Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Controversy over Sengol in Lok Sabha 


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sengol and its symbolic importance

Why in the News?

  • An opposition parliamentarian has demanded the removal of the Sengol from the Lok Sabha, calling it a symbol of “rajdand/rajtantra (monarchy)”.This demand has become a point of contention between the government and the Opposition.

What is a Sengol?

  • A sengol (or chenkol) is a royal sceptre symbolizing kingship, righteousness, justice, and authority.
  • It is a traditional Chola-era symbol of authority and governance, originally from Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a golden sceptre, richly adorned and crafted with intricate designs, reflecting the grandeur of ancient Tamil culture.
  • Among the Madurai Nayakas, the sengol was placed before the goddess Meenakshi in the temple and then transferred to the throne room, representing the king’s role as a divine agent.

Significance in the present context: 

  • Accountability and Legitimacy: Just as the Sengol legitimized ancient rulers by holding them accountable to higher moral standards, the institutions and practices in a parliamentary democracy ensure that elected representatives are accountable to the constitution and the people.
  • Ethical Leadership: Leaders in a democracy are expected to uphold justice, integrity, and the rule of law, much like the dharmic kings of the past.
  • Symbolic Representation: The Sengol, as a symbol of righteous rule, parallels the symbolic importance of democratic institutions that represent the will and welfare of the people.
1947 Sengol Ceremony Involving Nehru

  • Government’s Claim: The government claims C Rajagopalachari suggested the ceremony to Nehru.
    • This claim is debated, as there is little contemporary evidence to support the Sengol being a key symbol of power transfer in 1947.
  • Lack of Comprehensive Records: There are limited records about the ceremony where Nehru was reportedly handed a sengol by Hindu leaders from Tamil Nadu.
  • Undocumented: The event is not widely documented, and claims of Lord Mountbatten handing it over ceremonially seem exaggerated.
  • No Symbolization: Nehru accepted the Sengol as a mark of honor, but it was later placed in a museum, indicating it was not central to the transfer of power.

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