State Emblem of India

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State Emblem of India
Emblem of India.svg
ArmigerRepublic of India
Adopted26 January 1950
MottoSatyameva Jayate
("Truth Alone Triumphs")

The State Emblem of India, as the national emblem of India is called, is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, preserved in the Sarnath Museum near Varanasi, India. A representation of Lion Capital of Ashoka was initially adopted as the emblem of the Dominion of India in December 1947.[1] The current version of the emblem was officially adopted on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic.[2]


In 1947, as the date of independence for India and Pakistan approached, Jawaharlal Nehru gave charge of finding a suitable national emblem to Badruddin Tyabji, a civil servant, freedom fighter and member of the Constituent Assembly. Art schools all over the country were approached for designs, but none of them were found suitable as most were similar to the emblem of British Raj. Along with the Flag Committee headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Tyabji and his wife suggested to use the Ashoka Capital, with four lions on top and the Ashoka Chakra flanked by a bull and horse below. Tyabji's wife Surayya Tyabji drew it and sent it to the printing press at Viceregal lodge for printing. This design was selected and has remained the emblem of the Indian government ever since.[3]

Usage and description[edit]

The emblem forms a part of the official letterhead of the Government of India and appears on all Indian currency as well. It also functions as the national emblem of India in many places and appears prominently on Indian passports. The Ashoka Chakra (wheel) on its base features in the centre of the national flag of India.

The usage of the emblem is regulated and restricted under State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005. No individual or private organisation is permitted to use the emblem for official correspondence.

The actual Sarnath capital features four Asiatic lions standing back to back, symbolizing power, courage, confidence and pride, mounted on a circular base. At the bottom is a horse and a bull, and at its center is a wheel (Dharma chakra). The abacus is girded with a frieze of sculptures in high relief of The Lion of the North, The Horse of the West, The Bull of the South and The Elephant of the East, separated by intervening wheels, over a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. Carved from a single block of sandstone, the polished capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

In the emblem finally adopted, 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 the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left. The two animals, horse, and bull, represented right below the abacus also hold a great significance. The bull represents hard work and steadfastness, while the horse represents loyalty, speed, and energy. The bell-shaped lotus beneath the abacus has been omitted.[4]

Forming an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते (English: Truth Alone Triumphs).[5] This is a quote from Mundaka Upanishad,[6] the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas.

Emblems of national bodies[edit]

Historic seals and emblems[edit]

Pre-colonial India[edit]

Emblem of the Mughal Empire in historical progression[edit]

British rule in India[edit]

Portuguese rule in India[edit]

French Rule in India[edit]

Dominion of India[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Press Communique' - State Emblem" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 August 2017.
  2. ^ "State Emblem". Know India. Government of India. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  3. ^ Tyabji, Laila (14 August 2018). "How the Tricolour and Lion Emblem Really Came to Be". The Wire. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ "The State Emblem Of India (Prohibition Of Improper Use) Act, 2005" (PDF). 20 December 2005. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  5. ^ Kamal Dey v. Union of India and State of West Bengal (Calcutta High Court 2011-07-14). Text
  6. ^ "Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Standing Committee On Home Affairs: 116th Report on The State Emblem Of India (Prohibition Of Improper Use) Bill, 2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2013.