A fresh row has erupted between the Congress and the Modi government after party’s Communication in-charge Jairam Ramesh on Friday claimed there is no documented evidence of Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari and Jawaharlal Nehru describing the ‘Sengol’ as a symbol of the transfer of power by the British to India. He remarked that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “drum-beaters are using the ceremonial sceptre for their political ends in Tamil Nadu.”
Taking to Twitter, Jairam Ramesh said: “Is it any surprise that the new Parliament is being consecrated with typically false narratives from the WhatsApp University? The BJP/RSS Distorians stand exposed yet again with Maximum Claims, Minimum Evidence.” “A majestic sceptre conceived of by a religious establishment in then Madras province and crafted in Madras city was indeed presented to Nehru in August 1947. There is NO documented evidence whatsoever of Mountbatten, Rajaji & Nehru describing this sceptre as a symbol of transfer of British power to India. All claims to this effect are plain and simple — BOGUS,” he wrote.
The Congress General Secretary further added that “two of the finest Rajaji scholars with impeccable credentials have expressed surprise.”
“The sceptre is now being used by the PM & his drum-beaters for their political ends in Tamil Nadu. This is typical of this brigade that embroiders facts to suit its twisted objectives,” he alleged, further asking, “The real question is why is President Droupadi Murmu not being allowed to inaugurate the new Parliament?”
Reacting to the claims made by Ramesh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah criticised the grand old party saying that the remarks are a “shameful insult”, while asking, “Why does the Congress party hate Indian traditions and culture so much?”.
“A sacred Sengol was given to Pandit Nehru by a holy Saivite Mutt from Tamil Nadu to symbolize India’s freedom but it was banished to a museum as a ‘walking stick’,” the home minister said in a series of tweets.
“Now, Congress has heaped another shameful insult. The Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, a holy Saivite Mutt, itself spoke about the importance of the Sengol at the time of India’s freedom. Congress is calling the Adheenam’s history as BOGUS! Congress needs to reflect on their behaviour,” he added.
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Sengol Ceremony Remained Unrecorded, But Reports Describe Event: Modi Govt
Meanwhile, the Modi government maintains that “the sacred Sengol ceremony took place just before Pundit Nehru hoisted the national flag and addressed the nation with his stirring message of Tryst with Destiny. Indian and even foreign media had reported, preceding and succeeding August 14, 1947, on the Sengol ceremony.”
“With the nation ravaged by partition and violence and, as the Sengol ceremony had to be arranged in posthaste, and being not a legal or formal matter by oral orders, it remained unrecorded,” the government’s detailed statement on the ‘Sengol’ added.
The government mentioned that the event “disappeared from the institutional memory of the Indian state” and went on to cite reports “had appeared in popular Tamil language media from 2017 onwards about how minutes before Shri Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation as the Prime Minister, the government of India had followed the sacred Sengol vesting model of Chola Kings of Tamil Nadu [who used to assume power] for transfer of power from the Britishers to Indians.”
Citing books, documents, and other reports on the matter, the Centre mentioned the series of events as follows:
- Mountbatten asked Nehru about how to symbolise the transfer of power.
- Nehru asked Rajaji. Rajaji told Nehru that when Tamil kings assumed power, the Rajaguru would head over the Sengol to the king and they can get a saint to do the same.
- Rajaji got in touch with the Tiruvaduthurai Adheenam pontiff and requested him to do the sacred ritual.
- The Chief Pontiff of the Adeenam wasn’t well but he made all arrangements and got the Sengol — with Rishab [Bull] on top made by Vummidi Bangaru Chetty Jewellers.
- Sadaiyapa swami gave the Sengol to Mountbatten and got it back from him and sprinkled holy water on it, invoked the divine name and gave it to Pandit Nehru blessing him to assume power.
The government statement also quotes Adheenam as saying in Tamil “1947- பாரத நாட்டின் சுதந்திர நாளில் — ஆட்சி மாற்றத்தை அடையாளப் படுத்திய தமிழ் வளர்க்கும் திருவாடுதுறை ஆதீனம் வழங்கிய செங்கோல் சிறப்பு.” which translates to “1947 — On the occasion of the independence of Bharata Nadu — the golden Sengol [Sengol] given by the Tamil developing Tiruvaduthurai Adeenam to symbolize the transfer of power”.
The ‘Sengol’ will be installed close to the Chair of the Lok Sabha speaker after the new Parliament building is inaugurated by PM Modi on May 28, an event 20 Opposition parties, including the Congress, are boycotting.