New Delhi: On Sunday, May 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to receive the historical and revered ‘Sengol,’ a symbol representing the transfer of power from the British to India.
The Sengol, derived from the Tamil word for sceptre, was originally presented to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in August 1947 by the deputy pontiff of Thiruvavaduthurai ‘adheenam’ — a non-Brahmin Shaivite Mutt in Tamil Nadu.
As part of the ceremonial rituals, PM Modi will accept the Sengol from pontiffs of 20 ‘adheenams’ from Tamil Nadu. Following a 20-minute ‘homam’ or ‘havan,’ the pontiffs will hand over the Sengol at 7.20 am. Subsequently, Prime Minister Modi will install it on a pedestal positioned to the right of the Speaker’s Chair in the new Parliament building.
The term ‘Sengol’ originates from the Tamil word ‘Semmai,’ signifying ‘righteousness.’ The ornamental sceptre stands at five feet tall and features a sacred Nandi at its pinnacle, exuding an unwavering gaze. The Nandi atop the Sengol symbolizes ‘nyaya’ (justice).
Crafted from silver with a golden coating, this historic sceptre will be placed near the Chair of the Lok Sabha Speaker.
In ancient times, the transfer of power during the Chola dynasty was sanctified by Saivite high priests. C. Rajagopalachari had requested the leader of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam in Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras Presidency) to perform a similar sanctification, symbolizing the transition of power from the British to Indian hands.
The leader of the Adheenam promptly commissioned jeweller Vummidi Bangaru Chetty to craft the Sengol within four weeks.
Initially, the sceptre was handed over to Lord Mountbatten by a priest of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam. However, it was later retrieved and purified with Gangajal (water from the river Ganges). The Chola-style handover was commemorated with the singing of a special song called “Kolaru Padhigam,” composed by Tamil poet-saint Thirugnanasambandar in the 7th century CE, serving as a prayer to alleviate difficulties.
The Sengol has been displayed at Nehru’s Collection Gallery in the Allahabad Museum and has now been transferred to Delhi for its installation in the new Parliament building.
Around 31 members of the ‘adheenams’ will travel from Chennai to New Delhi in two batches via chartered flights. Prior to the ceremony on May 28, PM Modi will honour them at his residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.
Vummidi Ethirajulu, aged 96, and Vummidi Sudhakar, aged 88, who were involved in the creation of the original Sengol, are expected to attend the inauguration of Parliament building.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed that the Parliament would be the most sacred and fitting location for the Sengol, as it would symbolize ‘Amrit Kaal’—a blissful era that witnesses the triumphant rise of New India in the global arena.