‘Sengol’ symbolises the power transfer from the British to the people of India

Chennai, May 26 (Agency) Handing over of Sengol (sceptre) symbolises transfer of power. Tamil Nadu has a ‘big proud part’ to the episode of handing over of the Sengol to the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, symbolising the power transfer from the British to the people of India in 1947. This Sengol will be instralled in the new Parliament building to be dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. The new building is a testament of Prime Minister’s vision of creating a new India, which combines modernity with our heritage and traditions. This new structure has been created in record time and the contribution of 40,000 Shramjeevis will be honoured by the Prime Minister at the dedication ceremony. The Sengol will be installed in the Lok Sabha Speaker’s podium, as a sign of respect and reverence for the democratic institution. About the Sengol Event : Viceroy Lord Mountbatten posed a query to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: “What is the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise transfer of power from British to Indian hands?” Pt Nehru consulted veteran Shri C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji).

Rajaji identified the Chola model where the transfer of power from one King to the other was sanctified and blessed by high priests. The symbol used was the handover of the “Sengol” from one King to his successor. The Ruler would be vested with the “Sengol” with the order (“aanai” in Tamil) to rule with ‘dharma’, meaning justly and fairly. Rajaji approached the Dharmic Mutt in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu – the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam. Adheenams are non-brahmin monasteries. They are followers of Lord Shiva. The Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam is over 500 years old (continuously functioning). The Nandi on top of the Sengol is symbolic of “Nyaya”.. The leader of the Adheenam immediately commissioned the preparation of the “Sengol” (five-feet in length). Jewellers Vummidi Bangaru Chetty in Chennai crafted the Sengol.

Three people were specially flown in from TN on August 14, 1947, the Deputy high priest of the Adheenam, Nadaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai and theOduvar (singer) – carrying the Sengol. They conducted the proceedings. The priest gave the Sengol to Lord Mountbatten, and took it back. The Sengol was purified with holy water. The Sengol was 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. This happened in the night of August 14, 1947. The special song was composed by the 7th century Tamil saint Tirugnana Sambandar, a child prodigy who lived only 16 years. Called Kolaru Pathigam, this curbs the ill effects caused by planetary positions Pathigam means poem in praise of a deity. The song concludes with the words “Adiyaarkal vaanil Arasaalvar aanai namadhe” meaning “The followers (referring to the King) will rule as in the heavens, as per our order”. Thus was power transferred to Indian hands. Pt Nehru accepted this in the presence of Dr Rajendra Prasad and many others. The event was widely reported in the Media, Indian and foreign. The Sengol is special.

The word Sengol is derived from the Tamil word “Semmai”, meaning “Righteousness”. With the sacred Nandi, with its unyielding gaze, It is our own Indic civilizational practice from the Chola kingdom, who were among the leading kingdoms in our sub-continent for centuries. Most importantly, the recipient of the Sengol has the “order” (“aanai” in Tamil) to rule justly and fairly. This is what is most appealing – for those elected to serve the people must never forget this. The Sengol will be installed at the new Parliament building. The Tamil Nadu government has proudly published this in the 2021-22 HR and CE Department Policy note. Under the heading ‘Heads of Mutts as Royal Counsel”, it said at the time of enthronement, the traditional guru or the perceptor of the King would handover the ceremonial Sceptre to the new ruler. Following this tradition when the Oduvars completed the singing of the last line of “11th stanza” from Kolaru Pathigam, Thevaram, “Adiyaarkal vaanil Arasaalvar aanai namadhe” meaning “The followers (referring to the King) will rule as in the heavens, as per our order”, Thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam Thambiran Swamigal handed over the gold plated silver sceptre to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This sigified the transfer of power from the British Governor-General Lord Mountbatten to the first Prime Minister of India.