“Lord Mountbatten received the Sengol and then it presented to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947 to symbolise the transfer of power from the British,” Ambalavana Desiga Paramachariya Swamigal of the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam in Tamil Nadu said on Friday.
Louis Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of British India.
Addressing a press conference, Tiruvavaduthurai Aadeenam, Ambalavana Desika Paramacharya Swami said the Sengol that was away from the gaze of people would now be prominently displayed in Parliament for the world to see.
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Notably, this was his first response following the political controversy that erupted over the Sengol.
To a question on proof for handing over the Sengol, the pontiff said there was evidence including photographs and reports that appeared in newspapers and magazines in 1947.
“To claim that Sengol was not given is wrong information.” Answering a query, the pontiff said dissemination of ‘wrong information’ (by some people) in respect of Sengol caused sadness. He also displayed a math publication that had photographs of the handover of Sengol in 1947.
“It is a matter of pride for Tamil Nadu that Sengol has gone from the Tiruvavaduthurai Aadeenam located in the Chola country (region ruled by the Cholas).” The sceptre signified righteousness for a just and fair regime and there are references to the Sengol in Tamil literature including the classic didactic work Tirukkural, the pontiff noted.
On the Hindu religious motif on the Sengol, he said: “In keeping with the traditions followed during the reign of the Chola empire, the Sengol was made and the Rishaba (Nandi, the Bull) symbol was placed on it.”
The spiritual leader said, “Sengol is a sign of Dharma, the Nandi is a symbol of Dharma; it symbolised protection of Dharma for all the times to come.” He also cited a Tamil Shaivite hymn to underscore the importance of Nandi symbolising Dharma.
About 2 months ago, the Centre had hinted at placing Sengol inside the new Parliament building. The Union government has invited them to the inaugural event.
“We are happy, the Sengol that was confined to a museum will be placed in the new Parliament building; we are invited by Delhi and we will be going and the Sengol will be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
The pontiff said Rajaji and other leaders reached out to the Tiruvavaduthurai Aadeenam over the question of symbolising the transfer of power from the British.
In 1947, the math was headed by Ambalavana Desika Paramacharya Swami and it was decided to make a Sengol in sync with tradition to symbolise independence and power transfer.
An order was placed with Chennai-based Vummudi Bangaru Jewellers to make a five-foot long Sengol and it was done accordingly by the firm.
The math delegation, which included Sadai Swami alias Kumaraswamy Thambiran, Manicka Oduvar and nagaswaram maestro T N Rajarathinam Pillai reached Delhi.
It was the Thambiran Swami who handed over the Sengol to Lord Mountbatten who presented it back to the Swami and it was taken out in a procession to the residence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in Delhi to the accompaniment of traditional music. Eventually, the Sengol was presented by the Thambiran Swami to Nehru symbolising power transfer.
It was handed over to the first Prime Minister of India, Nehru following recitation of Thevaram (Shaivite) hymns, he said. In Tamil, the word Aadeenam denoted both a Shaivite monastery and the head of such a mutt. Thevaram is a collection of revered Tamil Shaivite devotional hymns.
With inputs from PTI
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