Recently the prime minister of India unveiled the new Ensign for the Indian Navy, in his recent address from Red fort on Independence day, prime minister Modi declared that India should be free of all Colonial era symbols and traces.

What all unmodified or partially modified symbols from the colonial era are still continuing in India?

PS: By symbols here, I don't mean laws or institutions but rather examples of symbols, but not limited to, flag designs, uniforms, protocols etc.

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    I suspect the list may be rather long. Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 16:25
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    Or maybe not. They did remove most of the statues by the 1970s cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/… Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 16:31
  • OTOH there's still en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_Park,_Delhi Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 16:37
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    The most evident symbol is the use of the English language as an official language of India.
    – MasB
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 20:12
  • @Bernard. I would never have thought of it that way, but you are very correct here. If, however, India decides to revoke the status of the English language as an official language, they cut themselves in the fingers. India is developing rapidly and in order to access the rest of the world they NEED to speak English. Any other language would not allow the same pace of advancement like the English language will or does. I am Dutch. I speak Dutch, English and French. I lived in 5 countries and visited and worked in well over 50 countries. It was English that made this possible. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 3:22

3 Answers 3


This thing is purely British history and a British symbol. It has nothing to do with the Republic of India or its people.

It was built to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V, the first British monarch to visit India, in December 1911.

enter image description here

This is another similar monument. This is a large marble building on the maidan in central Kolkata, built between 1906 and 1921. It was dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, Empress of India from 1876 to 1901.

enter image description here

Note: Please ignore the dog at the foot of the statue. :)


In many cases, this is going to end up as a matter of political opinion. For example, the Indian Army's ensign shares its red field and the crossed golden swords with the British Army ensign. However, the swords are of different designs, and the other elements of the two designs (the Lion Capital of Ashoka and the British Lion and Crown) are different. Red flags symbolise severe combat; swords are obsolete as weapons but still have symbolism that's meaningful to many people.

So is the Indian Army ensign a colonial symbol or not? You can claim that it is, or that it isn't, and it's hard to form an objective answer.

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    By adding the Lion Capital of Ashoka, it was already modified.
    – user366312
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:13

I am not really sure if the things I mentioned would count a 100%, but anyways I think they are interesting enough to be mentioned.

  1. IIT Kharagpur/ Hijli detention camp

The large numbers of those who participated in armed struggles or the non-cooperation movement against the British could not be accommodated in ordinary jails. The British colonial government decided to establish a few detention camps; the first one was located in Buxa Fort followed by the creation of Hijli Detention Camp in 1930. A significant moment in the Indian independence movement occurred at here in 1931 when two unarmed detainees, Santosh Kumar Mitra and Tarakeswar Sengupta, were shot dead by the Indian Imperial Police.[3] Subhas Chandra Bose came to Hijli to collect their bodies for interment. Many Indian nationalists, including Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, voiced strong protests against the British Raj over this incident.[4] The firing which later known as "Hijli firing" is the only incident of police firing inside a detention camp.

I provide a quote by Nehru

Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India's urges, India's future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India. src

One more thing worth mentioning is this is the place where the to be CEO of google himself would study metallurgy.

  1. Fort William

Fort William is a fort in Hastings, Calcutta (Kolkata). It was built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It sits on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River, the major distributary of the River Ganges. One of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era edifices, it extends over an area of 70.9 hectares.

The fort was named after King William III. In front of the Fort is the Maidan, the largest park in the country. An internal guard room became the Black Hole of Calcutta. Today it is the Headquarters of Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

  1. Indian Penal code

These are only a few examples, but I think it is impossible to separate Indian history with British history. You can white wash what something looks like from outside, but that won't cause any meaningful change in practice.

  • Also pretty much all the old IITS have some history entangled with west. IIT madras was made with help of Germany and one of the northern IIT ( can't remember if Delhi or Bombay ) was created with help of America.
    – Babu
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 13:48

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