier-Williams, depending on the context, vand means “to praise, celebrate, laud, extol, to show honour, do homage, salute respectfully”, or “deferentially, venerate, worship, adore”, or “to offer anything respectfully to”.  The word Mātaram has Indo-European roots in mātár- (Sanskrit), méter (Greek), mâter (Latin) which mean “mother”.

Lyrics

The two verses of Vande Mataram adopted as the “National song” read as follows:

वन्दे मातरम्

वन्दे मातरम्।
सुजलाम् सुफलाम्
मलयज शीतलाम्
सस्यश्यामलाम्
मातरम्।
वन्दे मातरम्।

शुभ्रज्योत्स्नाम्
पुलकितयामिनीम्
फुल्लकुसुमित
द्रुमदलशोभिनीम्
सुहासिनीम्
सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदाम् वरदाम्
मातरम्।।
वन्दे मातरम्।

6.Oath of allegiance – National Pledge

The National Pledge is an oath of allegiance to the Republic of India. It is commonly recited by Indians in unison at public events, especially in schools, and during the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations. It is commonly found printed in the opening pages of school textbooks.

The pledge was originally composed in Telugu language by writer Pydimarri Venkata Subba Rao in 1962. It was first read out in a school in Visakhapatnam in 1963 and was subsequently translated into various regional languages.

Origin

The Indian national pledge was composed by Pydimarri Venkata Subba Rao. Subbarao, a noted author in Telugu and a bureaucrat, composed the pledge while serving as the District Treasury Officer of Visakhapatnam District in 1962. He presented it to the senior Congress leader Tenneti Viswanadam who forwarded it to the then Education Minister P.V.G. Raju. He was born in Anneparti, Nalgonda District, Telangana.He was an expert in Telugu, Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Arabic languages. He worked as Treasury officer in the state of Hyderabad. After the formation of AP, He worked in Khammam, Nizamabad, Nellore, Visakhapatnam, Nalgonda Districts. The Pledge was introduced in many schools in 1963.

The Indian National Pledge is commonly recited by Indians at public events, during daily assemblies in many Indian schools, and during the Independence Day and Republic Day commemoration ceremonies. Unlike the National Anthem or the National Song, whose authors are well known in India, P.V. Subbarao, the author of the pledge remains largely a little-known figure, his name being mentioned neither in the books nor in any documents. Records with the Human Resources Development Ministry of the Government of India however record Subbarao as the author of the pledge. Subbarao himself is thought to have been unaware of its status as the National Pledge with a position on par with the National Anthem and the National Song. Apparently, he came to know about this when his granddaughter was reading the pledge from her textbook.

The Pledge

India is my country.
All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country, and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall respect my parents, teachers and all elders and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion.
In their well being and prosperity alone lies my happiness

7.National flower – Nelumbo nucifera(Lotus)

“Lotus Flower” redirects here. For the Woody Shaw album, see Lotus Flower (Woody Shaw album). For the Radiohead song, see Lotus Flower (song). For the religious symbol, see Padma (attribute).

Nelumbo nucifera, also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. (These names are obsolete synonyms and should be avoided in current works.) This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

Native to Tropical Asia, Queensland and Australia, it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is also the national flower of India, and Vietnam.

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Classification

While all modern plant taxonomy systems agree that this species belongs in the genus Nelumbo, the systems disagree as to which family Nelumbo should be placed in, or whether the genus should belong in its own unique family and order.

The lotus is often confused with the water lilies (Nymphaea, in particular Nymphaea caerulea “blue lotus”). In fact, several older systems, such as the Bentham & Hooker system (which is widely used in the Indian subcontinent) call the lotus Nymphaea nelumbo or Nymphaea stellata. This is, however, evolutionarily incorrect. Far from being in the same family, Nymphaea and Nelumbo are members of different orders (Nymphaeales and Proteales, respectively). Adding to the confusion, some sources have used the scientific name Nymphaea stellata for another species called Blue Lotus or nil mānel in Sinhalese, which is the national flower of both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Nelumbonaceae
Genus: Nelumbo
Species: N. nucifera
Binomial name
Nelumbo nucifera
Gaertn.
Synonyms
  • Nelumbium speciosum Willd.
  • Nymphaea nelumbo
  • Nymphaea stellata

8.National fruit – Mango

Mangoes are juicy stone fruit (drupe) belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South Asia, from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics.

While other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, Mangifera foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis, Mangifera indica—the “common mango” or “Indian mango”—is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions.

It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh.

Description

Mango trees grow to 35–40 m (115–131 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots; the tree also sends down many anchor roots, which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long, and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. Over 400 varieties of mangoes are known, many of which ripen in summer, while some give double crop. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.

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The ripe fruit varies in size and color. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red, or green, and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, and which does not separate easily from the pulp. Ripe, unpeeled mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long. The seed contains the plant embryo. Mangoes have recalcitrant seeds; they do not survive freezing and drying.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Mangifera
Species: M. indica
Binomial name
Mangifera indica
L.
Synonyms
Mangifera austro-yunnanensisHu

9.National river – Ganges(Ganga)

The Ganges (/ˈɡænz/ gan-jeez), also Ganga (Hindustani: [ˈɡəŋɡaː]) is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) 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. It is the third largest river in the world by discharge.

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus. It is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshipped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically, with many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Pataliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Kashi, Patna, Hajipur, Munger, Bhagalpur, Murshidabad, Baharampur, Kampilya, and Kolkata) located on its banks.

The Ganges was ranked as the fifth most polluted river of the world in 2007. Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. The Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1985. An environmental initiative to clean up the river has been a major failure thus far, due to corruption, lack of technical expertise, poor environmental planning, and lack of support from religious authorities.

The name “Ganges”, ending in “-es”, came to English via Latin from Ancient Greek sources, particularly from accounts of Alexander the Great’s wars. Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal are the states through which Ganga flows.

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Countries  India,  Bangladesh
States Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajshahi,Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong
Tributaries
 – left Ramganga, Gomti, Ghaghara,Gandaki, Koshi, Mahananda
 – right Yamuna, Tamsa, Son, Punpun
Cities Rishikesh, Haridwar, Farrukhabad,Kanpur, Jajmau, Allahabad,Mirzapur, Varanasi, Ghazipur,Buxar, Ballia, Patna, Hajipur,Munger, Bhagalpur, Raebareli
Source Gangotri Glacier, Satopanth Glacier, Khatling Glacier, and waters from melted snow from such peaks as Nanda Devi, Trisul, Kedarnath, Nanda Kot, and Kamet.
 – location Uttarakhand, India
 – elevation 3,892 m (12,769 ft)
 – coordinates 30°59′N 78°55′E
Length 2,525 km (1,569 mi) [1]
Basin 1,080,000 km2 (416,990 sq mi) [2]
Discharge for Farakka Barrage
 – average 16,648 m3/s (587,919 cu ft/s) [3]
 – max 70,000 m3/s (2,472,027 cu ft/s)
 – min 2,000 m3/s (70,629 cu ft/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 – Bay of Bengal 38,129 m3/s (1,346,513 cu ft/s)

10.National tree – Ficus benghalensis

Ficus benghalensis, colloquially denominated the “Indian banyan“, is a tree which is native to the Indian Subcontinent. Specimens in India are among the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage.

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Ecology

Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground they grow into woody trunks.The figs produced by the tree are eaten by birds such as the Indian myna. Fig seeds that pass through the digestive system of birds are more likely to germinate and sprout earlier.

Cultural significance

The tree is considered sacred in India, and temples are often built beneath. Due to the large size of the tree’s canopy it provides useful shade in hot climates.In Theravada Buddhism, this tree is said to have been used as the tree for achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi by the twenty fourth Lord Buddha called “Kassapa – කස්සප”. The sacred plant is known as “Nuga – නුග” or “Maha nuga – මහ නුග” in Sri Lanka.

Notable specimens

The giant banyans of India are the largest trees in the world by area of canopy coverage. The largest, known specimen of tree in the world in terms of the two dimensional area covered by its canopy is Thimmamma Marrimanu in Andhra Pradesh, India, which covers 19,107 m2(4.721 acres). This tree is also the largest, known specimen of tree in the world in terms of the length of its perimeter, which measures 846 m (2,776 ft).

Nearchus, an admiral of Alexander the Great, described a large specimen on the banks of the Narmada River in contemporary Bharuch, Gujarat, India; he may have described the specimen presently named “Kabirvad”. The canopy of the specimen which Nearchus described was so extensive that it sheltered 7,000 men. James Forbes later described it in his Oriental Memoirs (1813-5) as almost 610 m (2,000 ft) in circumference and having more than 3,000 trunks. Modernly the area of its canopy is circa 3 square kilometers.

Other notable Indian specimens include The Great Banyan in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Shibpur, Howrah, which has a canopy area of 18,918 m2 (4.675 acres) and is circa 250 years old, and Dodda Aladha Mara in Kettohalli, Karnataka, which has a canopy area of 12,000 m2 (3.0 acres) and is circa 400 years old.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Subgenus: Urostigma
Species: Ficus benghalensis
Binomial name
Ficus benghalensis
L. 1753
Synonyms
  • Ficus banyana Oken
  • Ficus benghalensis var. krishnae (C. D. C.) Corner
  • Ficus chauvieri G. Nicholson
  • Ficus cotoneifolia Vahl
  • Ficus cotonifolia Stokes
  • Ficus crassinervia Kunth & C. D. Bouché
  • Ficus karet Baill.
  • Ficus krishnae C. D. C.
  • Ficus lancifolia Moench
  • Ficus lasiophylla Link
  • Ficus procera Salisb.
  • Ficus pubescens B. Heyne ex Roth
  • Ficus umbrosa Salisb.
  • Perula benghalensis Raf.
  • Urostigma benghalense (L.) Gasp.
  • Urostigma crassirameum Miq.
  • Urostigma procerum Miq.
  • Urostigma pseudorubrum Miq.
  • Urostigma rubescens Miq.
  • Urostigma sundaicum Miq.
  • Urostigma tjiela Miq.[1]

11.National animal – Bengal tiger

The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the most numerous tiger subspecies. By 2011, the total population was estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. None of the ‘Tiger Conservation Landscapes’ within the Bengal tiger’s range is considered large enough to support an effective population size of 250 adult individuals. Since 2010, it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

As of 2010, Bengal tiger populations in India have been estimated at 1,706–1,909. As of 2014, they had reputedly increased to an estimated 2,226 individuals, but the method used in the census may not be accurate.

Bengal tigers number around 440 in Bangladesh and 163–253 in Nepal. Prior censuses placed the population of tigers in Bhutan at around 65-75 individuals, however, the latest census estimated that 103 wild Bengal tigers are living in the country.

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Bengal is traditionally fixed as the typical locality for the binomen Panthera tigris, to which the British taxonomist Reginald Innes Pocock subordinated the Bengal tiger in 1929 under the trinomen Panthera tigris tigris. The Bengal, Caspian and Siberian tigers, and lion rank among the biggest cats.

Characteristics

The Bengal tiger’s coat is yellow to light orange, with stripes ranging from dark brown to black; the belly and the interior parts of the limbs are white, and the tail is orange with black rings. The white tiger is a recessive mutant of the Bengal tiger, which is reported in the wild from time to time in Assam, Bengal, Bihar and especially from the former State of Rewa. However, it is not to be mistaken as an occurrence of albinism. In fact, there is only one fully authenticated case of a true albino tiger, and none of black tigers, with the possible exception of one dead specimen examined in Chittagong in 1846.

Male Bengal tigers have an average total length of 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in) including the tail, while females measure 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in) on average. The tail is typically 85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in) long, and on average, tigers are 90 to 110 cm (35 to 43 in) in height at the shoulders. The weight of males ranges from 180 to 258 kg (397 to 569 lb), while that of the females ranges from 100 to 160 kg (220 to 350 lb). The smallest recorded weights for Bengal tigers are from the Bangladesh Sundarbans, where adult females are 75 to 80 kg (165 to 176 lb). Bengal tigers have exceptionally stout teeth, and the canines are the longest among all living felids; measuring from 7.5 to 10 cm (3.0 to 3.9 in) in length.

Genetic ancestry

Bengal tigers are defined by three distinct mitochondrial nucleotide sites and 12 unique microsatellite alleles. The pattern of genetic variation in the Bengal tiger corresponds to the premise that they arrived in India approximately 12,000 years ago. This is consistent with the lack of tiger fossils from the Indian subcontinent prior to the late Pleistocene and the absence of tigers from Sri Lanka, which was separated from the subcontinent by rising sea levels in the early Holocene.

Body weight

Bengal tigers may weigh up to 325 kg (717 lb) and reach a head and body length of 320 cm (130 in). Several scientists indicated that adult male Bengal tigers from Nepal, Bhutan, and Assam, Uttarakhand and West Bengal in northern India (collectively, the tigers of the Terai) consistently attain more than 227 kg (500 lb) of body weight. Seven adult males captured in Chitwan National Park in the early 1970s had an average weight of 235 kg (518 lb) ranging from 200 to 261 kg (441 to 575 lb), and that of the females was 140 kg (310 lb) ranging from 116 to 164 kg (256 to 362 lb). Males from northern India are nearly as large as Siberian tigers with a greatest length of skull of 332 to 376 mm (13.1 to 14.8 in).

Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Panthera
Species: P. tigris
Subspecies: P. t. tigris
Trinomial name
Panthera tigris tigris

12.National aquatic animal – Dolphin

The South Asian river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is a freshwater or river dolphin found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan which is split into two subspecies, the Ganges river dolphin (P. g. gangetica) and Indus river dolphin (P. g. minor). The Ganges river dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, while the Indus river dolphin is found in the Indus River in Pakistan and its Beas and Sutlej tributaries. From the 1970s until 1998, they were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species (see taxonomy below). The Ganges river dolphin has been recognized by the government of India as its National Aquatic Animal. The Indus river dolphin has been named as the National Mammal of Pakistan.[4] Further, the Gangetic river dolphin has been elected to be the city animal of the Indian city of Guwahati.

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Taxonomy

The species was described by two separate authors, Lebeck and Roxburgh, in 1801, and it is unclear to whom the original description should be ascribed. Until the 1970s, the South Asian river dolphin was regarded as a single species. The two subspecies are geographically separate and have not interbred for many hundreds if not thousands of years. Based on differences in skull structure, vertebrae and lipid composition scientists declared the two populations as separate species in the early 1970s. In 1998, the results of these studies were questioned and the classification reverted to the pre-1970 consensus of a single species containing two subspecies until the taxonomy could be resolved using modern techniques such as molecular sequencing. The latest analyses of mitochondrial DNA of the two subspecies did not display the variances needed to support their classification as separate species. Thus, at present, this one species with two subspecies is recognized in the genus Platanista, the P. g. gangetica (Ganges river dolphin) and the P. g. minor (Indus river dolphin).

Synonyms
  • blind river dolphin, side-swimming dolphin
  • Ganges subspecies: Gangetic dolphin, Ganges susushushuk
  • Indus subspecies: bhulan, Indus dolphin, Indus blind dolphin

Description

The South Asian river dolphin has the long, pointed nose characteristic of all river dolphins. Its teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed. The teeth of young animals are almost an inch long, thin and curved; however, as animals age, the teeth undergo considerable changes and in mature adults become square, bony, flat disks. The snout thickens towards its end. The species does not have a crystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation. They are unique among cetaceans in that they swim on their sides. The body is a brownish color and stocky at the middle. The species has only a small, triangular lump in the place of a dorsal fin. The flippers and tail are thin and large in relation to the body size, which is about 2-2.2 meters in males and 2.4-2.6 m in females. The oldest recorded animal was a 28-year-old male, 199 cm in length. Mature females are larger than males. Sexual dimorphism is expressed after females reach about 150 cm (59 in); the female rostrum continues to grow after the male rostrum stops growing, eventually reaching approximately 20 cm (7.9 in) longer.

Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Platanistidae
Gray, 1846
Genus: Platanista
Wagler, 1830
Species: P. gangetica
Binomial name
Platanista gangetica
(Lebeck, 1801); (Roxburgh, 1801)
Subspecies
Platanista gangetica gangetica
Platanista gangetica minor

13.National bird – Indian peafowl(Peacock)

The Indian peafowl or blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus), a large and brightly coloured bird, is a species of peafowl native to South Asia, but introduced in many other parts of the world.

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The male, or peacock, is predominantly blue with a fan-like crest of spatula-tipped wire-like feathers and is best known for the long train made up of elongated upper-tail covert feathers which bear colourful eyespots. These stiff feathers are raised into a fan and quivered in a display during courtship. Peahens lack the train, and have a greenish lower neck and duller brown plumage. The Indian peafowl lives mainly on the ground in open forest or on land under cultivation where they forage for berries, grains but also prey on snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Their loud calls make them easy to detect, and in forest areas often indicate the presence of a predator such as a tiger. They forage on the ground in small groups and usually try to escape on foot through undergrowth and avoid flying, though they fly into tall trees to roost.

The function of the peacock’s elaborate train has been debated for over a century. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin found it a puzzle, hard to explain through ordinary natural selection. His later explanation, sexual selection, is widely but not universally accepted. In the 20th century, Amotz Zahavi argued that the train was a handicap, and that males were honestly signalling their fitness in proportion to the splendour of their trains. Despite extensive study, opinions remain divided on the mechanisms involved.

Taxonomy and naming

Carl Linnaeus in his work Systema Naturae in 1758 assigned to the Indian peafowl the technical name of Pavo cristatus (means “crested peafowl” in classical Latin).

The earliest usage of the word in written English is from around 1300 and spelling variants include pecok, pekok, pecokk, peacocke, peocock, pyckock, poucock, pocok, pokok, pokokke, and poocok among others. The current spelling was established in the late 17th century. Chaucer (1343–1400) used the word to refer to a proud and ostentatious person in his simile “proud a pekok” in Troilus and Criseyde (Book I, line 210).

The Greek word for peacock was taos and was related to the Persian “tavus” (as in Takht-i-Tâvus for the famed Peacock Throne). The Hebrew word tuki (plural tukkiyim) has been said to have been derived from the Tamil tokei but sometimes traced to the Egyptian tekh.

Description

Peacocks are a larger sized bird with a length from bill to tail of 100 to 115 cm (39 to 45 in) and to the end of a fully grown train as much as 195 to 225 cm (77 to 89 in) and weigh 4–6 kg (8.8–13.2 lb). The females, or peahens, are smaller at around 95 cm (37 in) in length and weigh 2.75–4 kg (6.1–8.8 lb). Indian peafowl are among the largest and heaviest representatives of the Phasianidae. Their size, colour and shape of crest make them unmistakable within their native distribution range. The male is metallic blue on the crown, the feathers of the head being short and curled. The fan-shaped crest on the head is made of feathers with bare black shafts and tipped with bluish-green webbing. A white stripe above the eye and a crescent shaped white patch below the eye are formed by bare white skin. The sides of the head have iridescent greenish blue feathers. The back has scaly bronze-green feathers with black and copper markings. The scapular and the wings are buff and barred in black, the primaries are chestnut and the secondaries are black. The tail is dark brown and the “train” is made up of elongated upper tail coverts (more than 200 feathers, the actual tail has only 20 feathers) and nearly all of these feathers end with an elaborate eye-spot. A few of the outer feathers lack the spot and end in a crescent shaped black tip. The underside is dark glossy green shading into blackish under the tail. The thighs are buff coloured. The male has a spur on the leg above the hind toe.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Genus: Pavo
Species: P. cristatus
Binomial name
Pavo cristatus
Linnaeus, 1758

14.National currency – Indian Rupee

The Indian rupee (sign: ₹; code: INR), is the official currency of the Republic of India. The rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa), though as of 2011, 25 paise is no more a legal tender. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India. The Reserve Bank manages currency in India and derives its role in currency management on the basis of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The rupee is named after the silver coin, rupiya, first issued by Sultan Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century and later continued by the Mughal Empire.

In 2010, a new symbol ‘₹’, was officially adopted. It was derived from the combination of the Devanagari consonant “र” (ra) and the Latin capital letter “R” without its vertical bar (similar to the R rotunda). The parallel lines at the top (with white space between them) are said to make an allusion to the tricolour Indian flag, and also depict an equality sign that symbolises the nation’s desire to reduce economic disparity. The first series of coins with the new rupee symbol started in circulation on 8 July 2011.

In a major step to check undeclared black money, the Government of India on the 8 November 2016 announced demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes with effect from the same day’s midnight, making these notes invalid. Apart from combating black money, the stated purpose is also to eliminate fake currency (used to finance terrorism) and corruption A newly redesigned series of ₹500 banknote, in addition to a new denomination of ₹2000 banknote is in circulation since 10 November 2016. The new redesigned series is also expected to be introduced to the banknote denominations of ₹1000, ₹100 and ₹50 in the coming months.

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Etymology

The word “rupee” was derived from the Sanskrit word रूप्यकम् (rūpyakam) or rupaya (meaning “wrought silver, a coin of silver”). The modern Indian rupee has a direct lineage from the rupiya, the silver coin, issued by Sher Shah Suri (1540—1545), continued by the Mughal rulers. Arthashastra, written by Chanakya, prime minister to the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta Maurya (c 340–290 BCE), mentions silver coins as rūpyarupa, other types of coins including gold coins (Suvarṇarūpa), copper coins (Tāmrarūpa) and lead coins (Sīsarūpa) are also mentioned. Rūpa means to form or shape, example, Rūpyarūpa, rūpya — wrought silver, rūpa — form.

However, in the region of Bengal, the term taka has always been used to refer to currency. In the 14th century, Ibn Battuta noticed that people in the Bengal Sultanate referred to gold and silver coins as taka instead of the dinar. Today, the currency of Bangladesh is officially known as taka. The word taka in Bengali is also commonly used generically to mean any money, currency, or notes. Thus, colloquially, a person speaking in Bengali may use “taka” to refer to money regardless of what currency it is denominated in. Thus, in the states of West Bengal and Tripura the Indian rupee is officially known টাকা (ṭaka). Whereas, in the states of Assam and Odisha, the Indian rupee is similarly known by names derived from the Sanskrit word ṭaṅka (meaning “money”), টকা (ṭôka) in Assamese and ଟଙ୍କା (taṅkā) in Odia.

History

The history of the Indian rupee traces back to Ancient India in circa 6th century BCE, ancient India was one of the earliest issuers of coins in the world, along with the Chinese wen and Lydian staters.

During his five-year rule from 1540 to 1545, Sultan Sher Shah Suri issued a coin of silver, weighing 178 grains (or 11.53 grams), which was termed the Rupiya. The silver coin remained in use during the Mughal period, Maratha era as well as in British India. Among the earliest issues of paper rupees include; the Bank of Hindustan (1770–1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773–75, established by Warren Hastings), and the Bengal Bank (1784–91).

Indian Rupee ₹
ISO 4217
Code INR
Number 356
Exponent 2
Denominations
Subunit
 1/100 paisa
Symbol
paisa p
Banknotes
 Freq. used ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500, ₹2000
 Rarely used ₹1, ₹2, ₹5
Coins
 Freq. used ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10
 Rarely used 5 Paise, 10 Paise, 20 Paise
Demographics
Official user(s)  India
Unofficial user(s)  Bhutan[a]
   Nepal[b]
 Zimbabwe[c][1]
Issuance
Central bank Reserve Bank of India
Printer Reserve Bank of India
 Website www.rbi.org.in
Mint India Government Mint
 Website www.spmcil.com
Valuation
Inflation 4.9%, 2015-16
 Source RBI – Annual Inflation Report
 Method CPI[2]
Pegged by Bhutanese ngultrum (at par)
Nepalese rupee (1 INR = 1.6 NPR) 

Source

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