'Sengol' emerged as the latest flashpoint

The 'sengol' installed next to the Speaker's chair in Lok Sabha has emerged as the latest flashpoint this Parliament after Opposition MPs questioned its relevance in a democracy and the BJP accused them of disrespecting Indian culture.

Jun 27, 2024 - 15:12
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'Sengol' emerged as the latest flashpoint

The 'sengol' installed next to the Speaker's chair in Lok Sabha has emerged as the latest flashpoint this Parliament session after Opposition MPs questioned its relevance in a democracy and the BJP accused them of disrespecting Indian culture.

Samajwadi Party MP RK Chaudhary stirred a row after he demanded that the Sengol, a historic sceptre, be replaced with the Constitution in the Lok Sabha,

In a letter to pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab, RK Chaudhary called Sengol an "anachronistic symbol of monarchy" in a democratic India. Explaining the rationale behind his demand, Chaudhary said, "Sengol means 'Raj Dand'. It also means 'Raja ka Danda'. After ending the princely order, the country became independent. Will the country be run by 'Raja ka danda' or the Constitution? I demand that Sengol be removed from Parliament to save the Constitution."

Senior Congress leader and MP B Manickam Tagore echoed the Samajwadi Party MP on the 'sengol' row. "We have been very clear that the 'sengol' symbolises kingship and the kingdom-era is over. We should celebrate the people's democracy and the Constitution," he said.

Mr Chaudhary's demand was also backed by RJD MP and Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter Misa Bharti. "Whosoever has demanded this, I welcome it," she said. RJD MP Manoj Jha also defended the Samajwadi Party. "The PM has the conduct of the kings - jewellery, dresses, Mangalsutra, Mujra. It is better to put a replica of the Constitution. It will run the country," he said.

The Sengol, installed in the Lok Sabha during the inauguration of the new Parliament building last year, was handed to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as a symbol of the transfer of power from the British to Indians.

Chaudhary's remarks drew heavy criticism from the BJP, with the party saying the Samajwadi Party was "hell-bent" on insulting an integral part of Indian and Tamil culture.

On this, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said the BJP doesn't understand South culture. "They (government) didn't ask Tamilians before putting Sengol. Tamilian culture is not just in Sengol, they are the most intelligent people," she said.

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