Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Historic ‘Sengol’ to be installed in new Parliament


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sengol

Mains level : Not Much


Central Idea

  • Prime Minister is set to install the ‘Sengol,’ a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, in the new Parliament building, which will be inaugurated on May 28, 2023.

What is Sengol?

  • Sengol is a historical sceptre that holds significant cultural and historical value in Tamil Nadu.
  • Derived from the Tamil word “Semmai,” meaning “Righteousness,” Sengol represents a symbol of justice and good governance.
  • In the Chola era, the transfer of power from one king to another was sanctified with the sceptre being handed over as a symbol of authority and the responsibility to rule with fairness and justice.
  • It gained prominence during the transfer of power from the British to the Indian people at the time of India’s independence.

History: Traditional Chola Practice and Symbolism

  • Historical Practice: The presentation of the Sengol aligns with a traditional Chola practice where Samayacharyas (spiritual leaders) led the coronation of kings, sanctifying the transfer of power and symbolically recognizing the ruler.
  • Symbol of Justice and Good Governance: The Sengol, a symbol of justice and good governance, holds cultural significance as recorded in ancient Tamil texts like Silapathikaram and Manimekalai.

Sengol’s recent context and creation

  • Lord Mountbatten’s Question: Prior to Independence, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, asked Nehru about the ceremony that should symbolize the transfer of power.
  • Inspiration from Chola Dynasty: Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, suggested a ceremony from the Chola dynasty, where the transfer of power was sanctified and blessed by high priests.
  • Manufacturing the Sengol: Rajagopalachari approached Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, a renowned Shaivite mutt in Tamil Nadu’s Tanjore district, which commissioned the creation of the Sengol from Chennai-based jewellers, “Vummidi Bangaru Chetty.”
  • Craftsmanship: Vummidi Ethirajulu and Vummidi Sudhakar skillfully crafted the five-foot-long Sengol, featuring a symbolic ‘Nandi’ bull representing justice.

Significance of the ‘Sengol’

  • Symbolic importance: Derived from the Tamil word “Semmai,” meaning “Righteousness,” the ‘Sengol’ represents a significant historical symbol of Independence.
  • Marks Transfer of Power: On August 14, 1947, Pandit Nehru, the first PM, received the ‘Sengol’ from the Adhinam of Tamil Nadu, marking the shift of power from the British to the Indian people.

The Handover Ceremony

  • Arrival of the Sengol: Three individuals, including the deputy high priest of the Adheenam, a Nadaswaram player, and an Oduvar (singer), brought the newly made Sengol from Tamil Nadu.
  • The Ceremony: On August 14, 1947, the Sengol was handed over to Lord Mountbatten during a procession, and later taken to Jawaharlal Nehru’s house, where it was officially presented to him.
  • Sacred Song and Attendees: A special song composed by the 7th-century Tamil saint Tirugnana Sambandar, as specified by the high priest, accompanied the ceremony. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president, and other dignitaries were present during the event.

Ceremonial Procession and Tamil Traditions

  • Grand Procession: The Sengol will be ceremoniously transported to the House in a grand procession.
  • Musical Ensemble: Traditional Nadaswaram musicians, playing Tamil Nadu’s iconic instrument, will lead the procession, and PM is expected to walk alongside them, embracing Tamil culture.
  • Adheenams and Sanctification: Adheenams, priests from Shaivite mutts in Tamil Nadu, will be present in the Lok Sabha’s Well. They will sanctify the Sengol with holy water after Prime Minister Modi greets them, honoring Tamil traditions.
  • Oduvars and Sacred Recitation: Tamil temple singers known as Oduvars will recite the “Kolaru Padhigam” lyrically, while the Nadaswaram musicians enchant with their soulful music.


  • The Sengol continues to be revered as a representation of India’s independence and serves as a tangible reminder of the country’s rich cultural heritage and the values it upholds.
  • Its installation in the new Parliament building further emphasizes its importance and aims to educate and inspire people about this historical event and the principles it embodies.


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