Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another version

The state emblem is supposedly sacrosanct and should be represented without any modifications (atte copy, as the Chennaiite would say), in the manner prescribed. The state emblem, as you might know by now, is itself based on an ancient design, that of the pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka at Sarnath sometime in the 3rd century BC. It would have been less complicated if the great Emperor had raised just the one pillar; but he is supposed to have erected quite a few (though only 10 have been found) and had also inspired others to raise similar pillars. So much so, the basic design of a tall column topped off with the 'Dharmachakra' and a few animals can be found in several places, not just across India, but also far away, at Wat U Mong, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Therefore, one cannot rake up an argument that the state emblem has been mis-represented; just because there's a lion capital in a public place, it does not automatically become a representation of the state emblem, you see. This is the third Ashoka Pillar I know of in Chennai, after the ones at Ashok Nagar and on the Marina. Of those two, I am fairly sure that only the latter is the state emblem. This one, as well as the Ashok Nagar Pillar, are merely representations of Ashoka's pillars.

But that does not mean you can fool around with Ashoka and his lions - The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 will deal with you if you try any such stunts!

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