Amusing to hear stories that didn’t happen: Chidambaram on sengol
The sengol was passed on by the Tiruvavuduthai Adheenam to PM Narendra Modi while he inaugurated the new Parliament on May 28.
Chennai: On August 14, 1947 Lord Mountbatten was in Karachi for Pakistan’s Independence Day and he came to Delhi only past 7pm on that day, said senior Congress leader P Chidambaram citing historians on the sengol (sceptre) incident and adding that it’s amusing to watch a few who are spreading stories which never happened.
The former union finance minister said that historians who have chronicled India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the last Governor-General of India C Rajagopalachari have documented what has really happened and the rest isn’t historically accurate.
“Even yesterday the Tamil Nadu Governor (RN Ravi) told some story about it. But what is the truth? Historians have recorded it,” Chidambaram said at a press conference here. “According to history, the Tiruvavuduthai Adheenam went by train, not flight, to Nehru’s doorstep on August 14, 1947 evening. They requested to see him and offered this to Nehru as a souvenir. At that time Nehru received several hundred memorabilia. It was all carefully kept in the Allahabad museum. On that day Mountbatten wasn’t even in Delhi. He was in Pakistan and came to Delhi at 7 at night. He changed and came for independence celebrations around 11.30pm and at midnight Nehru made his speech. This is what happened. Historians have written the history. The rest of them add stories to it.”
He added that they have neither “hidden” nor “diminished” what has transpired with the sengol. The gold plated sengol given to Nehru was taken from the museum and passed on by the Tiruvavuduthai Adheenam to Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he inaugurated the new Parliament on May 28 and he placed the sengol behind the Speaker.
Several including Rajagopalachari’s grandson and biographer Rajmohan Gandhi have questioned the sequence of events as claimed by the BJP-led union government. Union home minister Amit Shah, in a press conference before the inauguration, had said that when Viceroy Lord Mountbatten asked Nehru about the ceremony to be followed for the transfer of power and he consulted Rajagopalachari, the latter suggested the passing on of the sengol followed in erstwhile Tamil kingdoms. So the members of the adheenam handed over the sengol to Mountbatten, took it back, sprinkled it with holy water and handed it over to Nehru.
“According to the Modi government, we got independence only after he became Prime Minister. Some of them will even say we had no independence before him,” chided Chidambaram. However, he said that they aren’t against the sengol being displayed in the parliament but the Congress and 19 other parties boycotted it only because the President of India Droupadi Murmu wasn’t rightfully invited to inaugurate the new Parliament.