Sengol, the ancient Indian scepter of authority and rule of law from the Chola period, which will be installed in the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a historic symbol of India’s Independence, but for long it was locked inside a glass display at a museum marked as a “golden walking stick” gifted to Jawaharlal Nehru.
The discussion of the Sengol gained momentum after Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday announced its reintroduction as it signifies the Transfer of Power from the British to India.
Sengol was gifted by a group of priests from Tamil Nadu on the eve of India’s independence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has turned the tables on the Opposition’s high-pitch rejection of the idea of PM Modi inaugurating the new Parliament building.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Thursday said, “The Sengol was integral to our Independence, but the Left relegated it as a nondescript ‘walking stick’ in a museum corner despite Pandit Nehru’s crucial role.”
“This is another instance of how an entire eco-system censored any event in history that glorified ancient Bharat and Hindu rituals,” he added.
#NewParliamentBuilding | The Sengol was integral to our Independence but the Left relegated it as a nondescript ‘walking stick’ in a museum corner despite Pt Nehru’s crucial role. Another instance of how an entire eco-system censored any event in history that glorified ancient… pic.twitter.com/U3usN5eSVJ
— ANI (@ANI) May 25, 2023
Disdain for Hindu rituals in Congress
Highlighting the significance of the Sengol, BJP leader Amit Malviya said: “The vesting of the sacred Sengol with Jawaharlal Nehru, on the eve of India’s Independence, was the exact moment of transfer of power from the British to India.”
“But instead of being given the pride of its place, it was tucked away in Anand Bhavan, and called the golden stick ‘gifted’ to Nehru. Such is the disdain for Hindu rituals in the Congress.
He further said that PM Modi will install the Sengol, from 1947, in the Lok Sabha, “prominently close to the Speaker’s podium.”
“It will be displayed for the nation to see, and will be taken out on special occasions,” Malviya added.
“It is now Sengol vs Opposition,” the BJP leader said.
The vesting of the sacred Sengol with Jawaharlal Nehru, on the eve of India’s Independence, was the exact moment of transfer of power from the British to India.
But instead of being given the pride of its place, it was tucked away in Anand Bhavan, and called the golden stick… pic.twitter.com/TSLqPYn5Ft
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) May 25, 2023
Sengol’s Glorious Past
Sengol derives its name from the Tamil wold “semmai” which means “righteousness”.
In 1947, the Sengol was handed over to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, minutes before the national flag was hoisted and before the leader made his famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech at midnight on August 15, 1947. It had been kept at his Prayagraj residence-turned-museum till now.
“Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru accepted Sengol around 10:45 PM of 14 August, 1947 through the Adhinam of Tamil Nadu. It was a sign of shift of power from British to the people of our country,” Shah said on Wednesday.
The Union Home Minister also said that the Sengol has been important from the time of the Chola dynasty. “This Sengol will be kept in New Parliament… PM Modi will accept this Sengol and it will be placed near the Speaker’s seat,” he said.
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Shah also said that it was “inappropriate” to keep this sacred Sengol in a museum.
Ahead of India’s independence, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, had on several occasions asked Nehru what would mark the transfer of power when India attains Independence.
Nehru then turned to C Rajagopalachari, India’s last Governor General, who informed him about the Tamil tradition of the high priest handing over a Sengol to a new king when he comes to power.
Rajagopalachari also told Nehru that the tradition was followed during the reign of the Cholas as he went on to suggest him that it could mark India’s freedom from British Raj.
Rajagopalachari was then asked to arrange a Sengol for the historic moment of India’s independence. He contacted Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, a prominent mutt in present-day Tamil Nadu.
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The then seer of the mutt accepted the responsibility and a Sengol was made by Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a jeweller in then Madras which was five feet long and has a ‘nandi’ bull on top, symbolising justice.
A senior priest of the mutt had first handed over the Sengol to Mountbatten and then took it back. It was then sprinkled with gangajal and was taken in a procession to the then PM Nehru and handed over to him.
With inputs from agencies
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