Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Outlook.com

32 Spokes Of Wisdom

Our national symbol, the Ashoka pillar, has an upper chakra missing. An MP pointed it out to Nehru, but was ignored.

32 Spokes Of Wisdom
32 Spokes Of Wisdom Artist’s Impression

A Missing Chakra

  • India’s national emblem, with the four lions and the Ashoka Chakra at the bottom is erroneous, say some
  • The original Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath has the Chakra on top, symbolising spirituality over strength (the lions)
  • The chakra on our flag was meant to be ‘Mahadharma chakra’, with 32 spokes, not 24 as we have now

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In the Mookherjee household on Calcutta’s plush Ekdalia Road, it has been a hush-hush after-dinner topic for four generations now. “My grandfather often narrated how shocked he was that Nehru allowed a distorted symbol to pass off as the national emblem of our country,” Pradipta Mukhopadhyay tells Outlook. Mukhopadhyay, the grandson of Radha Kumud Mookherjee, historian, scholar and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament during Jawaharlal Nehru’s premiership, is in possession of documents and letters exchanged between his grandfather and India’s first prime minister which reveal that the Ashoka stambha or pillar, adopted as India’s national emblem, is not a replica of the original but of a truncated one. More significantly, not only did Nehru know about it, but when alerted by Mookherjee, who initiated a signature campaign to rectify what he termed a grave ‘historical error’, he brushed it under the carpet.

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