Opinion | The Saga of Sengol: How India Was Hindu In 1947, But Lutyens’ Elites Conspired To Steal It

On Sunday, 28 May 2023, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicates the brand new Parliament construction to the country, a golden ‘Sengol’, loosely known as sceptre, which were passed over to the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the eve of India’s Independence, will discover a position of honour within the new premises. The saga of Sengol, on the other hand, manifests the whole lot that has — and can have — long past fallacious in post-Independence India.

In 75 years as a loose country, the golden Sengol — the sacred logo used to legitimise the switch of energy from one king to any other by means of the rajguru (state priest) — was once lowered to a “golden walking stick gifted to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru”. Its sacred nature was once invaded by means of the secular state to consign it to a museum in Prayagraj — dumped, desolated and degraded. As it’s now slated to be purified with holy waters and put in within the new Parliament, subsequent to the Speaker’s seat, the ‘discovery’ of Sengol, in some way, marks the rediscovery of civilisational India that had intentionally been relegated to the margins within the title of cultivating “scientific tempers”.

It’s ironic however complete of symbolism that the ultimate time a Sengol was once used to legitimise switch of energy, it was once at the eve of India’s Independence. Before the switch of energy on 15 August 1947, Lord Mountbatten, the ultimate Viceroy of British India, reportedly requested Nehru concerning the rituals had to mark the instance. Nehru reached out to C Rajagopalachari, popularly referred to as Rajaji, who really useful him to practice the Chola fashion of energy switch, in which a clergyman would provide a sceptre to the brand new ruler to put across the speculation of energy transition. Rajaji, in reality, took the lead in drawing near Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, a Thanjavur-based mutt, to lend a hand within the making of a Sengol. The 5-ft lengthy intricately carved gold-plated silver sceptre, with a finial of a bull (a logo of dharma) on most sensible, was once in a position prior to the switch of energy.

On 10 August 1947, two sannyasins from the Tanjore mutt left for New Delhi in a unique airplane. Just like the traditional Hindu kings, Nehru was once passed over the Sengol proper prior to his historical ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech within the Constituent Assembly that marked the delivery of the country free of British rule.

In his 1950 ebook, Betrayal In India, Journalist DF Karaka reminisces the festive temper in Delhi that was once abruptly marked by means of upsurge of “religious spirit”. It was once the upward push of Hindu spirit that the creator erroneously, and in sync with the Nehruvian consensus, known as “superstitious”. He writes, “In Delhi, as the great day approached, the enthusiasm and excitement grew. Then, for some inexplicable reason, a religious spirit spread over the capital. Time magazine in its report said: ‘As the great day approached, the Indians thanked their various gods and rejoiced with prayers, poems, hymns and songs.’ Even Pandit Nehru, who had never been known to frequent the temples or to indulge in much religious ceremony, consented to have the blessings of the religious pandits. From Tanjore there came emissaries of the head priest the Sanyasis, an order of Hindu ascetics. It was traditional in ancient India to derive power and authority from the holy men. Pandit Nehru yielded to all this religious ceremony… The mood of New Delhi had become almost superstitious.”

Karaka continues, “In the evening the priests walked ahead of these religious processions. They carried the sceptre, the holy water which they had brought with them from Tanjore, and rice. They laid their gifts at the feet of the Prime Minister. Holy ash was marked on the Pandit’s forehead and the priests gave him their blessings.”

The loose country that was once born in 1947 was once unapologetically Hindu. And Nehru, regardless of being a sceptic, to begin with went with the Hindu temper of the country, however later conspired along with his revolutionary/Leftist minions to thieve the innate ‘Hinduness’ of the rustic.

Even Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, of their ebook Freedom at Midnight, seize the Hindu temper on the break of day of Independence. They write, “As once Hindu holy men had conferred upon ancient India’s kings their symbols of power, so the sannyasin had come to York Road to bestow their antique emblems of authority on the man about to assume the leadership of a modern Indian nation.” Lapierre and Collins additionally point out how Nehru, “who had never ceased to proclaim the horror the word ‘religion’ inspired in him, their rite was a tiresome manifestation of all he deplored in his nation”, “submitted to it with almost cheerful humility”. Now that’s known as having the cake and consuming it too! Nehru had no reservations in legitimising his rule thru Hindu mores whilst operating tirelessly thereafter to decimate each edifice that had Hindu markers.

Still if any individual had doubts concerning the innate ‘Hinduness’ of the just-freed India, one will have to learn the next traces from Freedom at Midnight, minutely detailing the temper in New Delhi on the middle of the night of 14 August 1947: “No arsonist’s hands had lit the little fire burning in the New Delhi garden of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the president of India’s Constituent Assembly. It was a Sacred Fire, consecrated and purified according to Vedic rite by the Brahmin priest who sat beside it rhythmically chanting his mantras… As he repeated his atonal chant, the learned men and women who would shortly become the first ministers of an independent India, filed past the fire. A second Brahmin sprinkled each with a few drops of water. Then they stepped over to a woman waiting with a copper vessel, its exterior white-washed, its lip covered with palm leaves. As the ministers paused before her, she dipped her right forefinger into the vessel, then, with the liquid on her fingertip, pressed a bright vermilion dot on their foreheads.”

But why simply confine oneself to the temper at the eve of Independence? The civilisational thought of Bharat wasn’t an antithesis to the fashionable thought of India — now not a minimum of until 1950, when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel died and the Right-wing components had been undemocratically hounded out of the Congress. Such was once the Nehruvian disdain for those people who Nehru, the democrat par excellence, who all his existence preached the one-person, one-post idea, assumed the fee of the birthday celebration whilst concurrently main the country. He persisted to take action until the Hindu components within the Congress had been in large part purged from the birthday celebration.

At the time of Independence, the makers of trendy India by no means noticed its civilisational previous with the standard Nehruvian suspect. Even the Constitution of India was once Hindu in its look. Harsh Madhusudan and Rajeev Mantri write of their seminal ebook A New Idea of India (2020), “When the Constituent Committee finished the task of drafting the Republic of India’s Constitution, India’s leadership at the time — composed chiefly of figures from the Congress party — tasked the renowned Indian artist Nandlal Bose to illustrate the Constitution.” The entrance quilt of the unique Constitution featured Ram, Sita and Lakshman from the Ramayan. It’s, due to this fact, now not a marvel that the time period ‘secularism’ was once conspicuous by means of its absence within the Constitution of India.

So, the minority-first secular order wasn’t what India was once reborn with in 1947; it was once an act of Nehruvian perversion which had not anything however mistrust for Hinduism and the Hindu method of existence. As Swapan Dasgupta writes in his 2019 ebook Awakening Bharat Mata, it was once “under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru” that “the post-Independence Congress slowly attempted to become consciously ‘secular’ and shed explicit identification with Hindu imagery”. In reality, the post-Independence destiny of Vande Mataram “from being the icon of the national movement to becoming an extra — something which couldn’t be repudiated but which was at the same time awkward and embarrassing”, as Dasgupta writes, exposes the ills of Nehruvian India.

In that method, Prime Minister Modi, thru his Sengol transfer, has signalled the arrival of a brand new India this is speedy unshackling itself from Western idioms. It now not judges itself from the European/American parameters, and being civilisational isn’t antithesis to modernity anymore. In reality, all of the achievements that PM Modi highlighted in his speech in Australia early this week, spanning virtual, startups, fintech, and many others, level in that path: That new India isn’t just getting alive to, but in addition is assured of its civilisational position. It is comfy in its personal Sanatan boot. Something that the makers of trendy India had dreamt of however was once sadly hijacked and stolen by means of those that lorded the Lutyens for many portions of post-Independence India.

The creator is Opinion Editor, Firstpost and News18. He tweets from @Utpal_Kumar1. Views expressed are non-public.

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