Dimple Arora reports on the installment of “Sengol” in the New Parliament
In a momentous gesture, the historic ‘Sengol,’ a symbolic sceptre from Tamil Nadu, will find its place in India’s new Parliament building. The sceptre, received by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru from Lord Mountbatten, represents the transfer of power from the British. Kept in a museum in Allahabad, the ‘Sengol’ will now be installed, signifying a proud moment in Indian history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will personally inaugurate the new Parliament building on May 28, 2023, and oversee the installation of the ‘Sengol,’ as announced by Home Minister Amit Shah.
Rajaji’s Influence and the Chola-Era Ceremony:
When India gained independence, Lord Mountbatten posed a significant question to Jawaharlal Nehru: “How should we symbolize the transfer of power from the British to Indian hands?” Nehru sought the counsel of C. Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, who later served as the last Viceroy of India. Rajaji drew inspiration from the Chola dynasty, where the transfer of power was sanctified and blessed by a higher ruler through the handover of a ‘sengol’ or sceptre. This ancient tradition resonated with the spirit of the momentous occasion.
The Craftsmanship of the Golden Sceptre:
To embody the significance of the occasion, a golden sceptre was meticulously crafted by Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a renowned jeweler in the Madras Presidency. The gifted artisans responsible for creating the ‘sengol’ were Vummidi Ethirajulu (96) and Vummidi Sudhakar (88), who currently reside in Chennai. Their exceptional craftsmanship has ensured the preservation of this historical artifact.
The Ceremonial Handover on Independence Day Eve:
On the eve of Independence Day in 1947, a traditional ceremony was conducted in accordance with Tamil customs. The deputy high priest of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, accompanied by nagaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai and an Odhuvar, was flown from the Madras Presidency to the capital. In Nehru’s residence, the ‘sengol’ was solemnly handed over, signifying the transfer of power from the British to the Indian people.
Reviving Historical Significance:
Home Minister Amit Shah emphasized that the transfer of power should not be reduced to a mere formality but should retain its connection to local traditions, while also acknowledging contemporary needs. The installation of the ‘Sengol’ in the new Parliament building symbolizes the same sentiments felt by Jawaharlal Nehru on August 14, 1947, representing a crucial moment when the British relinquished power to the Indian people. Mr. Shah expressed his concern that even after 75 years of independence, many Indians remain unaware of this pivotal event, and the installation aims to raise awareness and pride among the populace.
The installation of the historic ‘Sengol’ in India’s new Parliament building signifies a significant milestone in Indian history—the transfer of power from the British to the Indian people. Inspired by the Chola dynasty, the ‘Sengol’ embodies the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu and represents the sanctification of authority passed down through generations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal involvement in the inauguration and installation underscores the importance of preserving and honoring India’s historical legacy within the modern context.