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How an atheist Nehru accepted handing over of power from a religious head


It is said that as the time for handing over of power to Pandit Nehru by Lord Mountbatten was nearing, both were wondering how symbolically and formally to handover the power. Nehru sought clarification from Rajaji (Rajagopalachari) who suggested that a sceptre (mace) could be handed over as symbol of power transition by a Guru, as was done in the court of Tamil Kings. Nehru readily agreed to this timely suggestion.

Rajaji immediately contacted the head of Thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam (a Saivaite Mutt) in Tamil Nadu.  Accordingly, the Mutt head, His Holiness Sri La Sri Ambalavana Desika Swamigal, ordered a sceptre to be made; the golden sceptre (gold plated) studded with jewels and adorned with a Nandhi (Bull, the mount of Lord Siva) cost Rs. 15,000 in 1947. The work was executed by Vummidi Bangaru Chetti & Sons, gold & diamond merchants of Madras (Chennai).

            As the Aadheenam Head was unwell then, on his behalf his junior, Sri-La-Sri Kumraswami Thambiran, took it to Delhi in a special flight arranged for them. With auspicious Nadaswaram music played by the great maestro T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai, the sceptre was handed over by Lord Mountbatten to Thambiran Swamigal who, in turn, handed it over to Pt. Nehru after sprinkling the mace with holy water, even as sacred hymns from Thevaaram (a collection of Tamil Saivaite poems in praise of Lord Siva composed by Thirugnanasambanthar and others in the 7th & 8th centuries) were recited by ‘othuvaar’ (singer) from the Mutt who accompanied the sceptre. All this at the Constituent Assembly Hall on the midnight of 14th August!

Most of us are not aware of this significant event at the time of India’s independence; maybe it was not publicized much fearing that the atheist Nehru could feel embarrassed.  

            After 75 years due credit has been given to South India’s 1000-year-old tradition. This Staff (‘Sengol’ in Tamil) wasplaced besides the Lok Sabha Speaker’s seat in the new Parliament building that is was inaugurated on 28th May. For full details, please see


(News & Photos credit- Thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam. Email: / Whatsapp 9840917608)


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi