"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."
The beautiful subcontinent of India lies in south Asia, between Pakistan, China and Nepal. To the north it is bordered by the world's highest mountain chain, “The Himalayas”. It has plateaus, tropical rain forests, sandy deserts and is bordered by palm fringed beaches. Just like the staggering topographical variations it has its cultural diversity. One one hand India has the towering temples of south India and on the other in the desert of Kutch, Gujarat, a scattering of villages stand stoutly against the awesome forces of nature, resulting in Spartan lifestyles made vibrant by a colorful jewelry and embroidery of clothes. In the extreme north is the high altitude desert of Ladakh where local culture is shaped by the faith (Buddhism) and by the harsh terrain. On East corner live the tribes of the north eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur with their colorful folk culture.
India's history goes back to several thousand years BC when Hinduism was first founded. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism all were founded in India. Today India has true multi religional face as Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism all exist in harmony. Modern India is home alike to the tribals and to the sophisticated urban jetsetters. It is a land where elephants and cars both travel on road amicably.
India’s National flag is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. It is called “Tiranga Jhanda”. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is 2:3. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel, which represents the Ashoka Chakra. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
The song “Jana-gana-mana”, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version as the national anthem of India. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song has five stanzas but only the first stanza was adopted as National anthem.
Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!
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 Vindyas 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.
The State emblem is an adaptation from the “Sarnath Lion” Capital of Ashoka. In the State emblem, 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 words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.
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. Only the first 2 stanzas are adopted as national song. The following is the text of this song in original.
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
Following is the English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo.
I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited, cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests, The Mother!
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.
The magnificent tiger, Panthera Tigris (Linnaeus), is a striped animal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India. Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region and also in the neighboring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.