National Emblem: Opposition have 'lost it', says BJP amid raging controversy over 'benign' vs 'aggressive' lions : The Tribune India

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National Emblem: Opposition have 'lost it', says BJP amid raging controversy over 'benign' vs 'aggressive' lions

Opposition and activists accuse the government of distorting the National Emblem

National Emblem: Opposition have 'lost it', says BJP amid raging controversy over 'benign' vs 'aggressive' lions

National Emblem atop the new Parliament building (left) and a photograph of the original emblem tweeted by Union Minister Hardeep S Puri. PTI/Twitter



Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, July 12

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Emblem atop the new Parliament building, a new controversy erupted, this time over the facial expression of lions on it.

While yesterday the ceremony triggered a political row with opposition parties accusing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making it a “personal event holding ceremonies of one particular religion,” today Opposition members and activists among others accused the government of “distorting” the “National Emblem” by replacing the “graceful and regally confident” Ashoka lions with those having “menacing and aggressive posture”.

The Lion Capital has four lions mounted on a circular abacus. According to detractors, not only are the lions more “muscular” but also a closer look reveals a certain “aggression” in their facial appearance, whereas the original ones had a “controlled regal look” about them.

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJP said 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 in Hindi, the RJD said “…those built during Amrit Kaal show a man-eater's tendency to consume everything in the country”.

“To completely change the character and nature of the lions on Ashoka's pillar at Sarnath is nothing but a brazen insult to India’s National Symbol!” said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, slamming the government.

His party colleague Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “Narendra Modi Ji, please observe the face of the Lion, whether it is representing the statue of Great Sarnath or a distorted version of GIR lion. Please check it and if it needs, mend the same”.

TMC's firebrand MP Mahua Moitra tweeted saying: “Truth be told, transition from Satyameva Jayate to Singhameva Jayate has long been completed in spirit”.

Historian S Irfan Habib also objected saying: “Meddling with our national emblem was totally unnecessary and avoidable. Why should our lions look ferocious and full of angst? These are Ashoka's lions adapted by independent India in 1950”.

The BJP hit back with Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri saying that beauty is famously regarded as lying in the eyes of the beholder. So is the case with calm & anger.

BJP also accused the Opposition of comparing 2D images in print to an imposing 3D structure. 

“The National Emblem atop the new Parliament building of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka, which is preserved in the Sarnath Museum.

“There is just no change. The opposition is comparing 2D images in print to an imposing 3D structure. They have lost it,” said BJP IT cell in charge Amit Malviya.

Designers of the sculpture claimed that there was “no deviation” and the National Emblem atop the new Parliament was an exact copy of the original.

“Attention has been given to every detail. The character of lions is the same. There may be very minor differences, people may have different interpretations. It is a large statue and photographs from different angles may give different impressions. The original has them with their mouths open, just like the ones atop the new Parliament,” they said.

Cast at the top of the Central Foyer of the new Parliament building, the 6.5-metre-high National Emblem is made of bronze, and weighs 9,500 kg. A supporting structure of steel weighing around 6,500 kg has been constructed to support the Emblem.

The building, which is the highlight of the Central Vista project, is being built by Tata Projects.

 

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