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National Emblem: Artist Of Original Design Visited Zoo For Months To Observe Lions

National Emblem: Artist Of Original Design Visited Zoo For Months To Observe Lions

The artwork designed by Dinanath Bhargava using gold leaf shows the mouth of the three lions opening a little and their teeth are also visible in it. In the bottom 'Satyamev Jayate' is also written in golden colour.

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National Emblem atop Parliamentary building. PTI

Dinanath Bhargava, a co-artist of the team that had designed the original emblem of India kept visiting a zoo in Kolkata for three months to closely observe lions. 

The family members of Bhargva recalled this amid a row over the national emblem installed atop the new Parliament building, to which the opposition parties have taken objections, accusing the Centre of replacing the "graceful and regally confident" Ashokan lions with those having menacing and aggressive posture.

Bhargava was part of the group, which designed the national emblem that decorated the Indian Constitution's manuscript. It was designed on the basis of an ancient sculpture 'Lion Capital of Ashoka' at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh that dates back to 250 BC.

"India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had given the task of designing the Constitution's original manuscript to Ravindranath Tagore's Shantiniketan's Kala Bhavan principal and noted painter Nandalal Bose," Bhargava's wife Prabha (85) told PTI.

But Bose had handed over the task of creating the Ashok Stambh's picture to her husband, who was young at that time and studying Arts in the Shantiniketan, she said.

"After the directives of his guru, my husband continuously visited Kolkata's zoo for three months to closely observe lions for their expressions and to see how they sit and stand," she said.

The family members claimed that a replica of the original artwork of Ashok Stambh designed by Bhargava is still in their possession as he had completed it many years later in around 1985.

The artwork designed by Bhargava using gold leaf shows the mouth of the three lions opening a little and their teeth are also visible in it. In the bottom "Satyamev Jayate" is also written in golden colour.

Meanwhile, Bhargava's daughter-in-law refused to comment on the row over difference in design of the emblem situated atop the new Parliament building and the original one designed by her father-in-law.

"I don't want to get into this controversy, but it is natural that there is bound to be a little difference in a picture and its statue," she said. She demanded that any art gallery, place or museum in Madhya Pradesh be named after Bhargava to preserve the memory of the artwork that he had designed for the Constitution.

"Despite several leader's assurances to the family on the issue, this demand has remained unfulfilled till date," she said.
Bhargava hailed from Betul town in the state and breathed his last on December 24, 2016 at the age of 89 years in Indore, the family members added.

All about the State Emblem of India atop the New Parliament building

The massive National Emblem, weighing 16,000 kg, was unveiled atop the new Parliament building on Monday. Over 100 artisans and craftsmen from various parts of the country worked for over nine months to create the bronze structure. 

For the artisans, the installation of the "State Emblem of India" made of "high-purity bronze" at the top of the central foyer of the building, currently under construction, itself was a challenge as it was 33 metres above ground level.

The 6.5-metre installation, weighing 16,000 kg including supporting structure (9,500 kg - national emblem, and 6500 kg - supporting structure), is fully handcrafted by the artisans. The State Emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka which is preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The Lion Capital has four lions mounted back to back on a circular abacus. The frieze of the abacus is adorned with sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharma Chakras.

The emblem is part of the new Parliament building project. The building, which is the highlight of the government's Central Vista project, is being built by Tata Projects.  The new Parliament building is scheduled for opening later this year during the Winter Session of Parliament. The new structure, triangular in shape will be a four-storey structure with a seating capacity of 1,224, at a cost of Rs 970 crore. 

Controversy over the massive bronze National Emblem 

There has been a strong criticism around the structure because of the alleged mismatched details, has given rise to new controversies. With the opposition calling it a 'menacing, snarling version of the majestic and graceful Ashokan lion capital' that has 'distorted the message of peace', artists have said that the controversy over the massive bronze national emblem could be because of the angle at which the lions are being viewed.

According to the artists, the original structure is only 2.5ft. Hence, while enlarging the new structure, that would be visible from 100 meters away, a lot of detailing had to be taken care of.  

Speaking to the media outlet, sculptor Sunil Deore who was in charge of the project said, "The maximum, 99 per cent, is as per the Ashokan symbol". However, the minute changes could be because of the damage to the original structure. 

(with inputs from PTI)

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