India’s new parliament building features a newly-unveiled statue that has sparked outrage due to its overly-aggressive appearance. The statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Modi, himself an ardent follower of Hinduism, and is representative of one of the most important stories in Hindu mythology; the slaying of the Narasimha by Lord Vishnu’s avatar to protect his devotee Prahlad from his evil father Hiranyakashipu and the latter’s evil deeds.

Officials assert that the 10-ton bronze sculpture of four lions, enlarged in size to replicate the ancient statue, is like-for-like in shape and size. Critics immediately remarked that the creature had a snarling expression and sharpened teeth. This was supposed to symbolize Modi’s power.

A towering 21-foot-high statue was unveiled in New Delhi on Monday during an inauguration ceremony attended by Prime Minister Modi, who bowed before the statue and took part in a prayer ceremony. Later, the Indian prime minister posted a video of the event and footage of himself meeting construction workers.

This statue is based on a sandstone sculpture from the 3rd century BC which was erected on a pillar by the Emperor Ashoka of India at Sarnath.

In 1947, India adopted a two-dimensional rendition of the statue as its State Emblem, which shows three of the lions, with the fourth obscured. As of today, it is found on passports and currencies as well as official government letterheads.

The opposition party’s Jiram Ramesh tweeted that the newly unveiled statue changed the “nature and character of the lions,” calling it a “brazen insult” to a national symbol.

According to Indian politician Jawhar Sircar, the lions are snarling, unnecessarily aggressive, and out of proportion.

Bhushan isn’t the only one that noticed this depiction. Other high-profile figures including activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan agree, seeing this depiction as reflective of the current political climate. This is Modi’s new India! he tweeted.

Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed their support for the statue, however. Politician Amit Malviya, who heads the BJP’s IT division, said the lions hadn’t changed at all. ‘They have lost it,’ he wrote. “They are comparing 2D prints to an imposing 3D structure.”

Additionally, a senior minister in the government, Hardeep Singh Puri, has stated that the new statue is larger and taller than the ancient original, so it wouldn’t be such a surprising sight to see the giant angry. “Beauty is famously regarded as lying in the eyes of the beholder,” he tweeted. “So is the case with calm & anger.”

The sculptor behind the monument, Sunil Deore, noted that when seen from the front, the lions’ teeth weren’t visible; when viewed from below, they appeared much more prominently. it all depends on the “If you examine its proportions and my lion’s proportions, it was enlarged exactly,” he said, before claiming: “My brief was a replica of the original.

Deore also denied suggestions that he enlarged the mouth of the lions or made them appear more angry but the criticisms leveled against Modi’s government were not solely about the lions’ appearance.

Image Source: CNN

Modi’s presence during the inauguration — without leaders of the opposition in attendance — was seen as undermining the principle of the separation of legislative and executive powers enshrined in the Indian constitution. Considering that Modi opened a secular national building, his prayer offering was viewed as inappropriate.

as the president of India’s government, the @PMOIndia shouldn’t have unveiled the national emblem on top of the new parliament building, Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of parliament and leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen political party, tweeted. The move “violated all constitutional norms,” he added.

In the future, the new parliament, announced just three years ago, is expected to open in October of next year. The building is a part of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, which is an ambitious $1.8 billion restoration of the historic New Delhi administrative center. This has been a source of criticism from politicians, architects, and heritage experts due to the costly and untimely renovation.Supporters of the project have argued that the current parliament is unfit for purpose.

The building’s architect, Bimal Patel, told CNN last year: It is clear that we cannot convert the kitchen, so we will need to improve the technology, create dining space, create toilets, create storage space, and an office space — all within the existing area.