Author: Mihir Chandra, a student at Babu Banarasi Das University, Lucknow
The National Emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka which is preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The Lion Capital has four lions mounted back-to-back on a circular abacus. The frieze of the abacus is adorned with sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharma Chakras. The abacus rests on a bell-shaped lotus. The profile of the Lion Capital shows three lions mounted on the abacus with a Dharma Chakra in the centre, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left have been adopted as the State Emblem of India. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted. The recent outrage related to the alteration of the National emblem has raised the question that does there is any law according to which the structure or overall design be changed by the central government. Within this, Several political parties chastised the Centre for a variety of reasons, including the absence of an invitation to the Opposition and the absence of interfaith rites. Aside from the political uproar, the Modi government is being chastised for changing and ‘distorting’ the insignia. Many individuals rushed to social media to remark how the symbol differed from the original. Many people slammed the government, claiming that, unlike the original, the Ashoka Lions in the new logo bared their fangs.
The History behind the National emblem
The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka constructed the pillar, which sits at the location of Buddha’s First Sermon, where he is said to have imparted the Four Noble Truths (the dharma or the law), and signifies India’s sovereignty and its start as a republic. The original construction includes four Asiatic lions facing the four cardinal directions, sitting back-to-back. The lion alludes to the Buddha, who was known as the ‘Lion of the Shakyas’ (Shakyasimha) in honour of his birth clan, the Shakyas. The lions sit on a circular abacus surrounded by a frieze of sculptures of a bull, a horse, a lion, and an elephant facing in four directions. The sculptures are in great relief, and between the bull and the horse is a dharma chakra. Some Buddhist interpretations claim the sculptures reflect successive phases of Buddha’s life, while others claim they symbolise Emperor Ashoka’s (also a Buddhist) reign, with the wheels representing his enlightened rule. A lotus-shaped base, an important Buddhist symbol, sits beneath the abacus. India picked the Lion Capital in 1950 to reaffirm the country’s “historic dedication to international peace and goodwill,” qualities preached by the Buddha and Emperor Ashoka through the Lion Capital.
The Feature of the New Emblem
The national insignia cast by the prime minister and unveiled atop the new Parliament building is a bronze sculpture weighing around 9,500 kg and towering approximately 6.5 metres tall. To support the insignia, a steel structure weighing 6,500 kg has been built. The new national insignia has gone through eight trials, from computer graphics/clay modelling to bronze polishing and casting. Furthermore, for over six months, over 100 craftsmen from throughout the country worked on the design, as well as manufacturing and casting the symbol. The apparent dissimilarities in expression were caused by the change in size and perspective between the original and the new, according to the authorities. The government claims that other than the size, the new building is an identical reproduction of the previous insignia. Sunil Deore and Romiel Moses, the artists who developed the symbol cast, have also said that no changes have been made to the original design.
What does the Law state on Alteration of the National Emblem?
The State Insignia of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005, and the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007, which expressly deal with our state emblem, are important laws to examine. The profile of the Lion Capital, which depicts three lions mounted on an abacus with a Dharma Chakra in the centre, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left, has been accepted as India’s State Emblem. The lotus in the shape of a bell has been eliminated. According to the 2005 Act, the State Emblem of India is as detailed and specified in the schedule to be used as the government’s official seal. According to the Act’s schedule, the State Emblem of India is an adaptation of Asoka’s Sarnath Lion Capital, which is retained, and must adhere to the designs specified in Appendix I or Appendix II.
Section 6 of the law addresses the Central Government’s general authority to control the use of emblems. The Centre has authority over the “specification of design of the symbol and its usage in any manner whatsoever” under Section 6(2)(f) of the Act.
“Subject to the provisions of this Act,” Section 6(2)(f) of the Act states, “the Central Government shall have powers to do all such things (including the specification of the design of the emblem and its use in any manner whatsoever) as the Central Government considers necessary or expedient for the exercise of the foregoing powers.”
Controversies over new Emblem
From the political uproar, the Modi government is being chastised for changing and ‘distorting’ the insignia. Many individuals rushed to social media to remark how the symbol differed from the original. Many people slammed the government, claiming that, unlike the original, the Ashoka Lions in the new logo bared their fangs. The family members recalled this in the midst of a controversy over the national emblem installed atop the new Parliament building, to which opposition parties have objected, accusing the Centre of replacing the “graceful and regally confident” Ashokan lions with those with a menacing and aggressive posture. The opposition parties claim that the newly revealed national insignia is ‘ferocious’ with its exposed teeth and differs from the original. The inscription ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is absent from the new structure atop the Parliament building, according to the Congress. According to The Indian Express, Sunil Deora, one of the two sculptors who constructed the new statue, the observed difference in the lion’s demeanour is due to the magnitude of the new edifice.
The opposition opposed the presentation of the national symbol on three grounds: Narendra Modi broke the Indian Constitution by presenting it, no opposition leader was invited to the ceremony, and secularism was harmed when the PM delivered Hindu ceremonial prayers. Since July 12, detractors have been relentless in their attacks on the cast. Their major worry is the expression of the lions in the national insignia cast on top of the new Parliament building, which differs from the originals at the ‘Lion Capital of Ahsoka’ in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. Following independence in 1947, officials sought a sign that could serve as the nation’s emblem. Badruddin Tyabji, a government servant and liberation warrior, and his wife Surayya Tyabji recommended using the Lion Capital for this purpose. Dinanath Bhargava was chosen to create the National Emblem while the Constitution was being written. Bhargava created the Emblem on the opening page of the Constitution under the supervision of Nandalal Bose, who designed the images in the constitution. Opposition groups claim the newly unveiled national insignia is ‘ferocious,’ with exposed teeth, and differs from the original picture. According to the Indian National Congress (INC), India’s main opposition party in Parliament, the inscription “Satyamev Jayate” is absent from the new structure atop the Parliament building.