Season 01 | Special episode 03

State Emblem of India

29 August 2020 / 6 mins 31 secs

Show summary

Topic: History of India - Ancient India.

In this special episode of Namaskar India, we will talk about the State Emblem of India which is inspired by the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

The Lion Capital or the National Emblem is a ubiquitous image in India. You don’t need to go far to fathom its pervasiveness; just open your wallet and you will find it right there – embossed over every coin and every currency note that you possess. Not only this, it’s presence in all prominent government documents and buildings as well as in all our school textbooks or passports has turned it into a symbol that evokes emotional attachment and a sense of national identity.

At first glance, you notice the four majestic lions, roaring and facing the four cardinal directions. They represent power, courage, pride, confidence. The Mauryan symbolism of the lions indicates “the power of a universal emperor (chakravarti) who dedicated all his resources to the victory of dharma”. In adopting this symbolism, the modern nation of India pledged to equality and social justice in all spheres of life.

The lions sit atop a cylindrical abacus, which is adorned with representations of a horse, a bull, a lion and an elephant, made in high relief. The animals are separated by intervening chakras (having 24 spokes). This chakra is a prominent Buddhist symbol signifying Buddha’s ideas on the passage of time. Dharma (virtue), according to belief, is eternal, continuously changing & is characterized by uninterrupted continuity.

India’s most visible symbol of national identity, reflects the country’s reaffirmation of its ancient ideals of peace and tolerance. Adapted from the design of the Lion Capital of an Ashokan pillar, along with the motto “Satyameva Jayate” which has been taken from the Mundaka Upanishad and translates to “truth always triumphs”.