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The new National Emblem

  • Published
    20th Jul, 2022

Prime Minister has recently given the nation a first look of the national emblem atop the new Parliament House coming up as part of the Central Vista Project.

  • On January 26, 1950, the Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath officially became the national emblem of India.
  • Five students of renowned artist Nandalal Bose created the emblem.
  • It represents courage, power and pride.
  • It was built in 250 BC to commemorate the first sermon of Gautama Buddha, where he is said to have shared the Four Noble Truths of life.

The Original Structure

  • There are Four Asiatic lions which are part of the national emblem with three lions being visible to the naked eye and the fourth one always hidden.
  • They are taken from the Sarnath Lion Capital of the Mauryan emperor
  • The existing one is seven feet tall sculpture made of polished sandstone.
  • It was mounted on a base of a frieze of smaller sculptures, including a horse (under fire in the new replica for its tail supposedly resembling that of a dog), a lion, a bull and an elephant moving in a clockwise direction.
  • They are separated by a wheel, representing the Dharmachakra of Buddhism, on all four sides. 
  • Each chakra or wheel has 24 spokes. The chakra was later adopted as part of the national flag.
  • This abacus was mounted on an inverted lotus which is a symbol of Buddhism.
  • Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang has left a detailed account of Asoka’s lion pillar in his writings.

About the New Emblem

  • It is a 5 metre bronze emblem designed by Sunil Deore and Romiel Moses.
  • The four animals are said to be guardians of the four directions — north, south, east and west. 
  • The latest has a steel pillar support of 6,500 kgs.
  • The concept sketch and process of casting the national emblem on the roof of the new Parliament building have gone through eight stages of preparation, from clay modelling and computer graphics to bronze casting and polishing.

Why Sarnath Pillar was embraced as the National emblem?

  • After Independence, it was felt that the pillar epitomised the power, courage and confidence of the free nation.
  • The emblem depicts a two-dimensional sculpture.
  • It contains the words Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs) written below it, taken from the Mundaka Upanishad, written in Devanagari script.
  • The emblem represents the seal of the Republic of India.

What is the issue in the current replica?

  • The lions in the latest replica looked “too aggressive”, which amounted to tampering with the original in a hurry to meet the deadline of the Central Vista Project.
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