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From Chola tradition to Jawaharlal Nehru: All you need to know about Sengol

The Sengol will be installed in the new Parliament building next to the seat of Lok Sabha speaker by PM Modi

New Parliament Building

New Parliament Building

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will install the Sengol, a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, in the new Parliament building which will be inaugurated on Sunday, May 28, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday. The sceptre is a significant symbol of Independence and signifies the transfer of power from the British to the Indians.

"There is a tradition behind this associated with ages. Sengol had played an important role in our history. This Sengol became a symbol of the transfer of power," Shah said.

The Sengol will be kept next to the seat of the speaker of Lok Sabha.

What is Sengol?

According to a report by The Hindu, on the eve of India's independence on August 14, 1947, the then viceroy Lord Mountbatten asked the to-be Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, "What is the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands?"

Nehru consulted C Rajagopalachari, who went on to become the last viceroy of India. He quoted a Chola model where the power was transferred to one king by another in the presence of a high priest. Cholas used a sceptre, Sengol, to transfer the power.

Then, Vummidi Bangaru Chetty and sons, a jeweller from the Madras presidency were asked to craft the sceptre. It was made by Vummidi Ethirajulu and Vummidi Sudhakar, who still live in Chennai.

The Sengol is mounted by a carving of "Nandi".

The handing-over ceremony

On August 14, 1947, the deputy high priest of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, Rajarathinam Pillai, and an Odhuvar, who sings devotional songs in Tamil temples, was flown to Delhi from the then Madras Presidency.

In a ceremony at 11 pm, the Sengol was handed over to Nehru at his house. The event was attended by several dignitaries including to-be President of India Rajendra Prasad.

"Even after 75 years of independence, most of the people in India are not aware of this event. On this night (August 14, 1947) Jawaharlal Nehru received the Sengol from the Adheenams of the Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam in Tamil Nadu, who had specially arrived for the occasion. It was precisely the moment in which power was transferred by the British into the hands of Indians," Shah said.

Adheenam presidents to visit Delhi

Shah also said that the plan has been made in consultation with "all presidents of Adheenam".

"All 20 Adheenam presidents will also be present on this auspicious occasion to shower their blessings in reminiscence of this sacred ritual. I am glad that 96-year-old Vummidi Bangaru Chetty ji, associated with its creation, will also participate in this sacred ceremony," he said. 

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First Published: May 25 2023 | 9:40 AM IST

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