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General Studies 1 >> Indian Heritage & Culture

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1. Context
Speaking to the media, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday (May 24, 2023) said the upcoming inauguration of the new parliament building will also see Prime Minister Narendra Modi install a historic sceptre from Tamil Nadu next to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s seat
2. About Sengol
The historic Sceptre, 'Sengol', which comes from a Tamil word-Semmai, which means righteousness.
It weighs 800 grams and is gold-plated, it is five feet in height and has a 'Nandi' (Lord Shiva's Bull) on top of it which is symbol of Justice
3. Historic Significance of 'Sengol'
  • According to the official document, just before Independence, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, asked Nehru about “the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands”
  • The soon-to-be prime minister went to consult C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, who told him about a ceremony performed during the Chola dynasty, in which the transfer of power from one king to the other was sanctified and blessed by high priests
  • The symbol (for the transfer of power) used was the handover of the ‘Sengol’ from one King to his successor
  • It added that the newly crowned ruler would be given the Sengol with an order to rule his subjects fairly and justly.
  • Once Nehru agreed to perform the suggested ceremony, Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, was tasked with the responsibility of arranging a sceptre
  • Subsequently, he reached out to Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, a well-known mutt in Tamil Nadu’s Tanjore district, for help and its leader commissioned the manufacturing of the Sengol to Chennai-based “Vummidi Bangaru Chetty” jewellers, as per the official document
  • Constructed by two men Vummidi Ethirajulu and Vummidi Sudhakar, both are still alive and remember making it the sceptre measures five feet in length and has a ‘Nandi’ bull on top, symbolising justice
As per the official document, three people, including “the Deputy high priest of the Adheenam, the Nadaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai and the Oduvar (singer)”, brought in the newly-made Sengol from Tamil Nadu
During the ceremony, which took place on August 14, 1947, a priest gave the sceptre to Lord Mountbatten and then took it back
It was then “taken in procession to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s house, where it was handed over to him. A special song was rendered, as specified by the high priest.,”
The event was attended by Dr Rajendra Prasad, who would go on to become India’s first president, and many others.
Source: indianexpress

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