National Aquatic Animal

National Aquatic Animal

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.

National River

National River

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  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.
The Ganga
 
“The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age long culture and civilization, ever changing , ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
  Gomukh – The Origin    
Gomukh
The river, about 2,510 km (1,560 mi) long, rises in a snowfield called THE GANGOTRI GLACIER, situated among three Himalayan mountains all more than 6,706 m (22,000 ft) high. It issues as the Bhagirathi River from an ice cave, 3,139 m (10,300 ft) above sea level, and falls 67 m per km (350 ft per mi). About 16 km (10 mi) from the source is Gangotri, the first temple on its banks and a traditional resort of pilgrims. At the village of Devaprayag, 214 km (133 mi) from the source, the Bhagirathi joins the Alaknanda to form the Ganges.
The Ganges, after descending 2,827 m (9,276 ft), or an average of about 11 m per km (60 ft per mi), flows west to the border of the great plain of Hindustan at Haridwar, 253 km (157 mi) from its source and 312 m (1,024 ft) above sea level. From Haridwar it continues south and then south-east to Allahabad after a winding course of 785 km (488 mi), made un navigable by shoals and rapids.
At Allahabad, the Ganges is joined by the Yamuna River from the south-west, and from that point the river flows east past Mirzapur, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Patna, Monghyr, and Bhagalpur, receiving on the south the Son River and on the north the Gumti, Ghaghara, Gandak, and Kosi rivers. In the Rajmahal Hills, at the head of the Ganges delta, 906 km (563 mi) from Allahabad, the river turns south and begins a descent of 455 km (283 mi) to the Bay of Bengal. Near Pakaur, the Bhagirathi (assuming the former name of the river) and, 114 km (71 mi) lower down, the Jalangi River branch off from the main stream, and after individual courses of 193 km (120 mi) each, unite again to form the Hooghly River, the westernmost and principal channel of navigation, on which the city of Calcutta stands. The main branch of the Ganges, from which numerous minor tributaries flow, continues in Bangladesh, as the Padma River, to the town of Shivalaya (Sibalay), where it unites with the Jamuna, the main branch of the Brahmaputra, and finally runs through the Meghna estuary into the Bay of Bengal.
Between the Meghna estuary and the western channel of the Hooghly River are the several mouths of the deltaic channels. The northern portion of the delta is fertile and well cultivated. The southern section consists mostly of swampland, known as the Sundarbans, because of the sundari tree that flourishes there. The marshes are inhabited by several species of crocodile. From year to year the Ganges exchanges old channels for new ones, particularly in the alluvial basin of its lower reaches. Like the Brahmaputra, the Ganges has been adversely affected by the deforestation of valleys in its upper course, causing flooding and an increase in sedimentation around the river’s delta in Bangladesh. This sometimes combines with coastal flooding caused by cyclones to produce inundation of the delta area on a massive scale.
The Ganges is regarded by Hindus as the most sacred river in the world. Many important religious ceremonies are held in cities on its banks, including Varanasi, Haridwar, and Allahabad. 
  The Ganges River Dolphin    
Ganga River Dolphin
The Ganges river dolphin (platanista gangetia) is found in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Karnaphuli and Hoogli river systems.  The river water is so muddy that vision is useless and so these dolphins are blind and their eyes have no lenses.  They use a sophisticated echolocation system to navigate and find food.  They eat shrimp and fish from the mud in river bottoms.  
They are solitary creatures and are only found in fresh water.  The Ganges river dolphin is an endangered species as a result of a number of factors.  These factors include the damming of rivers for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes, and the increase in boat traffic, fishing and pollution.  They are also hunted by humans for meat and oil.  There are only approximately 4000 – 6000 individuals left.
Formerly quite abundant, the overall population of Ganges river dolphins is reduced to probably fewer than 100 dolphins in Nepal, with the group of about 20 in the Karnali River above Chisapani being the largest single concentration. In the late 1980’s it was estimated that 4000 – 5000 susus inhabited the four major sections of the species’ range: 3000 – 3500 in the Gangetic deltaic zone, consisting of the Ganges below Farakka Barrage, the Brahmaputra below Tistamukhghat, and as far up the Meghna as Bairab Bazar; 500 – 750 in the Ganges River zone; 500 in the Brahmaputra River zone; and 750 in the Meghna River zone above Bairab Bazar. These figures do not appear to be based on a survey or any other kind of quantitative data, so they should be regarded as nothing more than informed guesses. About 45 dolphins were estimated in the Chambal River, a south-western tributary of the Ganges, in the early 1980s (Jones, 1982; Reeves and Brownell, 1989, Reyes, 1991 and refs. therein). In a more recent paper, Mohan et al. (1997) estimated the population of Ganges River dolphin in the river Brahmaputra from South Salmara to Sadiya to be 400. With an annual mortality of about 60, the population size has been reduced by 30% over the past 10 years.
However, according to the IWC (2000) population assessment has generally been based on counts of dolphins on relatively small segments of rivers, with no estimates of precision
  The Delta    
Satellite view of the  Ganga River Delta
The silt deposits of the delta cover an area of 23 000 sq miles (60 000 sq km).  The river courses in the delta are broad and active, carrying a vast amount of water.  The rains from June to October cause most of the Bangladeshi delta region to flood, leaving the villages that are built on artificially raised land isolated.
On the seaward side of the delta are swamplands and tidal forests called Sunderbans which are protected conservation areas in both Indian and Bangladeshi law.  The peat found in the delta is used for fertilizer and fuel.  The water supply to the river depends on the rains brought by the monsoon winds from July to October and the melting snow from the Himalayas during the period from April to June.  The delta also experiences strong cyclonic storms before and after the monsoon season which can be devastating.  In November 1970, for example, 200 000 – 500 000 people were killed in such storms.
The delta used to be densely forested and inhabited by many wild animals.  Today, however, it has become intensely cultivated to meet the needs of the growing population and many of the wild animals have disappeared.  The Royal Bengal Tiger still lives in the Sunderbans and kills about 30 villagers every year.  There remains high fish populations in the rivers which provides an important part of the inhabitants’ diet. Bird life in the Ganges basin is also prolific. 
  The Map    
Map of area covered by River Ganga
The river known as the Ganges is officially and popularly known by its Hindu name, Ganga.  The river has its source in the Himalayas, at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibetan border. It is 1 560 miles (2 510 km) long and flows through China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.  The Ganges river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated in the world and covers an area of 400 000 sq miles (1 000 000 sq km). The river flows through 29 cities with population over 100,000, 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 towns. 
  Dams on the Ganga    
Tehri Dam
There are two major dams on the Ganga. One at Haridwar diverts much of the Himalayan snowmelt into the Upper Ganges Canal, built by the British in 1854 to irrigate the surrounding land. This caused severe deterioration to the water flow in the Ganga, and is a major cause for the decay of Ganga as an inland waterway.
The other dam is a serious hydroelectric affair at Farakka, close to the point where the main flow of the river enters Bangladesh, and the tributary Hooghly (also known as Bhagirathi) continues in West Bengal past Calcutta. This barrage, which feeds the Hooghly branch of the river by a 26 mile long feeder canal, and its water flow management has been a long-lingering source of dispute with Bangladesh, which fortunately is likely to be resolved based on discussions held with the new Hasina government in Bangladesh in 1996 when I.K. Gujral was the Foreign Minister in India, Failure to resolve this has caused harm to both sides of the border for nearly two decades now. Bangladesh feels that the lack of flow in the summer months causes sedimentation and makes Bangladesh more prone to flood damages. At the same time, proposals for linking the Brahmaputra to the Ganges to improve the water flow in the Ganges is hanging fire. Also, the water management problem may actually involve a number of other riparian countries such as Nepal (where there has been tremendous deforestation, leading to greater silt content).
It is likely that Ganga carried more water around the time of the Roman Empire, when Patna was the major port city of Pataliputra. Even in the eighteenth century the ships of the East India Company would come to call at the port city of Tehri, on the Bhagirathi, one of the main source river of Ganga.
Another dam is proposed to be built on the upper reaches of a tributary of the Ganga, Mahakali, This Indo-Nepal project, the Pancheswar dam, proposes to be the highest dam in the world and will be built with US collaboration.
The upper and lower Ganga canal, which is actually the backbone of a network of canals, runs from Haridwar to Allahabad, but maintenance has not been very good and my personal experience is that it probably trickles out into a small river a little beyond Kanpur.
Ward’s Lake, located in the heart of Shillong, offers you a most pleasant beauty spot. The lake with gradually undulating grounds, hemmed in by lush greens, has a charming winding walk-a-way in the midst of rolling flowerbeds and fairyland lighting. The 100-year-old lake has a strikingly beautiful arched bridge. Boats of all sizes and shapes are available while the cafeteria provides you with refreshments. Other notable breathtaking beauty spots are Lady Hydari Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Crinoline swimming pool, Botanical Gardens, Shillong Peak with a 180-degree view of the city.

National Anthem

National Anthem

The National Anthem of India is played or sung on various occasions. Instructions have been issued from time to time about the correct versions of the Anthem, the occasions on which these are to be played or sung, and about the need for paying respect to the anthem by observance of proper decorum on such occasions. The substance of these instructions has been embodied in this information sheet for general information and guidance.

The National Anthem – Full & Short Versions

The composition consisting of the words and music of the first stanza of the late poet Rabindra Nath Tagore’s song known as “Jana Gana Mana” is the National Anthem of India. It reads as follows:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha
Dravida-Utkala-Banga
Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

The above is the full version of the Anthem and its playing time is approximately 52 seconds.
A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the National Anthem is also played on certain occasions. It reads as follows:

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Playing time of the short version is about 20 seconds. 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.

The occasions on which the full versions or the short version will be played have been indicated at the appropriate places in these instructions.

Playing of the Anthem

  1. The full version of the Anthem shall be played on the following occasions:
    1. Civil and Military investitures;
    2. When National Salute (which means the Command “Rashtriya Salute Salami Shastr” to the accompaniment of the National Anthem is given on ceremonial occasions to the President or to the Governor/Lieutenant Governor within their respective States/Union Territories;
    3. During parades irrespective of whether any of the dignitaries referred to in (ii) above is present or not;
    4. On arrival of the President at formal State functions and other functions organized by the Government and mass functions and on his departure from such functions;
    5. Immediately before and after the President addresses the Nation over All India Radio;
    6. On arrival of the Governor/Lieutenant Governor at formal State functions within his State/Union Territory and on his departure from such functions;
    7. When the National Flag is brought on parade;
    8. When the Regimental Colours are presented;
    9. For hoisting of colours in the Navy.
  2. The short version of the Anthem shall be played when drinking toasts in Messes.
  3. The Anthem shall be played on any other occasion for which special orders have been issued by the Government of India.
  4. Normally the Anthem shall not be played for the Prime Minister, though there may be special occasions when it may be played.
  5. When the National Anthem is played by a band, the Anthem will be preceded by a roll of drums to assist the audience to know that the National Anthem is going to be played, unless there is some other specific indication that the National Anthem is about to be played, as for example, when fanfares are sounded before the National Anthem is played, or when toasts are drunk to the accompaniment of the National Anthem or when the National Anthem constitutes the National Salute given by a Guard of Honour. The duration of the roll, in terms of marching drill, will be 7 paces in slow march. The roll will start slowly, ascend to as loud a volume as possible and then gradually decreases to original softness, but remaining audible until the seventh beat. One beat rest will then be observed before commencing the National Anthem.

Mass Singing of the Anthem

  1. The full version of the Anthem shall be played accompanied by mass singing on the following occasions:
    1. On the unfurling of the National Flag, on cultural occasions or ceremonial functions other than parades. (This could be arranged by having a choir or adequate size, suitably stationed, which would be trained to coordinate its singing with the band etc. There should be an adequate public audition system so that the gathering in various enclosures can sing in unison with the choir);
    2. On arrival of the President at any Government or Public function (but excluding formal State functions and mess functions) and also immediately before his departure from such functions.
  2. On all occasions when the National Anthem is sung, the full version shall be recited accompanied by mass singing.
  3. The Anthem may be sung on occasions which, although not strictly ceremonial, are nevertheless invested with significance because of the presence of Ministers etc. The singing of the Anthem on such occasions (with or without the accompaniment of an instruments) accompanied by mass singing is desirable.
  4. It is not possible to give an exhaustive list of occasions on which the singing (as distinct from playing) of the Anthem can be permitted. But there is no objection to the singing of the Anthem accompanied by mass singing so long as it is done with due respect as a salutation to the motherland and proper decorum is maintained.
  5. In all schools, the day’s work may begin with community singing of the anthem. School authorities should make adequate provision in their programmes for popularising the singing of the Anthem and promoting respect for the National Flag among students.

General

  1. Whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention. However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary the Anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.
  2. As in the case of the flying of the National Flag, it has been left to the good sense of the people not to indulge in indiscriminate singing or playing of the Anthem.

Source: India 2010

National Tree

National Tree

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.

National Flower

National Flower

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).

National Bird

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.

National Flag

National Flag

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 width 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.
The top saffron colour, indicates the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The green shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.
Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width 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.
It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered or recognised during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today.
This page in Hindi (External website that opens in a new window)

History of Indian Tricolor

“A flag is a necessity for all nations. Millions have died for it. It is no doubt a kind of idolatry which would be a sin to destroy. For, a flag represents an Ideal The unfurling of the Union Jack evokes in the English breast sentiments whose strength it is difficult to measure. The Stars and Stripes mean a world to the Americans. The Star and the Crescent will call forth the best bravery in Islam.”

“It will be necessary for us Indians Muslims, Christians Jews, Parsis, and all others to whom India is their home-to recognize a common flag to live and to die for.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Every free nation of the world has its own flag. It is a symbol of a free country. The National Flag of India was designed by Pingali Venkayyaand and adopted in its present form during the meeting of Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India’s independence from the British on 15 August, 1947. It served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter. In India, the term “tricolour” refers to the Indian national flag.
The National flag of India is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width 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 width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.

Evolution of the Tricolour

It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered or recognised during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today. In one way it reflects the political developments in the nation. Some of the historical milestones in the evolution of our National Flag involve the following:


Unofficial flag of India
in 1906


The Berlin committee
flag, first raised by
Bhikaiji Cama in 1907


The flag used during the
Home Rule movement
in 1917


The flag unofficially
adopted in 1921


The flag adopted in 1931.
This flag was also the
battle ensign of the
Indian National Army


The present Tricolour
flag of India

The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta now Kolkata. The flag was composed of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green.
The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 (according to some inl9OS). This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin.
The third flag went up in 1917 when our political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it during the Home rule movement. This flag had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
During the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada) an Andhra youth prepared a flag and took it to Gandhiji. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.
The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel at the center. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.
On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.

Colours of the Flag:

In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.

The Chakra:

This Dharma Chakra depicted the “wheel of the law” in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation.

Flag Code

On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where and any time, as long as the provisions of the Flag Code are strictly followed to avoid any disrespect to the tricolour. For the sake of convenience, Flag Code of India, 2002, has been divided into three parts. Part I of the Code contains general description of the National Flag. Part II of the Code is devoted to the display of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc. Part III of the Code relates to display of the National Flag by Central and State governments and their organisations and agencies.
There are some rules and regulations upon how to fly the flag, based on the 26 January 2002 legislation. These include the following:

The Do’s:

  • The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
  • A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
  • Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.

The Don’ts

  • The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
  • The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
  • No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolour cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team