Historic ‘Sengol’ to be installed in new Parliament building
May 25, 2023

Why in news?

  • The upcoming inauguration of the new parliament building will also see PM Modi install a historic sceptre from Tamil Nadu next to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s seat.
  • The sceptre is known as Sengol — derived from the Tamil word “Semmai”, meaning “Righteousness”.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Sengol
  • Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam


  • Known as Sengol, the sceptre is a “significant historical” symbol of Independence as it signifies the transfer of power from the British to the Indians.
  • It was presented to Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, as a symbol of the transfer of power from the British.

History of Sengol

  • Question over nature of ceremony to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands
    • What is the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands?
    • This was the question posed by the then Viceroy Lord Mountbatten to the to-be Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
    • Nehru then consulted C. Rajagopalachari, commonly known as Rajaji, who went on to become the last Viceroy of India.
  • Chola model was followed
    • Rajaji identified the Chola model where the transfer of power from one king to another was sanctified and blessed by a high ruler.
    • The symbol used was the handover of ‘sengol’ or sceptre from one king to his successor.
  • Making of Sengol
    • The Sengol was constructed by two men — Vummidi Ethirajulu and Vummidi Sudhakar, both are still alive and remember making it.
      • A golden sceptre was crafted by Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a famous jeweller in the Madras Presidency.
    • The sceptre measures five feet in length and has a ‘Nandi’ bull on top, symbolising justice.
  • The ‘handing over’ ceremony that happened on Independence Day eve
    • As per the official document, three people brought in the newly-made Sengol from Tamil Nadu.
    • These three people were:
      • the deputy high priest of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam (a 500-year-old Saivaite monastery),
      • nagaswaram player Rajarathinam Pillai, and
      • an Odhuvar (a person who sings devotional songs in Tamil temples).
    • The ceremony was conducted as per Tamil traditions and the sengol was handed over to Nehru at his house.
      • During the ceremony, which took place on August 14, 1947, a priest gave the sceptre to Lord Mountbatten and then took it back.
      • It was then 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.
        • The song played during the ceremony was composed by the 7th-century Tamil saint Tirugnana Sambandar — a child prodigy who lived only 16 years.

Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam

  • About
    • It is a prominent Shaiva monastic organization or mutt (matha) based in Tamil Nadu, India.
    • The mutt is located in Dharmapuram, a town in the Mayiladuthurai district of Tamil Nadu.
    • It is one of the oldest and most revered Adheenams (monastic institutions) in the Shaiva tradition.
    • It was established in the 10th century by the sage Tirugnana Sambandar, who was one of the four main Nayanars (saints) of Shaivism.
  • Features
    • The Adheenam is primarily focused on promoting and preserving the teachings, rituals, and practices of Shaivism.
    • The Adheenam is involved in publishing Saivite literature, specifically Thevaram and Tiruvasakam and its translations.
    • The head of the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam holds the title of "Adheenakarthar" and is considered a spiritual leader and guide for the followers.