• ‘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 ‘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.
• On August 14, 1947, ‘Sengol’ was accepted by Nehru in presence of Rajendra Prasad, who later became India’s first President, and many others.
• 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 a symbol of “nyaya”.
• The ‘Sengol’ to be installed in the new Parliament building is the original one received by Nehru. It will be installed near the chair of the Speaker in the new Parliament building.
• ‘Sengol’ is a word derived from the Tamil word ‘Semmai’, meaning “righteousness”.
• The sceptre was kept in the Nehru Gallery of the Allahabad Museum and has been moved to Delhi for its installation in the new building of Parliament.
It symbolises the transfer of power
• 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.
• Rajagopalachari identified the Chola model where the transfer of power from one King to the other was sanctified and blessed by high priests.
• Rajagopalachari 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.
• 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.
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