Elements of National Culture

National Anthem

  • ‘Jana Gana Mana’ composed by Rabindranath Tagore was adopted as National Anthem of India by Constituent Assembly of India on 24th January 1950.
  • It was originally composed as Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata (BBB) in Bengali by Tagore. This had 5 stanzas, the first of which was adopted as the national anthem of India. BBB was published in the journal of Adi Brahmo Samaj known as Tattwabodhini Patrika.
  • Composition of ‘Jan Gana Man’ was sung for the first time during the 1911 Calcutta Session of INC.
  • First selected as national anthem by Subhas Chandra Bose while he was in Germany, one the occasion of meeting of German-India Society in Hamburg.
  • Translated in English by Rabindranath Tagore, when he was visiting the Besant Theosophical College in Madanapalle, in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. The translated song was named ‘Morning Song of India.’

National Song

  • The poem Bande Mataram was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1870s, as part of his Bengali novel Anandamath.
  • Adopted to be the national song of India on 24th January 1950 by the Constituent Assembly of India.
  • The poem was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in the 1896 session of Indian National Congress.
  • Sri Aurobindo did official translation of Bande Mataram in English.

National Flag

  • It is a tricolour panel made up of three rectangular sub-panels of equal width made of Khadi cloth.
  • The colour of the top panel is India saffron (Kesaria) and that of the bottom is India green. The middle panel is white, bearing at its centre the design of the Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes. The Ashoka Chakra is visible on both sides of the Flag in the centre of the white panel.
  • The Flag is rectangular in shape with the ratio of the length to the height (width) being 3:2.
  • Our National Flag was designed by freedom fighter Pingali Venkaya, who presented the flag to Mahatma Gandhi at Vijayawada in 1921.
  • It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, and it became the official flag on 15th August, 1947.
  • The right to manufacture the flag is held by Khadi and Village Industries Commission, under Ministry for MSME.
  • Flag Code of India: Recently, the Union Government amended the flag code and allowed construction of manufacture and import of polyester national flags. The earlier rules allowed only construction of hand spun and woven wool or cotton or silk khadi flags. The code gives unrestricted display of the tricolour if the honour and dignity of the flag are being respected. (Both night and day). Flag code also lays guidelines in the event of death of heads of states and dignitaries. During state funerals, the flag can be flown at half-mast. However, if the period of mourning coincides with events of national importance, such as Independence Day, Republic Day etc, the tricolour should not be flown at half-mast anywhere except over the building in which the body of the deceased is lying.

Constitutional Provisions for the Protection of the Rich Cultural Heritage of India

  • Preservation of National Heritage is a duty imposed by the Constitution of India under Article 51 A, Fundamental Duties, – It states that- ‘It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.’
  • The Constitution has also provided for the protection of monuments under Article 49 of the Constitution, Directive Principle of State Policy, wherein – Protection of Monuments and Places and Objects of National Importance – ‘It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interests, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.’

For the protection of art, architecture, and cultural heritage of India, The Ministry of Culture has also made many schemes and initiatives which are as follows:

1)  Ministry of Culture has formulated a Scheme titled “Scheme for Safeguarding the Intangible Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India” with the objective of reinvigorating and revitalizing various institutions, groups, individuals, identified non-MOC institutions, non-government organizations, researchers, and scholars so that they may engage in activities/ projects for strengthening, protecting, preserving and promoting the rich intangible cultural heritage of India.

The Scheme covers Performing arts, Social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge, and practices concerning nature and the universe, traditional craftsmanship, etc.

2)  The ministry gives out various awards recognizing excellence in the field of art like awards by the Sahitya Academy and Sangeet Natak Academy.

3)  A portal has been created by the Archaeological Survey of India, which notifies “Must-see Monuments and Archaeological Sites of India.’ This will highlight the magnificent and outstanding monuments in India.

4) National Virtual Library has been created to bring together all the information on India’s rich heritage.

5) Conservation portal of the ASI: It is also a tracking portal that checks all the conservation and developmental works that are done in India.  Satellite mapping of ASI monuments is also done by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

6) Retrieval of stolen antiques from abroad: Example: The bronze Nataraja and the stone object of Ardhnarishwara from Australia have been retrieved, and some objects like the seated image of Buddha, Pratayangira, and the Buddha panel are in the process of return.

7) Project Mausam: This project is an initiative of the Ministry Of Culture. The nodal agency for project Mausam is the Archeological Survey of India. The project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world.’ It will correlate archeological and historical research to document the rich diversity of Culture, commerce, and religious interaction in the Indian Ocean area.

8)  Swachh Smarak: under it, ASI Protected Historical Monuments and Archeological Sites are declared Polythene Free Zones.Rs.350 crores were provided to it by the Government, and important Sites were categorized as ‘Adarsh’ Sites.

9) The Sanskriti App: It is the mobile App to view the cultural events of India like music, dance, theatre. Literature, Film shows, etc.

10) A Cultural Scheme Monitoring System (CSMS) was launched, and Cultural Mapping was also done. This was done to preserve, promote, explore, and share India’s Culture and heritage along with its ethos and values for the benefit of mankind.

11) Digitalization: A digital collection of pictures and videos have been created and is available for public viewing.

12) Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav: They are organized on a yearly basis to showcase India’s cultural heritage. Celebration of ‘Festivals of India’ abroad also showcased India’s folk dances and classical dances, Indian cuisine and India’s talented artist in the countries where they were held.

Way Forward

More cultural events can be organized, which will make the trip to these places exciting for the visitors. They can also be educated and made concerned about the decorating conditions, which will prove to be beneficial in creating awareness among the masses.

The cultural sector of the government can be liberalized and can be entrusted to private entities, universities, and NGOs. Government agencies can have a supervisory role. This will heighten the conservation standards.

Sourcing of materials locally for the conservation and repair of these monuments will increase employment opportunities and will result in economic gain. The conservation works need to be coupled with urban improvements, improved transport infrastructure, improving health, education, and sanitation infrastructure.

Funding that comes from the Central Government can also be supplemented by the state Government and private businesses. This can be done by levying taxes and creating prohibition zones near the monuments.

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