Walking the Sengol tightrope Between Historical Symbolism and Electoral Tactics.
Many people believe that politicians have an easy and luxurious life, enjoying all the privileges they perceive themselves to be entitled to. While this perception is generally true, there are exceptions that prove otherwise. One such exception is the current nationwide controversy surrounding the Sengol, an ancient sceptre and symbol of sovereign authority.
— Dr. Vikram Sampath, FRHistS (@vikramsampath) June 7, 2023
The debate revolves around whether Lord Mountbatten handed over the Sengol to Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947 as a symbolic gesture, marking the transfer of British rule to an independent India. Was this historic handover forgotten and treated as a mere “walking stick” by Nehru until it was resurrected for the inauguration of the new Parliament building with great solemnity?
The Sengol holds significant historical value, representing the illustrious Chola dynasty. However, some argue that the Cholas were marginalised in history and are now being used as an electoral tactic to win Tamil votes. These arguments and counterarguments have created polarities that make the politician’s job extremely challenging. They must navigate the tightrope between these opposing viewpoints, risking public support or criticism.
So the BJP's FakeFactory stands exposed today by none other than the revered head Swamigal of the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam himself in The Hindu. No Mountbatten, No Rajaji, No part in OFFICIAL transfer of power on August 14th 1947. But yes the majestic Sengol was indeed… pic.twitter.com/OKRXBYZg7o
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) June 9, 2023
Before this controversy hit the media headlines, many people, including myself, were unfamiliar with the Sengol. However, if I were a politician, I would be compelled to take a stance on it and make it as public and vocal as possible. But even in doing so, doubts may arise. What if I want to switch party allegiance because I feel undervalued by my current superiors?
Should I completely reverse my position to align with the other side and gain their favour? Or should I play it safe by supporting the Sengol on alternate days of the week, opposing it on other days, and remaining neutral on Sundays? Would this make me appear statesmanlike to the voters or give the impression of a split personality disorder?
Walking this tightrope requires skill and may become a defining act for a politician. It is a balancing act that requires careful consideration of personal and political implications. The controversy surrounding the Sengol has presented our politicians with a delicate challenge that tests their ability to navigate through complex and contradictory opinions.
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