Prime Minister recently gave the nation a first glimpse of the national emblem atop the new Parliament House coming up as part of the Central Vista Project.
- The first look at the new 6.5 metre bronze emblem disappointed many with its alleged inaccuracies in depiction.
GS II- Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- History behind the national emblem
- Why did the Constituent Assembly embrace the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem?
- What is the controversy behind the latest replica?
History behind the national emblem
- Four Asiatic lions are part of the national emblem with three lions being visible to the naked eye and the fourth one always hidden from general view.
- They are taken from the Sarnath Lion Capital of the Mauryan emperor Asoka.
- The seven feet tall sculpture made of polished sandstone represented courage, power and pride.
- Built in 250 BC to commemorate the first sermon of Gautama Buddha, where he is said to have shared the Four Noble Truths of life, it was mounted on a base of a frieze of smaller sculptures, including
- a horse
- a lion,
- a bull
- an elephant
- All moving in a clockwise direction.
- The four animals are said to be guardians of the four directions — north, south, east and west.
- They are separated by a wheel, representing the Dharmachakra of Buddhism, on all four sides.
- Each chakra or wheel has 24 spokes.
- The chakra was later adopted as part of the national flag.
- This abacus was mounted on an inverted lotus which is a symbol of Buddhism.
- Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang has left a detailed account of Asoka’s lion pillar in his writings
- The pillar was part of Asoka’s plan to spread Buddha’s teachings.
- After the large-scale massacre in the Battle of Kalinga, Asoka was shaken and embraced Buddhism with its emphasis on ahimsa.
- He decided to propagate his principles throughout his empire through the Major and Minor Edicts.
Why did the Constituent Assembly embrace the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem?
- As India won independence, the Constituent Assembly decided on the Sarnath pillar as the national emblem.
- It was felt that the pillar epitomised the power, courage and confidence of the free nation.
- The emblem depicts a two-dimensional sculpture with the words Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs) written below it, taken from the Mundaka Upanishad, written in Devanagari script.
- On January 26, 1950, the Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath officially became the national emblem of India.
- The emblem represents the seal of the Republic of India.
- Five students of renowned artist Nandalal Bose created the emblem.
- Among them were Jagdish Mittal, Kripal Singh Shekhawat, Gauri Bhanja and Dinanath Bhargava who was a young man in his 20s then.
- He was advised by Bose to visit the Kolkata zoo to observe the lions closely so as to get the exact expression of the majestic animal.
- He is said to have travelled 200 kilometres to observe the lions from close quarters.
What is the controversy behind the latest replica?
- The latest replica by Deore and Moses has a steel pillar support of 6,500 kgs. The lions, many alleged, looked “too aggressive”, which amounted to tampering with the original in a hurry to meet the deadline of the Central Vista Project.
- The designers countered the criticism about the lions looking aggressive by insisting that it was a matter of perspective, and claimed that the new emblem is a huge structure meant to be appreciated from a distance.
- The original structure was 1.6 metre tall whereas the new depiction is 6.5 metre high.
- Also, the original Lion Capital was at the ground level while the latest depiction is at a height of 33 metre from the ground.
-Source: The Hindu