New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) ‘Sengol’, a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, which was given by the British to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to represent the transfer of power and was kept in a museum in Allahabad will be installed in the new Parliament building to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference, Shah said ‘Sengol’ symbolises the transfer of power from British to India, just as it was originally used to mark the handing over power from one king to another during the Chola dynasty in Tamil Nadu.
“The ruler would be vested with the ‘Sengol’ with the order (‘aanai’ in Tamil) to rule with ‘dharma’, meaning justly and fairly,” he said at the press conference flanked by Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy.
Shah said the purpose of the installation was clear then and it is clear even now. The transfer of power is not merely a handshake or signing a document and it must remain connected with local traditions keeping in mind modern needs, he said.
The ‘Sengol’ to be installed in the new Parliament building is the original one received by Nehru.
On August 14, 1947, ‘Sengol’ was accepted by Nehru, the then Prime Minister, in presence of Rajendra Prasad, who later became India’s first President, and many others.
‘Sengol’ is a word derived from the Tamil word ‘Semmai’, meaning ‘righteousness.’ The historical sceptre was made of silver, coated with gold coated, and crowned with the sacred Nandi, with its unyielding gaze. The Nandi on top of the ‘Sengol’ is symbol of ‘nyaya.’ “Sengol represents the same feeling that Jawaharlal Nehru felt on August 14, 1947,” Shah said.
The home minister said that the new Parliament building is an example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s far-sightedness.
The Sengol will be installed near the chair of the Speaker in the new Parliament building.
He said the Prime Minister will also honour 60,000 workers (shram yogis) at the inauguration.
The new building of the Indian Parliament will be dedicated to the nation on May 28, 2023.
The home minister said the new Parliament building is a testament to the Prime Minister’s vision of creation of a new India, which combines modernity with the country’s heritage and traditions.
Giving details of the ‘Sengol’ event, Shah said Viceroy Lord Mountbatten posed a query to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: “What is the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands?” which prompted Nehru to consult veteran freedom fighter C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji).
Rajaji identified the Chola model where the transfer of power from one King to the other was sanctified and blessed by high priests.
Rajaji approached the Dharmic Mutt in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu – the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, a Shaivite sect.
The Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam is more than 500 years old and continues to operate with 50 branch monasteries across Tamil Nadu.
The leader of the Adheenam immediately commissioned Jeweller Vummidi Bangaru Chetty in Chennai for the preparation of the ‘Sengol’ (five feet in length).
Vummidi Ethirajulu, 96, and Vummidi Sudhakar, 88, two people involved in the making of the original Sengol are expected to attend the new Parliament building inauguration function.
At the time of the transfer of power on August 14, 1947, three people were specially flown in from Tamil Nadu – the Deputy high priest of the Adheenam, the Nadaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai and the Oduvar (singer) – who came carrying the Sengol and conducted the proceedings.
The priest gave the Sengol to Lord Mountbatten, and took it back. The Sengol was purified with holy water and then taken in a procession to Nehru’s house, where it was handed over to him. A special song was rendered, as specified by the high priest. It all happened on the night of August 14, 1947.
When the Prime Minister came to know about this little known episode of history, he ordered a detailed research on it and at length decided it would be proper to install the Sengol at the temple of democracy, the country’s Parliament, Shah said.
In Chola rule, the handing over of the sceptre was accompanied by the rendering of a special song, composed by 7th century Tamil saint Thirugnana Sambandar.
A child prodigy who lived only till 16, Sambandar composed the song called Kolaru Pathigam, which was said to have the power to offset the ill-effects caused by planetary positions. Pathigam means a poem in praise of a deity.
The song concludes with the words ‘Adiyaarkal vaanil Arasaalvar aanai namadhe’ meaning ‘The followers (referring to the King) will rule as in the heavens, as per our order.’ PTI ACB ABS ACB VN VN
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