As a major cultural symbol of India’s independence, a historic sceptre, ‘Sengol’, which marked the transfer of power from the Britishers in 1947, will be placed in the new Parliament building, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on May 24.
‘Sengol’ is a symbol of historic legacy, which was used by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on August 14, 1947, when the transfer of power took place from the British.
Addressing a press conference here, Amit Shah said, “On the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, PM Modi will dedicate the new Parliament to the nation. In a way, it shows his far-sightedness. This is a beautiful attempt to merge our cultural legacy, tradition and civilisation with modernity. Around 60,000 people worked on the construction of this building in record time. The PM will also honour them.”
The Home Minister said that a historical event is being revived on this occasion. The historic sceptre, ‘Sengol’, will be placed in the new Parliament building.
“A historical event is being revived on this occasion. The historic sceptre, ‘Sengol’, will be placed in the new Parliament building. It was used on August 14, 1947, by PM Nehru when the transfer of power took place from the British. Out of all the promises made by PM Modi for ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, one promise was respect and regeneration of our historic traditions,” he said.
The Home Minister added, “The historic incident is from August 14, 1947. It is called Sengol in Tamil, the meaning of this word is full of wealth There is a tradition behind this associated with ages. Sengol had played an important role in our history. When PM Modi got information about this, a thorough investigation was done. Then it was decided that it should be put before the country. For this, the day of the inauguration of the new Parliament House was chosen.”
The History of Sengol in Independent India
Recalling the historic event, Amit Shah said that ‘Sengol’ was chosen as the symbol of the transfer of power after intensive research.
“When the time for transfer of power came, Lord Mountbatten who was the Viceroy asked former PM Nehru about what should be the symbol of transfer of power to the country as per the Indian traditions. Nehru discussed the issue with freedom fighter and avid historic scholar C Rajagopalachari. He (Rajagopalachari) after doing an intensive historic research said that as per the Indian traditions, ‘Sengol’ has been marked as the symbol of historic transfer,” Shah said.
He added, “Based on this, Nehru accepted the Sengol from Adheenam, who were specially brought from Tamil Nadu. Thus, the power was transferred to the Indian hands. It is a realisation that the power came back to the Indians in a traditional method. Nehru accepted the ‘Sengol’ in the presence Dr Rajendra Prasad and many others. Nehru’s aim was emotional unity and academic integration. The event was widely reported in media and even in foreign countries.”
According to historical accounts, C Rajagopalachari had approached the Dharmic Mutt in the Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu – the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam. The leader of the Adheenam immediately commissioned the preparation of the ‘Sengol’.
At the time of the power transfer on August 14, 1947, three people were specially flown in from Tamil Nadu on August 14, 1947 – the Deputy high priest of the Adheenam, the Nadaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai and the Oduvar (singer) – carrying the Sengol.
The priests conducted the proceedings. They gave the Sengol to Lord Mountbatten and took it back. The Sengol was purified with holy water. It was then taken in procession to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s house, where it was handed over to him. A special song was rendered, as specified by the high priest.
The home minister also said that the Government considers that keeping the Sengol in a museum is inappropriate, and nothing can be more appropriate place for the spectre then the parliament building. He said that on the new Parliament House will be inaugurated, PM Modi will accept the Sengol from Tamil Nadu, and place it near the chair of the Lok Sabha speaker.
The Chola Tradition
The word Sengol is derived from the Tamil word ‘Semmai’, meaning ‘Righteousness’. It is an Indic civilizational practice from the Chola kingdom, which was among the leading kingdoms in the Indian sub-continent for centuries.
The Chola dynasty was renowned for its extraordinary contributions to architecture, arts, and the patronage of literature and culture. The Sengol emerged as an iconic symbol of the Chola reign, symbolizing the power, legitimacy, and sovereignty of the Chola kings.
In contemporary times, the Sengol continues to be highly esteemed and holds deep cultural importance. It is venerated as a symbol of heritage and tradition, serving as an integral part of various cultural events, festivals, and significant ceremonies. The presence of the Sengol serves to honor and pay tribute to the rich history and legacy of Tamil culture.
Amit Shah said that the use of the Chola Dynasty Spectre during the transfer of power was widely reported by world media, and Time magazine had published several photographs. But the spectre vanished from public view after August 1947, and people forgot about it. 31 years later in 1978, Chandrashekarendra Saraswati told his disciple Dr BR Subramaniam about the spectre, who wrote about it in books. Amit Shah said that Tamil media had covered it widely, and the Tamil Nadu Government also mentioned it.
As per the historic tradition, at the time of enthronement, the traditional guru of the preceptor of the King would hand over the ceremonial Scepter to the new ruler.