President Droupadi Murmu was led by the "Sengol", a golden stick signifying transfer of power in Tamil tradition, on Wednesday (31 January) to address the joint sitting of both the houses ahead of the Budget Session.
She was followed by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.
While others stayed back and assumed their positions in the house, President Murmu went on to the stage with VP Dhankhar where she gave her address, key highlights here.
The historic sceptre, Sengol came into light after the PM Modi led Central government spent two years examining official records to authenticate the importance of the Sengol.
The ‘Sengol Vesting Ceremony’ on the night of 14 August 1947 symbolised the transfer of power to India from Britain. However, the Sengol was kept as Nehru's 'golden walking stick' in Allahabad Museum for decades.
It assumed spotlight when PM Modi was presented the Sengol by Saivite seers from Tamil Nadu during the inauguration of the new Parliament building. Since then, it has been ceremoniously placed in the Lok Sabha.
However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had mocked PM Modi's sashtang pranam before the Sengol during an event in the United States and said, "Lying down and doing all that. Aren't you happy I'm not lying down."
The Sengol was used during the Chola empire for transfer of seat of power from one king to another by the rajguru (state priest). The word Sengol is derived from the Tamil word ‘semmai’, indicating righteousness and symbolising power and justice.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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