Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

Sri Rama In Iraq? This P N Oak-Like Obsession Should Stop! What about Oakism working against “Hindu cause”? It should stop immediately!

July 8, 2019

Sri Rama In Iraq? This P N Oak-Like Obsession Should Stop! What about Oakism working against “Hindu cause”? It should stop immediately!

Fight among the right

Why rightist historian Aravindan Neelakandan attacks another rightist historian?: Aravindan Neelakandan is considered as right-wing intellectual, Hindutwavadi and “hitorian” for RSS. He is often invited by the Sangha Parivar organization to talk about various topics. The Hindutwa websites[1] of various categories praise him as “savior of Hinduism” and so on. He has exhibited certain type of “anti-brahmin” attitude thrugh his writings in social media. Wikipedia mentions him characteristically[2], as he “… is an Indian writer. He… belongs to the post-socialist Indian thinkers of cultural evolutionism about Indian ethnogenesis.” Some of Hindutwavadis have started criticizing him also[3]. However, he has not been seen in any history Congress of published any research paper. Last year, he was seen with Dr Venkata Ragotham[4], Dean of  School of Social Sciences and International Studies during the PondyLifest 2018, discussing “Aryans, Dravidians and Indians: Future of India”. However, as a researcher or as “historian” did not follow any methodology, but, talked very generally[5]. If any one listens to him carefully, his own way “okism” could be noted easily, as he did not give any historical evidence. For some reason, it is evident that he has been targeting P. N. Oak. In December 2017, when there was a criticizing article on P. N. Oak[6], immediately, he came out with his attack[7], of course referring to it. So, now, in 2019, when he wrote like this, I was provoked very much for his bias.

Michael, Venkat, AV, Sankara Narayan

He does not know the difference between wall painting and sculpture: He wrote in “Swarajya,” as follows:

Recently there has been a lot of sensation in the media over the speculation made by a a team from an organization called Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan linking a sculpted mural in a rock cliff in Iraq to Ramayana. The expedition was accompanied by among others, Indian ambassador to Iraq, Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit. If at all, he has to criticize, he should have criticized this “Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan” for going there, with government funds to promote such “okism,” as dubbed by him. But, without knowing the difference between wall painting and sculpture, he pounced upon P. N. Oak and criticized Prof Sharad Hebalkar.

Naturally the media reported this news and many Hindutvaites have been happy to see an old fantasy of a world Vedic empire getting vindicated — the fantasy of the P N Oak type[8].

Disparaging P. N.Oak: He continued, “This fantasy of a world-wide Vedic empire is a consistent weakness in the worldview of certain Hindutvaites. P N Oak — an ex-INA freedom fighter turned ‘historian’ — had a life-long obsession to prove that Vedic Dharma once existed throughout the world. Soon many claims were made, many of them laughable but not for those who  considered them to be true. [9].

Thus Jerusalem was Yadhusailam, Canterbury was Skandapuri, Vatican was Vadika – a city of gardens, Incas were Ishvaku, Aztecs were Aastikas and California was Kapila-Aaranya. In fact, these, Hindutwavadis were appreciating and supporting P. N. Oak. Ironically, lectures were arranged in IIT etc., by the Sangha people. Used and exploited his books, but, now, he attacks him!

 “We see what we love to see. Consider the following picture. What is shown here is a purported artistic depiction of a stele of the pre-Colombian era from Guatemala.

Sharad Hebralkar book

Picture – An artistic depiction of a stele from Gautemala (L), Cover of a book by Sharad Hebalkar (R)

Dr Sharad Hebalkar, BISS: He continued, “The publication I have before me — Dr Sharad Hebalkar’s Essays on History of Pre-Columbian America — claims that this is actually a depiction of Ganesa — notice the trunk in the face — and Siva, His father in the sky. However, if one looks at these particular types of steles, which are quite abundant in the pre-Colombian sculptures of South America, one can see that it is not so”.

Sharad Hebralkar book-2

Picture – The variations of the same theme in steles and a close-up of one. The ‘artistic depiction’ is a clear misreading or an example of ‘seeing what one wants to see’ fallacy

Still if one wants, s/he can claim that the stele actually shows Bhagiratha and the Ganga with Siva getting it to the earth through His matted hair. Or one — deluded to the brim of his cranium with ‘Ancient Aliens’ serial — can also claim that it actually shows extra-terrestrial origins of our civilizations. All these are actually nothing but archaeological Rorschach figures. Taken out of their archaeological, historical and cultural contexts, these artifacts get interpreted from the historical and cultural contexts of the interpreter. Perhaps, he would not have read Waddell, Mackanzie, Chamanlal etc., leave alone P. N. Oak. So why he targets Oak and leaves others? This is intriguing…….His way of reducing them to “archaeological Rorschach figures” is amusing. Recently, Ganapati Stapati also brought out a book repeating the same ideas on his own. Thus, obvious, the main point that Oak had dealt with other issues, had been the “myth of Jesus Christ”! So this affects him?

Christianity, Krishna Niti, P N Oak

In the case of the ‘Rama and Hanuman’ mural the same fallacy has happened. It is at best a sculptural Rorschach. In this context, let it be said that it was a person using the Twitter handle of @TrueIndology — whose account has yet again been suspended by Twitter — who publicized and punctured the so-called Rama connection by pointing out that it was actually an ‘Akkadian warrior tramping a defeated Hurrian while another Hurrian begs’.

Rama, AV, twitter

– Picture- Tweet referring to what @TrueIndology had said about the Rama-Hanuman mural discovered in Iraq.

By building elaborate ancient world histories based on such illusions, we are undermining a more important, serious cause that Hindutva should serve.

In a way, the Hindu civilization is the last standing civilization that has a natural religion. Everywhere in the world the aboriginal natural religions along with the pagan religions of the West have been destroyed or are undergoing destruction. From the Yazidis to the Australian aborigines to the native American tribes, the destruction effected has been colossal.

However, these cultures need not have been derived from the Vedic culture to be protected. They have to be protected because they represent human diversity and validate the spiritual unity of humanity through theo-diversity. In fact ‘unity in diversity’ is the basis of  Hindutva.

And hindered spiritual communities have looked at India — naturally and spontaneously for their protection — for validating them. Let us consider, for example, Umbanda, an African religion from Brazil. The communities practicing this spiritual tradition claim that their tradition can be traced back to the sacred Aum of Hindu Dharma. Here, what is at play is not as much a historical fact, as a realization of spiritual kinship with the natural religion of India. Thus, India becomes the protectress of the world’s natural and aboriginal spirituality.

Aztec, honoured by RSS head

Picture – The Elders’ Conferences conducted to preserve global theo-diversity and natural spiritual traditions by the Sangh has its roots in the vision and wisdom of Ram Swarup.

Keonraad Elst

Historical (and often) pseudo-claims of a Vedic world civilization: He continued, “Incidentally, the Sangh realizes this. It has been conducting conferences of ‘World Elders’ belonging to various indigenous traditions. Dr Koenraad Elst traces the spiritual inspiration for this series of events to the deep thinker and magnificent Hindutva intellectual, Ram Swarup (1920-1998). Yashwant Pathak, the co-founder of the International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS) — along with Prof S W Bakhle — acknowledges that Ram Swarup was one of the inspirations. Ram Swarup, rather than claiming a common historical origin (with India being that origin), anticipated a grand spiritual validation of the theo-diversity of human species. He embraced both monotheism and polytheism with his roots in the Vedic dictum of ‘unity without sacrificing the diversity’.

As against this, the approach through historical (and often) pseudo-claims of a Vedic world civilization for uniting the natural spiritual traditions of the world is bound to fail. His speech at PondyLitFest 2018 on inculturation, Hindu religion etc., have been amusing in the context. Yes, like a politician, he talks and writes differently! So he has no right to criticize Oak or Sharad Hebalkar.

He concluded as follows: “What is more important in Iraq today is to network with the Yazidis and provide them the comfort that there is a cousin spiritual tradition and people supporting them rather than inventing the footprints of Rama in Iraq”.

Pre Christian Buddhism

What is going on among the Hindutwavadis?: Nowadays, the open accusation, blaming and fighting with each other by the Hindutwavadis, cadres etc., have been open in Tamilnadu. Each person or group tries to project him/herself with their group / groups with vested interests. Of course, the power, money and business interests affect them to get exposed at one level. However, when they claim that they work for “Hindu cause,” that is becoming a myth. Ironically, many directly and indirectly work for Christians and Mohammedans too. Politicization of the cadres has corrupted them with extra-ideological interests. Particularly, in the social media and the functions conducted without informing all, but, known afterwards, expose the hidden agenda. As still thousands have been working for the cause, sincerely and honestly, the facts comes out one day. Therefore, talking, writing and behaving differently a different forums, stages and gatherings would harm not only the “Hindu cause,” but also their integrity, because of such duplicity practiced.

P N Oak

To understand P. N. Oak (1917-2007): He has been exploited by the Hindutwa groups, right-wing cadres and BJPwalas like anything. His books on “Taj Mahal” are still quoted today. Many Hindutwa researchers and writers and websites, freely use his writings, findings and materials without mentioning his name. To understand the fact, the lengthy article on him should be read[10]. His association with Netaji and Savarkar could be noted and appreciated[11]. However, the criticism started perhaps from Koenraad Elst[12] has been picked up by others. Later, he used the expression[13] “okism.” Many of his books can be downloaded from here[14]. As for as his historiography is concerned, his methodology was accepted till 1960s, as at that time, the etymological interpretation was accepted and after correlation and corroboration with the archaeological and other evidences were carried on. Therefore, the exploitation of his books and rejection by the right-wing groups cannot be considered as rational or otherwise. Hindus should have unity and co-operation in all aspects. If power, money and such other factors could divide them, the, there is no meaning in their category and other ideological groups.

© Vedaprakash

07-07-2019

[1] The persons who maintain the website http://www.tamilhindu.com/ have mutual interest with him in other aspects.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aravindan_Neelakandan

[3] The Rational Hindu, The limitations of Aravindan Neelakandan and why he should keep to his expertise, Sep 18, 2017.

https://therationalhindu.com/the-limitations-of-aravindan-neelakandan-and-why-he-should-keep-to-his-expertise-329f409764a2

[4] Dr Venkata Raghotam is supposed to be a ABVP leader with rightwing ideology. http://www.pondiuni.edu.in/profile/dr-venkata-raghotham

[5] This video exposes the stand of Michael Danino, Venkata Ragotham, A. Neelakandan and Sankara Narayanan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWkwDsBYX8g

[6] Roderick Matthews, In the Beginning was Sanskrit. Really? , Open essay, 15 December 2017; http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/essay/in-the-beginning-was-sanskrit-really

[7] Aravindan Neelakandan, Tarring Hindutva With The Oak Brush, by Swarajya, Dec 21, 2017, 4:42 pm;  https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/tarring-hindutva-with-the-oak-brush

[8] Aravindan Neelakandan, Sri Rama In Iraq? This P N Oak-Like Obsession Should Stop!, by Jun 28, 2019, 12:59 pm

[9] https://swarajyamag.com/culture/sri-rama-in-iraq-this-pnoak-like-obsession-should-stop?fbclid=IwAR0JHRA_tfCAcXctKDyftQkwmJ9kN_c4ikUGMT_1I-Gcuj3cQaV5uezF3-8

[10] Shrinivas Tilak, P. N. Oak (1917-2007): The lone fighter, etymologist, and historian,

[11] http://creative.sulekha.com/p-n-oak-1917-2007-the-lone-fighter-etymologist-and-historian_318699_blog

[12] Koenraad Elst, The Incurable Hindu Fondness for P. N. Oak, June 23, 2010.

[13]  http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2010/06/incurable-hindu-fondness-for-pn-oak.html

[14] https://archive.org; https://archive.org/details/EnglishBooksOfP.n.Oak

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Idol-theft case, where the Idol-wing Police themselves involved- the accused DSP absconding and the current IGP transferred!

July 2, 2017

Idol-theft case, where the Idol-wing Police themselves involved- the accused DSP absconding and the current IGP transferred!

TN Govt Idol wing- officers.contact nos

In 1980, there was sudden increase in theft of Panchaliga idols – Idol Wing Police – History[1]: Idol theft cases were investigated by a small team of officials in CB-CID till the year 1980. During the year 1980 there was a sudden increase in thefts of Panchaloga idols. The thefts of such idols from the temples affected the sentiments of the local people. A proposal was initiated by the Director-General of Police to re-organize the strength allotted for investigating the idol theft cases. The Government accepted the proposal, constituted Idol Wing CID Vide G.O.Ms.No.2098 Home (Police IV) Dept Dt. 7.10.1983, with 1 SP, 1 DSP, 5 Inspectors, 3 SIs, 4 HCs, 3 Gr.I PCs and 13 Gr.II PCs. The unit functions from the Head Quarters, Chennai.  In the year 2000, CB-CID was bifurcated and Idol Wing was brought under the control of Economic Offences Wing in accordance with the order issued in the Chief Office Proceedings Rc.No.RAI (2)/273552/98 dt.30.12.1999. At present Idol Wing CID is headed by DIG-Idol Wing and assisted by one DSP and 5 Inspectors of Police.

Primary functions of the Idol Wing CID

  • To investigate cases of theft of idols and antiques exceeding value of Rs.5 Lakhs.
  • To investigate idol theft cases referred to it by the State Government.
  • To co-ordinate in the investigation of important idol theft cases handled by the District Police
  • Collection of intelligence on nefarious activities of antique dealers and art collectors.

 However, the idol teft in Tamilnadu has been going on obviously with the connivance of the persons involved at temple, idol-wing police, atheist politicians and others.

TN Govt Idol wing- officer- Khader bhatcha

2008 case dragged up to 2017[2]:  In May 2008, idols recovered by Arociaraj was attempted to be sold to somebody through his accomplicw Subburaj. At that time Khader Batcha intervened and brought them to Chennai. Later he sold to some agent. According to Rajendran, he found a cover kept under his car wiper on April 12 last, which stated that one Arockiaraj of Aladipatty in Aruppukottai taluk found two panchaloha idols — Sivagamy Amman and Siva Parvathy -on a pedestal. Instead of handing them over to the police, they tried to sell the same to a foreigner in collusion with one Santhanam of the same village. However, two cops caught them red-handed and handed them over to police inspector Kader Batcha. The accused sub inspector Subburaj, 54, currently serving in Koyambedu police station, was serving as a head constable in 2008 in the Idol Wing when he, along with inspector Kader Batcha, is said to have obtained the antique idols from the farmer and sold them to another smuggler Deenadayalan, who is currently facing many idol smuggling cases, for Rs.15 lakh.

Pon Manickavel, IG (Idol Wing)

In January 2017, a case was registered against Kader Batcha, Subburaj and a few others[3]: The incident surfaced only in January 2017, when the idol wing registered a case against Kader Batcha, Subburaj and a few others. The case did not see much progress and in the course of years Kader Batcha was promoted as Deputy Superintendent of Police and is now serving in Tiruvallur district. Subburaj was promoted as a sub inspector of police and was serving in Koyambedu police station. While Subburaj was arrested on Monday 26-06-2017, the Idol Wing officers said Kader Batcha was absconding. A case has been filed under IPC provisions for alleged offences including robbery, or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt, said Inspector-General of Police A G Ponn Manickavel. On Tuesday 27-06-2017, the petitioner informed the court that the case is now handled by an Inspector, who cannot effectively handle the same as the accused Kader Batcha is a DSP. Contending that it was a case of fence grazing the crop, the petitioner prayed the court to transfer the case to CBCID. A police sub inspector, one of the accused in an idol smuggling case, was arrested by Idol wing of the Economic Offences Wing on 26-06-2017 Monday. The arrest was made a day before the Madras High Court heard a petition seeking transfer of the case from the Idol Wing to CBCID. Justice R Mahadevan, before whom the petition from advocate ‘elephant’ G Rajendran came up for hearing on 27-06-2017, Tuesday, orally directed the Inspector-General of Police, Idol Wing Pon Manickavel to appear before him with all records of the case, on June 29.

Deenadayalan idol snuggler
Madras High Court questioned as to why the tainted DSP was not arrrsted?
: A day after the Madras High Court questioned the top brass of the state idol wing police as to why police personnel of their own wing involved in illegal sale of ancient panchaloha idols for several crores of rupees have not yet been arrested, the state government told the court that it had placed deputy superintendent of police Khader Batcha under suspension[4]. The judge orally asked the APP, “Why you have not arrested them. Don’t you know their whereabouts?”  The APP, Emilias said it will take some time to know their whereabouts[5]. The judge also asked Pon Manickavel what was the strength of the Idol Wing department. After Pon Manickavel explained the details, the judge asked him to file an affidavit as to what was the requirement and how many staff he requires. The judge posted to June 30, further hearing of the case. The judge also adjourned to July 21, 2017, the hearing on another petition filed by Rajendran, which sought a direction to the authorities to provide police protection to him and to his family[6]. In his petition, Rajendran alleged that he received information on Thursday that a high ranking police officer made a comment on him stating that “He always gives trouble to the government by filing petitions, harassed real estate persons, now he filed a petition against police. I will teach a lesson to him”. He sought to transfer the investigation of idol theft case to CB-CID.

Khader Bhatcha case - Indian Express 28-06-2017

The police assured that effective steps were being taken to arrest him (absconding DSP): When Justice R Mahadevan took up the matter for hearing on Friday [30-06-2017], special government pleader M. Maharaja and additional public prosecutor C. Emilias submitted that the DSP, Khader Batcha, suspected to have been involved in the idol theft and sale case, was placed under suspension with effect from June 29, 2017[7]. A sub-inspector, who was an associate of Batcha, has already been arrested. Though Batcha is absconding, there were rumours on Friday [30-06-2017] that he had been arrested near Andhra Pradesh border. The two law officers also furnished a copy of the suspension order before the court. They told Justice Mahadevan that effective steps were being taken to arrest him and that police would proceed with further investigation including recovery of idols in the case. The HR & CE department will cooperate with the police in the investigation, they said. As for Justice Mahadevan’s queries with regard to the staff strength at the idol wing police and vacancies dogging it, the law officers produced a circular issued by the DGP, allotting 20 police personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police, an inspector and a sub-inspector to the idol wing[8]. The judge then reserved his orders on the PIL, filed by advocate and activist Elephant G Rajendran[9].

TN Govt Idol wing- officer- Khader bhatcha-2

Absconding DSP suspected to be hiding in Kerala[10]: CB-CID Idol Wing officers have intensified their search to nab Deputy Superintendent of Police Kadher Batcha, who has been suspended on for his alleged involvement in the illegal export of antique idols in 2008[11]. The news reports say that he was in Kerala or Andhra border hiding in a Ayurvedic clinic or resort. A.G. Ponn Manickavel, Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing CID, appeared before the Madras High Court and explained the details of the case to Justice R. Mahadevan who heard the plea moved by an advocate seeking transfer of the probe into a multi-crore idol theft case registered against two officials of the Idol Wing to the CB-CID[12]. Recording the appearance of IG, Justice Mahadevan orally instructed the prosecutor’s office to get instructions from the jurisdictional Superintendent of Police, Tiruvallur, as to why the police official involved in the crime was not yet arrested and file a report.

Subash Kapoor

Case background as reported in “The Hindu”[13]: Manickavel told The Hindu, “We have zeroed in on the probable whereabouts of Batcha and teams have been sent to Kerala following inputs that he might be hiding there.” In 2008, Sundaramoorthy, a professional photographer, who was running a studio in South Mada Street in Madurai and was involved in selling antique idols, had displayed photos of antique idols. Batcha, who was an Inspector at the time, and Subburaj, then a head constable in the Idol Wing, quizzed Sundaramoorthy about the photos displayed. Following information given by him, the officers apprehended Arokiaraj, a resident of Aladipatti of Aruppukottai Taluk in Virudhunagar, who was trying sell some idols recovered from his agricultural land to a foreign national. Police sources said Arokiaraj and Sundaramoorthy were interrogated at a guest house in Virudhunagar but they escaped from there. The idols were in the custody of Mr. Batcha who, along with Mr. Subburaj, tried to sell them to Deenadayalan, an international antique dealer, for Rs. 50 lakh. As Deenadayalan was reluctant to buy the idols, they reportedly forced him to buy the idols for Rs. 25 lakh. The idols found their way to Manhattan gallery owner Subhash Kapoor, who is in Puzhal Prison.

© Vedaprakash

30-06-2017

Deenadayalan, Subhash Kapoor, Khader Batcha

[1] http://www.tneow.gov.in/IDOL/IW_history.html

[2] Indian Express, Plea to shift theft case from idol wing to CBCID; SI held, DSP on the run, By Express News Service  |   Published: 28th June 2017 01:50 AM  |  Last Updated: 28th June 2017 07:54 AM.

[3] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/jun/28/plea-to-shift-theft-case-from-idol-wing-to-cbcid-si-held-dsp-on-the-run-1621673.html

[4] Times of India, DSP tainted by idol theft charge suspended: Tamil Nadu, TNN | Updated: Jul 1, 2017, 12.35 PM IST.

[5] Deccan Herald, Why cops in idol theft case not held, Madras HC asks govt, PublishedJun 30, 2017, 1:49 am IST; UpdatedJun 30, 2017, 4:26 am IST

[6] http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/300617/why-cops-in-idol-theft-case-not-held-madras-hc-asks-govt.html

[7]  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/dsp-tainted-by-idol-theft-charge-suspended-tn/articleshow/59393078.cms

[8] Business Standard, DySP accused in idol case suspended: TN govt informs HC, Press Trust of India  |  Chennai June 30, 2017 Last Updated at 19:15 IST.

[9] http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/dysp-accused-in-idol-case-suspended-tn-govt-informs-hc-117063000966_1.html

[10] The Hindu, Absconding DSP suspected to be hiding in Kerala,, Chennai, June 30, 2017 00:00 IST; Updated: JUNE 30, 2017 04:49 IST.

[11] Bureaucracy Today, Suspended accused DSP: TN govt to HC, PTI/Agencies, Chennai , Saturday July 1 2017 18:52:44.

[12] http://bureaucracytoday.com/judiciary_watch_news.aspx?id=82274

[13]http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/dsp-wanted-in-idols-smuggling-case-suspected-to-be-hiding-in-kerala/article19182589.ece

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.