Row over national emblem intensifies

Sunil Deore and Romiel Moses, designers of the emblem atop the new parliament building, stressed that there is “no deviation…reports Asian Lite News

The national emblem unveiled atop the new parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sparked a huge controversy. Opposition parties have questioned why the Prime Minister, as head of the Executive, unveiled the emblem. They have also said that the emblem has been modified and “insulted”. The designers of the massive sculpture, however, have claimed that there is “no deviation”

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal tweeted that the lions in the national emblem are known to have a mild expression, but those on the new sculpture appear to have a “man-eater tendency”.

Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Modi’s “Amrit kaal” remark, the RJD’s official handle tweeted in Hindi, “The original emblem has a mild expression, but those built during Amrit Kaal show a man-eater’s tendency to consume everything in the country.”

The tweet added that every symbol “shows the thought of a human being”. “Symbols convey the true nature of a human,” it added.

Jawhar Sircar, a Rajya Sabha MP of Trinamool Congress and a former CEO of the government-run Prasar Bharati, termed it an “insult to our national symbol, the majestic Ashokan Lions”.

Sharing pictures of the emblem and its new version side by side, he tweeted, “Original is on the left, graceful, regally confident. The one on the right is Modi’s version, put above new Parliament building – snarling, unnecessarily aggressive and disproportionate. Shame! Change it immediately!”

Sircar said, “A close look would reveal that there is an aggression in the facial appearance of the lion, whereas what Samrat Ashoka was trying to convey was a controlled regality. The placid expression on the face of very aggressive creatures like lions was an embodiment of the message of peace that Ashoka was trying to give.”

Responding to Sircar’s remarks, BJP’s Chandra Kumar Bose said, “Everything evolves in society, we have also evolved 75 years after Independence. An artist’s expression is not necessarily kind of a government approval. For everything, you cannot blame the government of India or the honourable Prime Minister.”

“I accept the view that Jawhar Sircar has stated that there is a change, a modification to the structure. But let us not always criticise. Maybe India is different today,” he said.

Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, who is at the centre of a row over her recent remarks on goddess Kali, posted the two pictures on her Twitter handle without comment.

Sunil Deore and Romiel Moses, designers of the emblem atop the new parliament building, stressed that there is “no deviation”. “We’ve paid attention to detail. The character of lions is same. There may be very minor differences. People may have different interpretations. It’s a large statue, and a view from below may give a distorted impression,” they said, adding that as artists, they are proud of the sculpture.

The national emblem is made of bronze, weighs 9,500 kg and is 6.5 metre high. A supporting steel structure weighing around 6,500 Kg has been constructed to support the emblem, a government note said.

India’s national emblem is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, an ancient sculpture dating back to the Mauryan empire.

The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 lays down that the state emblem “shall conform to the designs as set out in Appendix I or Appendix II” of the Act.

Earlier, Opposition leaders targeted the government for not inviting them to the unveiling ceremony.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi tweeted that the “parliament and the national emblem belong to the people of India and not one man”.

The CPM said the “constitutional separation of powers” is being “subverted by the head of the Executive”.

Asaddudin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen tweeted, “As head of the government, the Prime Minister shouldn’t have unveiled the national emblem atop the new Parliament building. The Prime Minister has violated all constitutional norms.”

‘Exact replica of original would barely be visible’

If an exact replica of the original were to be placed on the new building, it would barely be visible beyond the peripheral rail, said Union Minister for Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on the ongoing emblem row on Tuesday.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the cast of the national emblem atop the new Parliament building, opposition parties and activists on Tuesday accused the government of distorting the national emblem by replacing the graceful and confident Ashokan lions with those displaying an aggressive posture.

Puri put out a series of tweets clarifying the difference between the original emblem and the new one and said that the experts must know that the original placed in Sarnath is at ground level.

“If an exact replica of the original were to be placed on the new building, it would barely be visible beyond the peripheral rail. The ‘experts’ should also know that the original placed in Sarnath is at ground level while the new emblem is at a height of 33 mtrs from ground”, he said in the tweet.

He said that beauty is famously regarded as being in the eyes of the beholder. So is the case with calm and anger.

“The original Sarnath Emblem is 1.6 mtr high whereas the emblem on the top of the New Parliament Building is huge at 6.5 mtrs height”, said Puri in another tweet.

“One needs to appreciate the impact of angle, height & scale when comparing the two structures. If one looks at the Sarnath emblem from below it would look as calm or angry as the one being discussed”, he added in a subsequent tweet.

“If the Sarnath emblem was to be scaled up or the emblem on the new Parliament building is reduced to that size there would not be any difference”, he concluded in the tweet.

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