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 lhras the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza:Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitajam,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
The English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo in prose’ 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.
The National Tree of India is The Banyan Tree. This huge tree towers over its neighbors 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. The banyan tree regenerates and lives for an incredible length of time–thus it is thought of as the immortal tree.
Its size and leafy shelter are valued in India as a place of rest and reflection, not to mention protection from the hot sun! It is still the focal point and gathering place for local councils and meetings. India has a long history of honoring this tree; it figures prominently in many of the oldest stories of the nation.
The Mango is the national fruit. It has been cultivated in India since time immemorial. There are over 100 varieties of mangos in India, in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes. Common in the tropical part of the world, mangos are savored for their sweet juice and bright colors.People in India eat mangos ripe, or prepare them green as pickles or chutneys. They are rich in vitamin A, C, and D. The poet Kalidasa sang its praises. Alexander the great savoured its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang. Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhibagh.
Lotus scientifically known as Nelumbo Nucifera 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 Lotus symbolises divinity, fertility, wealth, knowledge and not to forget enlightenment. Lending to its uniqueness, the flower grows in murky waters and rises on a long stalk above the surface to bloom glorious. It is also a symbol of triumph, since the lotus is rooted in the mud and can survive to regerminate for thousands of years. It represents long life, honor, and good fortune.Untouched by the impurity, lotus symbolises the purity of heart and mind. Human beings are instructed by Indian scripture to live a life of non-attachment, which is very hard. The lotus holds additional significance for Hindus, as it is a symbol of God and used often in religious practices. Then in Indian thought, there is the last and final lotus – Charan Kamal or lotus feet of the Almighty. It was this depth of thought that made the founding fathers of modern India enshrine the lotus in the Constitution as the National Flower.
The Peacock, Pavo cristatus (Linnaeus), the national bird of India. It is symbolic of qualities like beauty, grace, pride and mysticism. Peacocok 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 train of around 200 elongated feathers it is able to expand its tail erect like fan as ostentatious display. The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male, and lacks the train. These birds do not sound as beautiful as they look they have a harsh call. The elaborate courtship dance of the male, fanning out the tail and preening its feathers is a beautiful sight.The peacock is widely found in the Indian sub-continent from the south and east of the Indus river, Jammu and Kashmir, east Assam, south Mizoram and the whole of the Indian peninsula. 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 Peacock is depicted in picture with the company of Indian Gods and Goddesses. It is the sacred bird of the India, protected not only by a religious sentiment but also by parliamentary statute. It is fully protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The Tiger – Lord of the Indian Jungles, is the National Animal of India. The tiger is the symbol of India’s wealth of wildlife.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. 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. To check the dwindling population of tigers 1 As published in Volume Eight of Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Popular Edition 1972.
Tigers are now getting extinct. The Government of India, under its Project Tiger programme, started a massive effort to preserve the tiger population in 1973. Today, the tiger advances as a symbol of India’s conservation of itself its wildlife heritage.