Artist Sunil Deore, the man in charge of sculpting the National Emblem atop the new Parliament building, ruled out any distortion amid a raging controversy over “aggressive” lions in the Ashok Stambh, recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Deore, one of the two artists behind the statue, said that the lions’ expressions look different as compared to the original Sarnath structure, from where the National Emblem was adopted back in 1950, due to the change in perception caused by the angle of view, reported The Indian Express.
“If you look at the Sarnath ‘Lion Capital’ from below, it will look the same as the Parliament emblem does,” Deore told IE.
The 49-year-old artist was given the contract by Tata Project Limited, the company in-charge of building the new Parliament house, slated to be completed by the end of this year. “It is only due to the scale and dimensions that they look different…there is no other factor,” Deore told IE.
The National Emblem is inspired from the ‘Lion Capital’ at Sarnath, which was built by Ashoka back in the third century BCE. Post Independence, Nandal Bose from Bengal’s Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan was given the charge of designing India’s National Emblem. In the 2D version of the National Emblem, only three lions are shown as against the four in the Lion Capital. He chose his student Dinanath Bhargava, 21, to make a 3D illustration of the same, which appears on the first page of the handwritten Constitution.
Several opposition leaders and activists attacked the Narendra Modi government for allegedly distorting the National Emblem by making it appear more “aggressive and muscular” as compared to “graceful and regally confident” Ashokan lions.
“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,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, tweeted. “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,” noted historian Irfan Habib said.