National Emblem | 19 Jul 2022

For Prelims: State Emblem, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Architecture, National Symbols

For Mains: Significance of State Emblem, Uses of State Emblem, Significance of Mauryan Empire and Architecture, National Symbols of India

Why in News?

The Prime Minister of India unveiled the 6.5 metre-tall National Emblem on top of the under-construction new Parliament building recently.

What do we know about the National Emblem of India?

  • About:
    • The State Emblem of India is the national emblem of the Republic of India and is used by the union government, many state governments, and other government agencies.
  • History:
    • The State emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh).
      • In the original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus.
      • Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).
  • Emblem Adopted:
    • In the State emblem, adopted by the Government of India on 26th January 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 right and a horse on left and the outlines of other wheels on extreme right and left.
    • The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted.

What are the salient features of the National Emblem of India?

  • The State emblem of India is the official seal of the Government of India.
  • Four animals are shown representing four directions:
    • A Galloping Horse: West
      • The Horse represents the horse Kanthaka, which Buddha is said to have used for leaving his princely life.
    • An Elephant: East
      • The Elephant depicts the dream of Queen Maya, where a white elephant enters her womb.
    • A Bull: South
      • The Bull depicts the Zodiac sign of Taurus, the month in which Budhha was born.
    • A Lion: North
      • The Lion shows the attainment of enlightenment.
  • The animals seem to follow each other turning the wheel of existence till eternity.
  • The words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari Script.
  • The Capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra)
  • The four Lions symbolise Buddha spreading Dharma in all directions.
    • It was built in the commemoration of the first sermon by Buddha known as Dharmachakrapravartna.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act 2005 and the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules 2007:
      • According to these rules, the National Emblem of India can only be used as per provisions of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act 2005 and any unauthorized use is punishable under law.
      • There is a punishment for imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine up to Rs 5000 if someone violates the law.
  • Usage:
    • On the Letterheads of the Central Government, State Government and other government agencies.
    • On the Currency of India
    • On the Passports of India
    • The Ashoka Chakra in the National Flag is taken from the National Emblem
    • Buildings:
      • Rashtrapati Bhawan
      • Parliament House
      • Supreme Court
      • High Courts
      • Central Secretariat
      • Secretariat Buildings of States and Union Territories
      • Raj Bhawan/Raj Niwas
      • State Legislature
      • Premises of India’s Diplomatic Mission abroad
      • Residence of Heads of Missions in the countries of their accreditation
      • At the entrance doors of buildings occupied by Indian Consulates abroad

What do we need to know about Mauryan Pillars?

  • The Mauryan pillars are rock cut pillars thus displaying the carver’s skills
  • Stone pillars were erected by Ashoka, which have been found in the north Indian part of the Mauryan Empire with inscriptions engraved on them.
  • The top portion of the pillar was carved with capital figures like the bull, the lion, the elephant, etc.
  • All the capital figures are vigorous and carved standing on a square or circular abacus.
    • Abacuses are decorated with stylised lotuses.
  • Some examples of Mauryan Pillars:
    • Lauria Nandangarh Pillar (West Champaran, Bihar)
    • Ashoka Pillar (Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh)
    • Lion Capital of Ashoka (Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)

What are some other National Symbols of India?

  • National Flag:
    • The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of India saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and India 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 design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947.
  • National Anthem:
    • The National Anthem of India Jana-gana-mana, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950.
    • It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Kolkata Session of the Indian National Congress.
  • National Song:
    • The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji.
    • On January 24, 1950, the President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad came up with a statement in the Constituent Assembly, "the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it."
  • National Animal:
    • The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris is a striped animal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes
  • National Flower:
    • Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn) is the National Flower of India.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. The national motto of India, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ inscribed below the Emblem of India is taken from (2014)

(a) Katha Upanishad
(b) Chandogya Upanishad
(c) Aitareya Upanishad 
(d) Mundaka Upanishad

Ans: (d)


  • Upanishads are the concluding part of the Vedas. There are 108 recognised Upanishads of which 12 are considered principle Upanishads.
  • The verse Satyameva Jayate has been taken from Mundaka Upanishad. The verse from Mundaka III, Khanda I is “Satyameva jayate nānrtam satyena panthā vitato devayānah yenākramantyrsayo hyāptakāmā yatra tat satyasya paramam nidhānam”
  • It means, truth alone triumphs not falsehood; by truth, the Devayanah (the path of the Devas) is widened, that by which the seers travel on, having nothing to wish for, which is the highest treasure attained by truth.
  • Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

Source: TH