National Emblem - Interesting Facts to Know for IAS Exam

National Emblem of India is a representative seal of Republic of India that is based on Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar (based in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.) The motto of Indian National Emblem is ‘Satyamev Jayate’ or ‘Truth Alone Triumphs.’  it makes one of the National Symbols of India. Though the questions from this topic may not directly be asked in IAS Exam the important facts about the National Emblem can help aspirants in Mains exam and Essay.

What is an Emblem?

An emblem by description is “a heraldic instrument or symbolic object as a unique insignia of a nation, organization, or family”. The National Emblem of a nation is a seal that is earmarked for official purposes and orders the highest admiration and loyalty. For a nation, it is a symbol of power and signifies the foundation of its constitutional values. The Indian National Emblem was accepted on 26 January 1950 by Madhav Sawhney.

According to 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.

This article is about the National Emblem of India – historical background, rules related to the emblem, meaning of the symbols engraved in it. This topic is important for various government exams in the Prelims section.

14 Facts about National Emblem of India for UPSC

A list of 14 facts  about Indian National Emblem is provided below:

  1. The Ashoka pillar, erected by Emperor Ashoka, has four lions seated back to back which imply power, courage, confidence and pride.
  2. Other animals demonstrated on the pillar are horse, bull, elephant, and lion.
  3. The elephant denotes Buddha’s outset (the dream of a white elephant entering her womb dreamt by Buddha’s mother at the time of Buddha’s conception).
  4. The bull symbolizes Zodiac sign of Buddha- Taurus.
  5. The horse signifies Buddha’s horse which he rode at the time of departing from the citadel.
  6. The lion indicates enlightenment.
  7. All the Ashoka Pillars were carved by craftsmen from the same area using stone from Chunar and Mathura.
  8. Each pillar is around 40 to 50 feet in height, and weighing up to 50 tons each, were pulled to where they were raised.
  9. Only six pillars with animal capitals and nineteen pillars persist with inscriptions.
  10. The engravings on the pillars described proclamations about morality grounded on Buddhist doctrines.
  11. The slogan ‘Satyameva Jayate’- “The Truth Alone Triumphs” is engraved below the National Emblem.
  12. Slogan ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is a quote from the Mundaka Upanishad, the closing part of the holy Hindu Vedas.
  13. National Emblem is the official seal of the President of India and Central and State Governments and an inevitable part of the official letterhead of the Government of India.
  14. National Emblem is a part of all Indian currency and the National Passport of the Republic of India.

National Emblem & the Ashoka Pillar

The National Emblem of India is another version of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, conserved in the Sarnath Museum. The pillars of Ashoka are a sequence of columns spread mainly throughout North India, created by the Mauryan king Ashoka during his rule in the 3rd century BC.  In the original Ashoka pillar in Sarnath, there are four lions, standing back to back, fixed on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion parted by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus.

To know more about the list of symbols of states and union territories, check the linked article.

In the National emblem, accepted by the Government of India, only three lions are noticeable, the fourth lion is hidden from view as it seated back. The wheel seems in relief in the centre of the abacus with a horse on the left and a bull on the right and the outlines of other wheels on the extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus is not there.

UPSC has always asked questions regarding National Emblem, National symbols, National Anthem, and the Official language of India which is an important chapter in the India Yearbook.

Frequently Asked Questions about National Emblem of India for UPSC

What is the name of our national emblem? The National Emblem of India is called as it is. However, Lion Capital of Sarnath is adopted as our National Emblem
How many animals are there in our national emblem? Four Asiatic Lions, Elephant, Horse and a Bull are represented in the Indian National Emblem
How many national emblems are there in India? India has one National Emblem – The National Emblem of India
Who designed the national emblem of India? Dinanath Bhargava sketched and illuminated India’s National Emblem
How many lions are there in Ashoka Pillar? Four Asiatic Lions are present in our National Emblem
What does Ashoka Chakra signify? It is a symbol of Buddhist Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes

National Emblem – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Aspirants reading, National Emblem of India, can also read about other National Symbols of India in the articles linked in the table below:

Find more UPSC-related preparation materials and other articles with the links given in the table below:


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