Editorials

National Emblem Controversy- Genuine Concern or Political Agenda?

Author- Vanshika Sachwani, Student of Ramaiah College of Law

Introduction

The National Emblem is the symbol of freedom for India, adopted on 26th January 1950 from Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar. It is combined with the National motto ‘Satyamev Jayate’ or ‘Truth Alone Triumph’, a quote from Mundaka Upanishad which is the closing part of the holy Hindu Veda. It is a seal for a nation used for official purposes. It symbolizes authority and constitutional authority. The Pillar portrays confidence, authority, courage, and power. It is the official seal of the president of India and central and state governments. The member of the Parliaments has the authority to use the emblem on their letterheads and visiting cards also printed on all the passport of India. Buildings such as Parliament House, State Legislature, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan, Supreme Court, High Court, Central Buildings, etc represent the National Emblem of India

Significance of National Emblem

It is a sense of pride in Indians. The three lions symbolize the country’s commitment to peace, justice, and tolerance. The circular wheel in the middle is a form of Buddhist Dharma Chakra, later known as Ashoka Chakra. The 24 strokes symbolize 24 hours of the day and the passage of time, basically moving forward with life and avoiding stagnation. Four Asiatic Lions mounted back on a circular abacus. There’s also the Dharma Chakra (Wheel of Law), a bull, an elephant, and a galloping horse. It is a symbol of sovereignty in India.  All four animals on the Emblem signify protection in all four directions. In other interpretations, it means four stages of Buddha’s life. The motto translates to Only truth prevails, not untruth; by the path of truth is laid out, the Divine way, on which the sages of yore, fulfilled in their desires, attain the supreme treasure of Truth.”

The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005

The Act is to prevent the misuse of Emblem for commercial and professional purposes, every citizen inland and outside of the country is obliged to use the provisions of the Act. Section 3 of the Act prohibits the person from using the emblem to create an impression in any manner that it belongs to State or Central government, section 4 prohibits the use of an Emblem as a part of a patent, copyright, or trademark unless specifies by the government. Government has the authority to make rules. Section 6 of this Act gives the Central government power to issue notifications, on where to use the emblem, these powers include restricting the display of such emblem on vehicles of constitutional authorities, foreign dignitaries, Central and State Government Ministers and also provide guidelines for display of said emblem on publicly owned buildings in the country and Indian embassies in different countries. Under section 11 government has made rules State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules,2007. Section7 of this Act penalizes the person committing an offense of violation of section 3 and section 4 of this Act.

Emergence of Controversy 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the new parliamentary building on July 11, Emblem on the new building has created a controversy, the opposition believes that the lions in the sculpture look ‘ferocious and aggressive’ instead of ‘calm and graceful’. Some believe it is unnecessary to change the form of the Emblem. The National Emblem is made of bronze and weighs 9500kg. A supporting structure of steel of around 6500kg has been constructed to support the Emblem. The concept sketch and process of casting the National Emblem on the roof of the building went through eight different stages of preparation. The Ideal is inspired by Buddhist ideologies which symbolize the state of meditativeness and calmness and the new sculpture looks the opposite of that, whereas some believe that the sculpture above the building is a good copy of the original, despite being a few inches taller. The original is 7-8 feet whereas the sculpture is 3 times high. The Archeological Survey of India said “When it comes to 7-8 feet Ashoka Lion and when it comes to 20-21 feet Ashoka Lion, then the artist’s work angle is different. If you look at something built up high, then it looks different from below, but there is no significant difference. I believe that what has been made is a good copy of the Ashoka Pillar found at Sarnath,”. The controversy extends to PM promoting a particular religion during ‘Bhumi Puja’ whereas some believe ‘Bhumi Puja’ is a part of Indian culture and not a personal activity promoting or establishing any specific religion.

Conclusion

National Emblem is a sign of peace, with opposition parties believing the Emblem is the representation of calmness and then themselves creating a state of restlessness in the country, or separation. The political parties are made of future representatives of citizens and thus, have a responsibility to keep the interest of people above their political agendas. Considering the current situation in India where religion can easily become the reason for unrest in the country, political parties must focus on the betterment and unity of society and promoting the idea of a peace-loving and secular country. Strong, vibrant, and active opposition helps to improve governance however, political opposition should not translate into hostility.


References

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/angry-lions-after-national-emblem-cast-lion-capital-of-ashoka-itself-fuels-row-but-modi-govt-justifies/articleshow/92826103.cms

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/russia-ukraine-crisis

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-activists-object-to-muscular-aggressive-lions-in-national-emblem/article65630798.ece

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/jul/13/national-emblem-atop-parliament-should-be-seen-from-same-angle-as-original-sarnath-version-is-viewed-2476159.html

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/national-emblem-controversy-it-is-an-exact-replica-of-sarnath-says-government-574619.html

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/battle-over-national-emblem-government-rebuts-opposition-roar-while-lions-maintain-silence/articleshow/92831633.cms

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-national-emblem-parliament-national-emblem-history-national-emblem-symbol-national-emblem-lion-pillar-li-2968086

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62131457

https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/government/national-emblem-of-india-what-it-symbolizes

https://www.culturalindia.net/national-symbols/national-emblem.html

https://lawyerslaw.org/the-state-emblems-of-india-prohibition-of-improper-use-act-2005/.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/on-national-emblem-row-minister-provides-sense-of-proportion-one-needs-to-101657672786389.html

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