Union Government Contradicts Own Narrative on 'Sengol' Sceptre

The Union government was unable to prove its claims about the gold-plated sceptre's use on the eve of Indian independence.

New Delhi: The Union government was unable to provide evidence for its claim that the Chola-era sengol sceptre was used to mark the transfer of power between Britain and independent India, a report by the Hindu has said.

The report also says that the government contradicted its own narrative on how the sceptre was transported and used on the eve of India’s independence.

The Congress too referred to this contradiction and used it to lash out at the government for perpetuating “false narratives”.

“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,” Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said in reference to the report.

Union home minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday, 24 May that the sengol was used during the ancient Chola dynasty, which was centered in what is today Tamil Nadu, to mark the transfer of power between rulers.

He said this during an announcement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive the sengol during the new parliament building’s inauguration on May 28.

A day after that, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the sengol’s investiture with Jawaharlal Nehru during a ceremony on August 14, 1947 symbolised and sanctified the transfer of power between Britain and India.

But a docket provided to the media by the Union government gave no evidence that Nehru saw the ceremony as symbolising a transfer of power, the Hindu‘s report said.

The government is also said to have endorsed the view that the sengol was transferred between India’s former viceroy and Nehru in one part of the docket, and then presented an article “ridiculing” the same view in a different part of it.

Some see the sengol’s use on May 28 as an attempt by the BJP to reach out to Tamil Nadu voters ahead of next year’s general elections. An online version of the docket even says that the symbolic transfer of power was inspired by “India’s greatest empire”.

Read more about the Union government’s docket and the holes in its claims here.

But previous attempts made by the party to do this also involved historical inaccuracies.

For example, the Union government said during a cultural event in April that the state’s Saurashtra community was forced to migrate there due to “a series of invasions by Islamic radicals” in western India, even though experts say there is no proof for this, a different report by the Hindu said.

Modi’s inauguration of the new parliament building has been controversial, with critics saying that the president ought to inaugurate it instead. Nineteen opposition parties have said they will boycott the ceremony in protest.