Skip to main content

'Beginning of a new era': Is Modi govt all about a roaring, angry, political lion?

By Basant Rawat* 

So what if the just unveiled national emblem atop the proposed parliament building is a ‘bad, inferior’ work of art? After all it is merely a symbol meant to signal the beginning of a new era. So why all the fuss?
Critics say it is not a true replica of the iconic lions at Ashoka’s pillar in Sarnath. Well, it is not.
It is about the real lion – the political lion from Gujarat – whom some people love to hate and criticize at the slightest opportunity.
A case in point is the Central Vista project, an ambitious, dream project that will immortalise Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the modern-day architect of the new, aggressive India.
If you are part of this aggressive bandwagon, then it is time for you to celebrate and not complain.
The unveiling of the 6.5-metre high bronze emblem weighing 9,500 kilograms makes for a truly compelling story of the new, aggressive India under a leadership that is soaring high.
The world seems to be taking note of it, but its aggressive leader, who thinks really big, loves to do things differently. He appears destined to leave his indelible mark.
The proposed parliament building is one such project to be opened later this year and bound to leave an everlasting legacy of this great leader.
Not long ago, he achieved the distinction of being the longest serving head of a province whose denizens came to fondly address him as the lion of the Gurjar desh (nation).
The same lion is now roaring in New Delhi. So what’s the problem?
Okay, not everybody in the aggressive new nation is in love with his overwhelming, domineering presence.
So it is understandable if there are people who think the new national emblem is a big deviation from the original – of course, the aggressive government and its acolytes shall deny and counter this charge.
Let the critics call them and their New India as angry, insecure and hence revengeful today. It is bound to happen in a polarised atmosphere helmed by independent India’s most charismatic figure, who has singlehandedly transformed the political landscape of this country.
Whatever, the unveiling of the new emblem remains a defining moment. Some may call it a symbol of India’s ‘great leap forward’ with a fully open jaw, baring the pointed fangs etc. etc.
It was never an accident. In fact, it is a well thought-out, well rehearsed move to announce the new masculine India led a macho politician who also happens to be vying for the title of ‘Universal Guru.’
Ashoka’s lions at Sarnath, the site of the Buddha’s first sermon, were first adopted as the national emblem on January 26, 1950.
Jawhar Sircar, an opposition parliamentarian, shared pictures of the emblem’s old and new versions and said in a tweet that the “original is on the left, graceful, regally confident” while the new version was “snarling, unnecessarily aggressive and disproportionate.”
It is a well rehearsed move to announce new masculine India led by a macho politician vying to become Universal Guru
“Shame! Change it immediately!” he demanded.
Another opposition leader tweeted that the original emblem “has a mild and gentle expression” but the new one “shows a man-eater’s tendency to consume everything in the country.”
A former history professor at the Maharaja Siyajirao University (MSU) in Vadodara wondered if “this tweaking of national symbol was purely accidental.”
No Sir! Nothing is deliberate, it is well thought out. Nothing on this scale is done in a state of innocence.
In fact, the national emblem has been tweaked to raise it at another level. There is a great vision behind it all.
Another Vadodara-based expert, a well-known sculptor, felt no artist in his right senses would ever deliberately distort a known piece of art.
He is right. The artist behind the distortion must have got a clear brief to do exactly what he ended up doing.
While a few people might deplore the project, there is “absolutely no need to create turmoil or build a narrative” around it, felt a former professor of fine arts in Vadodara.
What happened, happened. So, just leave it. It will only lead to unnecessary, uncalled for controversy and embarrass the lion… err…leader...
But some people like Jairam Ramesh refuse to listen to this sage advice. “It is nothing but a brazen insult to India’s national symbol!” he tweeted.
But our kindhearted former professor would like to counsel him with, “Please Sir. After all, this is about New India. No one expects that old national emblem to be restored to its former glory.”
But the detractors won’t stop… There is this leading social activist who insists on removing the new and replacing it the old – something the leader’s mother organization is very fond of.
This social activist won’t stop. If they refuse to do as he wants, it will only “confirm that this is exactly what they wanted the new emblem to look like.”
Now what to say? Truth be told…
*Senior journalist based in Ahmedabad



Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

Victim of 'hazardous' jobs, Delhi sanitary workers get two thirds of minimum wages

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) organized a Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop for sewer workers and waste pickers from all across Delhi NCR. The workshop focused on bringing sanitation workers from different parts of Delhi to train them for organization building and to discuss their issues of minimum wage, contractual labour, regular jobs and social security.