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Vairamuthu’s research on Andal, the “quoted quote research methodology,” and the confession of “eminent historians”!

January 20, 2018

Vairamuthu’s research on Andal, the “quoted quote research methodology,” and the confession of “eminent historians”!

Andal, Vairamuthu controversy

The controversy started with Vairamuthu on Andal (07-1-2018): What Vairamuthu wrote about Andal as appeared in “Dinamani” in Tamil, and its translation is given as follows[1]: “As Andal was not born to Periyazhwar, there were no details available about her birth, though, she was brought up by a Brahmin, as the society that was controlled with caste stratification might not accept her into such caste hierarchy, Andal herself had already attained the freedom of word with force and there was a practice of offering women to temple accepted by the then society, some researchers have been compelled to arrive at stunning conclusions. The book ‘Indian Movement: some aspects of dissent, protest and reform’ edited by Subash Chandra Malik of Indiana University, USA contains such reference as follows: Andal was herself a devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam Temple. The devotees might not accept this, but, those who oppose patriarchy and socio-religious (code) might think about it.” This created the controversy that is still raging in Tamilnadu and some parts of Andhra and Karnataka. Ironically, now, Dinamani has removed the controversial or rather blasphemous article and their regrets are appearing there[2].

Vairamuthu, Vaidhyanathan, dinamani

Verification of the book referred to by Vairamuthu: Now, let us analyze the “quote” of the learned poet and writer of Vairamuthu. As he has given the reference, now, as a “researcher”, anyone can go to the source and verify.

India movements, S C Malik edited book

Thus, let us see the book under reference. M. G. S. Narayanan and Veluthat Kesavan published a paper, “The Bhakti Movement in South India” in “Indian Movements: Some Aspects of Dissent Protest and Reform,” edited and introduced by S. C. Malik and published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 1978. In which, what they claimed was,

Cheraman Perumal Nayanar notes the reception given to Shiva by devadasis of all ages while he went out in procession around the streets in Kailas35, and Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple36.

Quotations of MGS

The two footnotes given for support for those two lines are as follows:

  1. Ceraman Perumal Nayanar, Adiyula, M. Raghava Aiyangar, ed. Caruventar Ceyyukovai, 1951, Trivandrum, Vol.II, pp.136-64.
  1. T. A. Gopinatha Rao, The History of Sri Vaishnavas, Madras, 1923, Madras, p. 5.

MGS, Kesavan , tthe book

So when we look at page no.5 of the said book, what, T. A. Gopinatha Rao recorded is this, “When she reached marriageable age, she refused to marry anyone except the God Ranganatha of the Srirangam temple. The God appeared to the Alvar in a dream to declare before him his acceptance of the girl in marriage and ordered her to be brought to his residence at Srirangam. Periyalvar took her there with great eclat and left her in her Lord’s house and returned to his quiet residence at Srivilliputtur.

Quotations of MGS- TAG Rao reference

Therefore, there is nothing like what the learned historians M. G. S. Narayanan and Veluthat Kesavan reportedly claimed, “Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple.” Why then, the leaned “historians” wrote in that way and what was their motive?

Quotations of MGS- TAGopinatha Rao reference,p.5

M. G. S. Narayanan clarified to Dinathanthi that there was no such reference to Devadasi[3]: When Asoka Vardhini contacted M. G. S. Narayanan through phone, he accepted that there was no specific reference to Andal as devadasi and he mentioned it based on inference only. He also accepted that Veluthat Kesavan was a student of him, doing M.A history (implying that he might not have been having research expertise at that time). There is no inscriptional evidence to that effect and it was written only based on “oral tradition.” When she asked specifically, he specifically confessed that there is no primary evidence and even secondary evidence to that effect, it was a controversial interpretation and a “matter of inference”. Then, naturally, it is intriguing and shocking to know as to know how they could have written conclusively, “Andal was herself a devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam Temple.” Now, he is considered as one of reputed and eminent historians of India, former chairman of ICHR and so on. Why them, they stooped to such “quoted quote” research methodology, amounting faking and forging such lies and falsehood in historiography?

Vairamuthu regrets for Andal comments

The implications of “quoted quote research,” bogey of “eminent historians” and other modern-day mythistories: Now let us analyze their quotations, reportedly lifted from two books mentioned above.

  1. The book in question was published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 1978 and not by Indiana University, USA as claimed by Vairamuthu.
  1. Vairamuthu should have verified the sources before quoting, that too, part of a sentence picking up from their paper. He must have consulted the original sources (as he knows Tamil very well) and also other secondary sources after 1978 to present his speech and “researched” article appeared.
  1. Ironically, he and the press, still carry such wrong and falsified blabbering[4]. “As part of my research for writing this article on Aandaal, I happened to read a collection of articles edited by Subhash Chandra Malik in the name of “Indian Movements: Some Aspects of Dissent, Protest and Reform”, the original from Indiana University and published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study in 1978. It is very much an Indian research study by Indian historians,”thus claimed Vairamuthu.[5]
  1. Vairamuthu added, “Professor M.G.S Narayanan & Professor Kesavan Veiuthat. Professor M. G. S Narayanan is considered as “one of India’s top authorities on ancient history” and has served as the chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research. Professor Kesavan Veluthat is the Professor of History in University of Delhi. The line mentioned in my article was from a reputed publication and by reputed historians.” But, M. G. S. Narayanan now refuted. Here, Vairamuthu mentioned, “G.S Narayanan is considered as “one of India’s top authorities on ancient history,” whereas, the subject dealt with has not been so ancient!
  1. Cheraman Perumal Nayanar notes the reception given to Shiva by devadasis of all ages while he went out in procession around the streets in Kailas35.” M. G. S. Narayanan himself accepted that the story of Cheraman Perumal was a myth floated after 13th century by the vested Mohammedan groups. Therefore, the question of devadasis of all sorts going out in procession is redundant, immaterial and incompetent.
  1. Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple36.” This is also fake, fraudulent and deceptive, as T.A. Gopinatha Rao never mentioned such sentence in his book, as pointed out above.
  1. It is unbecoming for these researchers, now, paraded as “historians” to quote that was not there in a book, secondary source.
  1. It exposes the dubious and dangerous nature of “quoted quote” research methodology, as most of the researchers, may not look into the quotes recorded by the “eminent historians.”
  1. Coming to ideology, it is evident that the involved personalities have been Marxists and atheists and thus, their speeches and writings have been tarnished with bias, prejudice and without objectivity.
  1. As the Marxist ideology is coupled with Dravidian ideology of atheism, that is directed against Hindu religion, evidently, Hindus have come to streets. How they have been oppressed, suppressed and attacked by them since 1960s have been too well-known to be repeated here.

© Vedaprakash

19-01-2018.

 

[1]ஆண்டாள் பெரியாழ்வார்க்குப் பிறந்த பெண் இல்லை ஆதலாலும், அவள் பிறப்பு குறித்த ஏதும் பெறப்படாததாலும்ஓர் அந்தணரே வளர்த்திருந்தாலும், குலமறியாத ஒருத்தியைக் குலமகளாய்க் கொள்ள சாதிக் கட்டுமானமுள்ள சமூகம் தயங்கியிருக்கலாம் என்பதனாலும், சமூகம் வழங்காத பாலியல் சொல் விடுதலையை ஆண்டாளே ஆவேசமாய் அடைந்துவிட்டதாலும், கோயிலுக்குப் பெண்ணைக் காணிக்கையாக்குவதை அரசும் சமூகமும் அங்கீகரித்ததாலும் கலாசார அதிர்ச்சி தரத்தக்க முடிவுக்குச் சில ஆய்வாளர்கள் ஆட்படுகிறார்கள்அமெரிக்காவின் இண்டியானா பல்கலைக்கழகம் சுபாஷ் சந்திர மாலிக்கை ஆசிரியராகக் கொண்டு வெளியிட்ட Indian Movement: some aspects of dissent, protest and reform என்ற நூலில் ஆண்டாள் குறித்து இப்படி ஒரு குறிப்பு எழுதப்பட்டிருக்கிறது Andal was herself a devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam Temple. பக்தர்கள் இதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள மாடார்கள்ஆனால் ஆணாதிக்க எதிர்ப்பாளர்களும், சமய சமூக மறுப்பாளர்களும் இதை எண்ணிப் பார்ப்பார்கள்.

http://www.dinamani.com/editorial-articles/center-page-articles/2018/jan/08/%E0%AE%A4%E0%AE%AE%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%B4%E0%AF%88-%E0%AE%86%E0%AE%A3%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%9F%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%B3%E0%AF%8D-2840681.html

[2]  Those who talk about freedom expression, speech and rights thereof and such issues should note this that the persons involved have evidently understood the gravity of the issue of sentiments of crores of belivers.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASUAnINM_jw

[4] TheNewsMinute, Devadasi is female servant of god, not prostitute: Vairamuthu’’s clarification on article, Saturday, January 13, 2018 – 22:04

[5] https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/devadasi-female-servant-god-not-prostitute-vairamuthus-clarification-article-74709

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The World Atheist Conference 2018 conducted on January 5th to 7th 2018 at Trichy – Kamimozhi’s dubious talk about her visit to Tirumala (3)

January 13, 2018

The World Atheist Conference 2018 conducted on January 5th to 7th 2018 at Trichy – Kamimozhi’s dubious talk about her visit to Tirumala (3)

Kanimozhi-went to Tirumala-biometric

Photo courtesy: TTD

Kanimozhi entering temple…

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- Kalyanakatta

Photo courtesy: TTD

At Kalyana katta, where, devotees are given free tonsure – Kanimozhi seen listening to Venkauya Naidu.

Kanimozhi-went to Tirumala-standing at tonsure.2

Photo courtesy: TTD

The women members had symbolic tonsure just cutting few strands of hair-bits or touching with scissors!

Kanimozhi-went to Tirumala-standing at tonsure

Photo courtesy: TTD

The women members went in a queue – Kani in her turn!

Kanimozhi’s visit to Tirumala in 2012 and criticism made in 2017: Kanimozhi, the Rajya Sabha MP claimed that she visited Tirumala, as a member of the Committee under Venkaiah Naidu, during her controversial speech made at the WAC, Trichy on 06-01-2018. She had claimed that she had recently visited the popular Tirupati Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh[1]. Kanimozhi said she, along with some other MPs, was taken to the temple by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, as a part of a Home Affairs Committee, through a special route arranged for the group[2].  “If you give more money and buy a ticket you get special dharsanam [visit]. If not, you stand for 10 hours, 20 hours or two days. That is god………He (accompanied MP) told me that all their wishes are being granted and they are being protected…I then asked him, there is a money collection box right in front of the god. Why is there a security personnel with a stun gun protecting it? People who run the temple are not confident that god can protect the money collection box. Why should I believe in god?”…..” When TNM contacted Kanimozhi she was unfazed by the opposition that the speech has garnered[3]. “Whatever happens, I will face it legally. I said this at an Atheist Conference,” she says[4]. This made me to dig into her visit, because, as an atheist, she should not have visited the temple. The background of the visit and the details are as follows.

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- viwing queue

Photo courtesy: TTD

Why and how Kanimozhi visited Tirumala and also SHAR, and Kalpakkam in November 2012?: As a part of a Home Affairs Committee, kanimozhi visited the Tirumala temple on November 12, 2012. The team paid a visit to both –

  • the pilgrim-choked Vaikuntam queue complexes,
  • Kalyanakatta and
  • Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba free meals complex and
  • the TTD-run Aswini hospital[5].

Prominent among others who were present were included members of the committee –

  1. Kanimozhi,
  2. Raman Deka,
  3. Santosh Chowdary,
  4. Ravneet Singh,
  5. Neeraj Sekhar,
  6. TTD Executive Officer L.V. Subramanyam,
  7. JEO K.S. Srinivasa Raju,
  8. CVSO G.V.G. Ashok Kumar
  9. and others[6].

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu on Friday (November 12, 2012) expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements being made by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) atop the sacred shrine of Lord Venakteswara. Talking to media persons, Mr. Naidu said that the committee has been visiting several important places in the country, including Tirumala, SHAR, and Kalpakkam to study the existing security mechanism at all the places. He said that the committee was also scheduled meet the top brass of the TTD officials, intelligence officials and the officials of the State Home Department on Saturday in Tirupati wherein issues relating to disaster management and security mechanism will be discussed. Besides this, the committee will also discuss issues relating to the marine security in the coastal belt apart from the proposal to bring Tirumala under the ‘no-fly’ zone category. The TTD authorities on their part explained to the team the various initiatives being adopted by the temple administration towards crowd management, queue system and the amenities being extended to pilgrims visiting Tirumala.

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- viwing queue-2

Photo courtesy: TTD

Kanimozhi had special darsham tirth, prasad and saree: There have been many official reports, videos of the TTD and TV channels, News reports in English and Telugu as to why she visited the temple, what she did and other details:

  1. Kanimozhi visited the Tirumala temple on November 12, 2012 as a part of a Home Affairs Committee, to inspect the security arrangements being made by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).
  2. She met the top brass of the TTD officials, intelligence officials and the officials of the State Home Department on Saturday in Tirupati wherein issues relating to disaster management and security mechanism.
  3. She verified the various initiatives being adopted by the temple administration towards crowd management, queue system and the amenities being extended to pilgrims visiting Tirumala.
  4. She had gone to Kalyanakatta where tonsure is made that involves hygiene and other issues. When two women member had symbolic tonsure, she was there and joined them.
  5. Went to Pushkarni to note the maintenance, refilling of water etc.
  6. She had special darshan of Sri Venkatswara, had tirth and prasadam. She also received a saree given by the TTD.
  7. Went to free-meals section, inspected the vessels for the cooking of food that is fed to thousands daily.
  8. Went to laddu counter, where, laddu and other prasadams were given free to her.
  9. She visited the temple to pray Sri Venkateswara to clear all problems, she was facing.

 

 

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- entering inside

Photo courtesy: TTD

Kanimozhi crossing Vaikundam entry entrance….

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- way to Darshan

Photo courtesy: TTD

Reaching “Way to Darshan”!!!!

What Kanimozhi spoke on 06-01-2018 at the WAC: From 12-11-2012 to 06-01-2018, what happened to he exposes her psyche.

What Kanimozhi talked Comments
 “If you give more money and buy a ticket you get special dharsanam [visit]. First of all, as an atheist, you should not have visited the temple.

As even when non-Hindus visit, they sign a form that I believe in Sri Venkateswara, you must have signed.

If not, Venkaiya Naidu should be held responsible for violating the norms.

As they went to inspect, evidently, they signed.

 If not, you stand for 10 hours, 20 hours or two days. That is god……… You should have waited, paid and went side, but, you enjoyed VVVVIP darshan! Shame, atheist, shame!!
That is Kanimozhi, the principle-less atheist, and thus,anti-Hindu!
He (accompanied MP) told me that all their wishes are being granted and they are being protected…I then asked him, there is a money collection box right in front of the god. Why is there a security personnel with a stun gun protecting it? The Telugu people explicitly answered that people like you might loot, that is why they stand with guns.

Moreover, as you had gone there to inspect the security aspects, you could not have made such idiotic statement!

People who run the temple are not confident that god can protect the money collection box. Why should I believe in god?”….. Shame on you, idiotic that we have MP like you and allowing you inside the temple.
Perhaps, you had gone inside to know the security arrangement to attack!
If that God does not protect, I say that God is not there….. Had you gone there to inspect the security aspects, or the existence of Go?

Your blabbering exposes your honesty, integrity and sincerity as a MP.

Thus, it is evident that by all means, the MP has lost her credibility and she should be stripped of MP post or she should resign immediately.

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- Annadhana

Photo courtesy: TTD

Inspecting the “Free Meals – Prasad Hall”….

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- Laddu counter-

Photo courtesy: TTD

Posing for photo before “Annadhana Hall, building”

Kanimozhi-why you went to Tirumala

Photo courtesy: TTD

Coming out………………….”If you do not believe……why you enter the temple, had darshan, taken tirth and prasad, the saree……………..prayed to him to remove your problems?”. The AP people openly revealed that she came here to pray “Venkayya” to relieve her from 2G case!

Cong MLC, P Sudhakar Reddy condemns Kani on 12-01-2018

Complaints made against Kanimozhi: The local BJP leaders led by former TTD Board member G Bhanu Prakash Reddy submitted a written complaint to Urban ASP Srinivasulu against DMK MP Kanimozhi here on Thursday, (11-01-2018) for hurting the religious beliefs of Hindus[7]. She made adverse comments on the Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala at a Tiruchi meeting in Tamil Nadu[8]. Rayalaseema Porata Samithi (RPS) convener P Naveen Kumar Reddy has condemned the DMK MP comments against the presiding deity of Tirumala. He demanded that the state government’s Endowments department take legal action against Kanimozhi. The RPS activists staged a dharna near Alipiri. Ironically, in Tamilnadu, the so-called Hindutwavadis, Sangh-parivar, BJPwalas and other “Hindus” have been keeping quite for unknown reasons. The foreign delegates and other responsible delegates who attended the WAC should take care of the facts.

© Vedaprakash

11-01-2018

Nov.2012, Kanimozhi at Tirumala- Laddu counter-

Photo courtesy: TTD

[1] Scroll.in, Tamil Nadu: Complaint filed against DMK MP Kanimozhi for allegedly hurting religious beliefs, Published : 12-01-2018· 07:34 pm Updated 12-01-2018 · 07:58 pm.

[2] https://scroll.in/latest/864727/tamil-nadu-complaint-against-dmk-mp-kanimozhi-for-allegedly-hurting-religious-beliefs

[3] TheNewsMinute, Why does god need gunman to protect hundiyal?’: Kanimozhi’s speech rankles Hindu group, Priyanka Thirumurthy, Thursday, January 11, 2018 – 14:05.

[4] https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-does-god-need-gunman-protect-hundiyal-kanimozhi-s-speech-rankles-hindu-group-74554

[5] The Hindu, Panel inspects security measures in Tirumala, TIRUMALA:, NOVEMBER 10, 2012 03:29 IST; UPDATED: NOVEMBER 10, 2012 03:29 IST. UPDATED: NOVEMBER 10, 2012 03:29 IST

[6] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/panel-inspects-security-measures-in-tirumala/article4082515.ece

[7] THE HANS INDIA, Case against DMK MP for hurting religious beliefs, Jan 12, 2018 , 01:32 AM IST.

[8] http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2018-01-12/Case-against-DMK-MP-for-hurting-religious-beliefs/351590

Hindu Temples of Tamilnadu under systematic destruction!

June 19, 2011

Hindu Temples of Tamilnadu under systematic destruction!

T. S. Subramanian has pointed out the deteriorating condition of murals in temples many times[1]. He should be congratulated to bring out such facts with concerned feelings expressed in his writings. However, the concerned and connected people have not taken any action to annul such vandalizing processes going on in the name of renovation, administration and other actions. The recent article “Targets of destruction” has been provoking, but we have to wait and see the response of the authorities.

Target of destruction: He starts with the appropriate beginning[2]: “Art, in more than 50 temples and three palaces in Tamil Nadu, is being mutilated” and explains the condition as follows: “Temples in Tamil Nadu are repositories of history, with inscriptions, sculptures, murals, bronzes, carvings, architecture and so on. The inscriptions provide valuable insights into the history of the period during which the temples were built, the village administration that prevailed, elections conducted for its assemblies, taxes collected, boards set up for the maintenance of lakes, ponds and canals, donation of land for Brahmin settlements, gifting gold for temple maintenance, etc.  There are more than 50 temples and three palaces in Tamil Nadu with murals. The palaces are Ramalinga Vilasam in Ramanathapuram and those at Bodinayakanur near Madurai and Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district. While just four or five temples have murals dating back to the Pallava period (seventh to ninth century CE) and the Chola period (10th and 11th century CE), the majority of the murals belong to the Vijayanagar and the Nayak periods (14th to 17th century CE). The Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur have murals belonging to the Chola, the Nayak and the Maratha reigns.

Visual archivesThe mural masterpieces are visual archives on the history of the period, coronation rituals, the dress or the jewellery that men and women of those days wore, their hairstyle, musical instruments, the battles that they fought, the weapons used and so on. There are several Jain temples that have wonderful murals based on the Jain traditions, the Tirthankaras and the Yakshis. A favourite subject of many of the artists of those times was episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and some of the artists even took care to write the labels for the episodes (captions) in Tamil or Telugu. Unfortunately in Tamil Nadu, the murals, the inscriptions, the sculptures and carvings have become targets of destruction and vandalism. The officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department, who administers the temples, are to be blamed for this state. Most often, these officials fail to appreciate and preserve these splendid works due to lack of knowledge of history.

How Meenakshi Temple was targeted? In the famous Meenakshi temple, Madurai, several historic mandapams have become shopping complexes. The Pudhu mandapam, the Ashta Sakti mandapam, Veera Vasantharayar mandapam and Meenakshi Nayakar mandapam teem with hundreds of shops, obstructing from view pillars with incredibly beautiful sculptures. A scholar on the history of the Meenakshi temple was displeased that its 1,000-pillared mandapam, with superb sculptures, has become ‘a studio’ now, with an incongruously gleaming granite floor, skewed focus lights and a big sculpture of Nataraja painted in black! Several years ago, the earthen bed of the temple’s famous ‘Golden Lotus’ tank (Pottramarai Kulam) was cemented up, with the result that no water stays in the tank now and it looks barren now. The HR and CE officials of the temple also whitewashed hundreds of beautiful murals, painted on the walls of the northern corridor of the Golden Lotus tank, portraying the ‘Tiruvilaiyadal,’ in the first quarter of 1996.

In a state of disrepair: While sculptures and carvings can survive for centuries because they have been chiselled out of granite, murals are vulnerable to nature. Since these murals were painted with natural dyes on mandapam walls or ceiling, they easily lend themselves to vandalism from devotees. Besides, they are exposed to sun or seepage of water from rain. Gaps between the granite slabs that form the roof of the mandapams lead to seepage of water due to rain and the sidewalls begin to ‘sweat.’ The lime plaster which forms the base for the murals has a tendency to absorb the water. When rain water falls on the murals painted on the ceiling or walls, fungus develops and the murals start peeling off. Smoke from the camphor (lit by the devotees) and from the oil lamps damage the paintings. Besides, they suffer from desecration at the hands of the HR and CE officials and devotees. Officials have fixed scores of metres of electric wires on the murals on the walls of the mandapams, installed switch boxes and tube lights on them, as it has happened in several places on the splendid murals in the Devaraja Swamy temple at Kanchipuram, portraying the 108 Divya Desam murals.

Other examples of vandalism: Extremely rare murals painted on wood in the Tirukkutraleeswarar temple at Tirukkutrala Chitra Sabha in Tirunelveli district have been vandalised. At the Siva temple at Patteeswaram, paintings were sandblasted in 1998 in the name of cleaning the surfaces on which they were painted. The paintings portrayed Lord Siva presenting a palanquin studded with pearls to the Saivite saint Tirugnana Sambandar because he could not bear to see his devotee walking in the sun. Temple officials sandblasted another row of paintings narrating the life of a mythical king who had no child but was blessed with a child after praying to Siva at Patteeswaram. Officials of the Lakshminarasimhar temple at Sevilimedu, near Kanchipuram, whitewashed them. They do not exist today.  Tales of destruction and desecration of these invaluable murals in temples in Tamil Nadu do not end with this list. What happened to the paintings at the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, the Trilokyanatha Jaina temple at Tiruparuttikunram near Kanchipuram, another Jaina temple at Karanthai near Kanchipuram and the Ramalinga Vilasam Palace in Ramanathapuram town take the cake.

Why this targested vattcks of vandalism? What the Mohammedan and the Europeans rulers could have done during their reigns is carried on in India, that too, after “independence” by the Indians by themselves. Ironically, “Hindu Religious & Endowment Board” under the control of proclaimed atheist, rationalist and particularly anti-Hindu ideologists for the last 70 years. The staff and officers entering into the department of HR&CE have been ideologists of all sorts of such category and some non-Hindus have also been there. And this vandalism is not done on one day, but carried on systematically. Whenever any official function comes, they carry out such destruction easily under the guise of celebration. The moment the temple comes under the control of HR&CE, any official comes into a temple, an office is constructed inside temple, that office is converted into some sort of lodge and then star-type accommodation, the temples start losing their sanctity. Perhaps, God is leaving the place. Under such circumstances, these modern day vandals, ideologists and rulers start their destruction.


“Religion, Tradition and Ideology: Pre-colonial South India” by Champakalakshmi: A Marxist interpretation!

April 7, 2011

“Religion, Tradition and Ideology: Pre-colonial South India” by Champakalakshmi: A Marxist interpretation!


South India‘s cultural past not confined to one religion: Prof. Champakalakshmi[1]: The Hindu reports, “The empirical pre-eminence in the study of history in inscription-rich Tamil Nadu and a modern outlook on historiography combine to provide a fresh understanding of the past in a book launched here on Tuesday (05-04-2011). Religion, Tradition and Ideology: Pre-colonial South India” (Oxford University Press) is a collection of essays by historian R. Champakalakshmi, discussing the origins and development of multiple religious traditions and their role in the evolution of a rich and complex socio-religious matrix in pre-colonial south India. Champakalakshmi, who retired as professor of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has debunked the usual simplistic continuities between Vedic times and the present day that is the staple of the conventional historian’s approach, and attempted to show how conflicting, even irreconcilable beliefs and practices, were incorporated into the Sanskritic tradition”.

From “Indologist to historian and social scientist”: The report goes on to say, “As history is dying in schools and colleges, and he history teachers have been loosing their jobs, they have started crying wolf with changed roles. Thus, it is reported that “the work, which is the consummation of almost five decades of research during which the author “transformed from an Indologist to historian and social scientist,” sketches the emergence of Brahminism as a dominant tradition and the marginalisation of the “sramanic” religions — Jainism and Buddhism — in the socio-economic and political context”. N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, launched the book by handing over the first copy to Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert on Indus and Tamil-Brahmi scripts. Describing the publication as “rich in its material and many-sided in its historical offerings,” Mr. Ram said one of the notable aspects was the nuanced treatment of the interaction between the Brahminical and “sramanic” religions. The author’s approach to caste and community was a breakthrough contribution in understanding caste and its changing dynamics with the community as was her bold treatment of the hegemony of one religion in an otherwise pluralistic tradition, Mr. Ram said”.

There existed no Vedic linkage to the term Hindu which first originated during the Vijayanagara period of the 14th century: The report goes on, “Mr. Mahadevan said the author in her role of historian was “a bridge between tradition and modernity,” a product of the University of Madras who held on to conservative values and yet blossomed to expand her perspective in the JNU milieu. Professor Champakalakshmi was someone who, while being rooted in tradition, brought to historiography the searchlight of modernity, he said. Professor. Champakalakshmi said her over 55 years of research and teaching had been “an eventful and fascinating journey” that took her through many untrodden avenues of India‘s historical past. Noting that south India’s cultural past was not confined to one religion — in fact, there existed no Vedic linkage to the term Hindu which first originated during the Vijayanagara period of the 14th century — Professor Champakalakshmi said she had studied counter-traditions (such as Jainism) to understand the historical processes that led to the dominance of Brahminism. Shashank Sinha, OUP senior commissioning manager, said the book was another illustration of south India‘s emergence as an important component of the publishing programme that ranges across performing arts, music and literature”.

Hinduism to become the dominant tradition and ideology after its development and reworking: Under “Description”, the publishers give the following[2]: “This book discusses the multiple facets, dominant characteristics, and historical trajectories of religious traditions in pre-colonial south India. It explores how Hinduism, primarily the Brahmanical tradition, developed and reworked itself in the context of challenges posed by Buddhism and Jainism to become the dominant tradition and ideology in south Indian society and polity. Examining the linkages between religion and politics, the volume also investigates alternative vernacular traditions, rituals and practices, temple architecture, iconography and other representational art forms that evolved as symbols of power. A detailed introduction weaves together the different aspects and introduces new questions for further research”.

Religion is for the believers, as the ideology is for the Marxist historians: 55 years journey cannot compel the 5500 years old believers with their established belief system, that has already been tested many-many times. The branding of “Bhrahmanical” religion is a myth, as such gabblers never talk about “Khastriya  religion”, “Vaisya religion”, and “Sudra religion”. In fact, they do not explain such “Varna system” existing in other religions. By interpreting the divisions of a society by caste, community by denomination, people by ethnos, or by any other expression the existing vertical or horizontal, social stratifications, or structural arrangements cannot be ignored or suppressed. Therefore, hegemonic interpretation alone cannot be used for such forced conclusion. Days, years, decades and even millenniums have been passing on and in such a milieu, the Hindu religion or the religion of Indians have been no doubt changing, but not ideologically. The question of ideological interpretation of Hindu religion, in the pre-colonial context, cannot take away the facts of underlying[3] the so-called “Shramanic religions”[4].  That Buddhism and Jainism to play crucial role during the Vijayanagara to Colonial period, they had to be resurrected and brought.

Conflicting, even irreconcilable beliefs and practices, were incorporated into the Sanskritic tradition: In religion, that too, followed by millions of people at time and place naturally exhibit differences. In performing rites, rituals, ceremonies, festivals, the regional variance would be there in physical forms depending upon the natural differences. Whenever, any material required for performing rites, rituals, ceremonies, festivals, etc., are not available, substitutes are taken. Such practices, might be opposed by the traditionalists and conservatives initially, but, slowly reconciled, understanding the practical difficulties. This is just like Siva having moustache and beard or without them, as depicted in pictures and sculptures. But, Parvati never claim any “immaculate conception” to have Subramanya / Karttikeya like Mary! Krishna might be in blacks and blues, but, devotees love and like him like Radha and Meera.  They would not preach ahimsa killing and eating animals like Buddhists. Even children or atheists know that “Ramarajya” is talked about by all ideologists and not about “Ravana rajya”! Even during the medieval and pre-colonial period, the other counter-traditions or anti-cultures had to thrive only on such “myths”, if at all, they disbelieve such “greater traditions and bigger heritages”.

Ideological historians never demythologize other religions to present facts: The ideological historians can very well demythologize non-Indian, non-Bharatiya, colonial, Semitic religions to present facts behind the fundamental tenets, as they interpret Hindu religion. Why the Mohamedans issued coins with “Rama” or the British incorporated “Ramrajya” would not be discussed by these historians.  Romila Thapar would not appear then and there and threaten with going on appeal against the Supreme Court judgments as in the case of Temple-mosque disputes.  That is why believers or common people remember Rama’s bridge without caring for the engineer or the college where such engineer studied. In other words, instead of Rama, the Mohammedan and colonial forces must have issued coins with Ravana. “Shramanic” unbelievers or anti-Vedic followers would not have incorporated Lakshmi and other Goddesses for their profits. However, they would discuss about Hindus believers to copy from the Mohammedans to learn Advaita; to adopt syncretism incorporating Mohammedan philosophy; and so on without any conflict, contradiction or reconcilable accommodation.

Vedaprakash

07-04-2011


[3] JG Jennings, The Vedantic Buddhism of the Buddha, A collection of historical texts translated from the original Pāli and edited by J. G. Jennings, Geoffrey Cumberlege,  Oxford University Press, 1947.

[4] Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Hinduism and Buddhism, Philosophical Library, New York, 1943. 2011 edition by Golden Eixir Press.