The Vummidi Bangaru Chetty family, who made the historic golden sceptre or ‘Sengol’ that will be installed in the new parliament building on Sunday, has received an invitation to the inauguration ceremony.
“I am not just proud but also elated,” said 95-year-old Vummidi Ethiraju, who was 20 years old when he along with others handcrafted the ‘Sengol’.
According to reports, when India’s independence was being formalised, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, asked the soon-to-be-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru how to symbolise the transfer of power from the British Empire to India. Mr Nehru reportedly sought the advice of C Rajagopalachari, the country’s last Governor General.
Mr Rajagopalachari told Mr Nehru about the Tamil tradition of the high priest handing over a sceptre to a new king when the latter comes to power. This tradition was followed during the reign of the Cholas, and Mr Rajagopalachari suggested that it could be used to mark India’s freedom from the Raj.
Tasked with arranging a sceptre to mark India’s independence, Mr Rajagopalachari contacted Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, one of the oldest Shaivite mutts in Tamil Nadu. The seer accepted the responsibility and commissioned Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a jeweler in then-Madras, to make the sceptre.
Now, several decades later, the descendants of Vummidi Bangaru Chetty have been honoured with an invitation to the inauguration ceremony of the new parliament building.
The ‘Sengol’ was kept in the Nehru Gallery of the Allahabad Museum until recently, when it was moved to Delhi for installation in the new parliament building.
“We wrote to almost all the museums in India. We did not get a reply for almost a year. But just for the sake of it, we decided to write to the Allahabad Museum. After three to four months, we got a reply saying that something similar to what we had described was present at the museum,” said another Amarendran Vummudi, the Managing Partner of Vummudi Bangaru Jewellers.
“The moment we saw the sceptre we knew that it was the ‘Sengol’ as it had inscriptions in Tamil describing what it is and what it was used for,” he added.
“C Rajagopalachari was instrumental in the making of the ‘Sengol’ courtesy of his deep knowledge of the traditions.”
PM Modi will inaugurate the new parliament building on Sunday and the ‘Sengol’ will be installed next to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s seat.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To enter the parliament and see that a piece of history made by our lineage installed there is unimaginable to us,” said one of the descendants.
PM Modi will receive the ‘Sengol’ from 20 ‘adheenams’ (mutt) heads of Tamil Nadu. While as many as 25 parties are expected to attend the ceremony, at least 20 opposition parties, including Congress, have decided to boycott the event.