Temple, not Court, is Supreme in Bharat
B R Haran
9 July 2011
Shame on us! I mean, shame on Hindus! Something outrageous has been happening since the first of this month in one of the most sacred places on our bhumi, and we, sons of this bhumi, are shamelessly watching the sacrilege without an iota of fury. The Supreme Court of India , which is just 60 years old, has constituted a seven member committee to take inventory of the centuries-old treasures kept safely inside secret vaults of the famous Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Tiruvananthapuram.
Why? Because, a small time advocate filed a case against so-called mismanagement of the temple by the Travancore Royal Family. Before going into details, let us go to the origin of this case. It all started like this:
Maharaja of Travancore Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma wanted to fulfill his ancestor’s (Swathi Thirunal) wish of gold plating of the Artha Mandapam in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum. As sufficient gold could not be procured, R. Sashidaran, an executive in the administration of the temple, released a circular dated 2 August 2007, in the name of Marthanda Varma, permitting opening of the secret vaults.
Advocate T.K. Ananthapadmanaban challenged the circular and approached the court. The Trivandrum Sessions Court ruled that the existing management had no legal claim to administer the temple and asked the state government to take over the administration of the temple. On 31 January, the Kerala High Court upheld the lower court’s order that the state government must take over the temple.
The Royal Family was outraged and a member, Rama Varma, challenged the order, after which the dispute went to the Supreme Court. After staying the High Court order asking the state government to take over the temple, the Supreme Court constituted a seven member committee to take inventory of the “treasures” inside the temple, on the basis of a petition filed by another Advocate T.P. Sundararajan.
Now let us leave Trivandrum / Delhi and go to Chennai.
On 25 May 2010, the Chennai Corporation demolished a Devi (Selli Amman) Temple on First Avenue , Shastri Nagar, Adayar, in the name of clearing unauthorized encroachments. After razing the temple to dust with a bulldozer, the authorities advanced towards the Srinivasaswamy Temple located some 100 yards from Selli Amman temple. Fortunately, local citizens thwarted this attempt before the authorities could complete their evil job.
Next morning, a Fish stall and a Mutton stall, owned by minority communities, sprung up exactly at the spot where the Selli Amman temple stood! When concerned citizens approached the corporation authorities to remove the stalls, they were treated with contempt.
Five months later, the corporation officials came again to demolish the Srinivasa Temple on 16 October, the sacred day of Saraswati Pooja. Outraged by this arrogance, well known writer and activist Radha Rajan filed a Writ Petition at the Madras High Court, praying for stay of demolition of Srinivasaswamy temple and removal of the fish stalls from the said place. The “Honourable” Bench of the Madras High Court refused to stay the demolition, but ordered removal of the fish stall. But before doing so, the “Honourable” Bench had the “intelligence” to ask Radha Rajan the golden question in any court of law, “What is your locus standi?”
Now, let us get back to Supreme Court, Delhi :
The law of the land is NOT supposed to be different for a Temple or a Church or a Mosque!
What is applicable to Selli Amman Temple is applicable to Velankanni Church and Thousand Lights Mosque – or should be. So if Selli Amman Temple could be demolished for illegal encroachment, the same should have happened to Besant Nagar Church and Thousand Lights Mosque which have also illegally encroached corporation lands. But, it never happened! That’s “Indian Secularism” for you!
Similarly, the law of the land should NOT be different for Radha Rajan and Sundararajan! What is applicable to Radha Rajan should be applicable to Sundararajan. Is it not?
Sorry readers, it is not! That is what we can infer from the Supreme Court order!
The “Honourable” Madras High Court with a sadistic smile said straight to Radha Rajan’s face, “Removing a fish stall is easier than removing a temple” and asked with temerity, “What is your locus standi?”
What for? To remove a fish stall run by a Christian from the site where a Hindu temple existed for years until it was callously uprooted? (Ironically showing scant regard to the High Court’s order [read contempt], the Christian reinstalled his fish stall within days of the judgment! The corporation of course allowed it.
The “Honorable” Supreme Court never felt any compunction in ordering the opening of the secret vaults of the centuries-old Padmanabha Swamy Temple . Nor did it ask petitioner Sundararajan, “What is your locus standi?”
What is involved here is not a few thousand rupees worth of fish stall, but an ancient temple of immeasurable sanctity and wealth of unknown value.
In both the courts, it is the “Hindu” who has been at the receiving end of Justice (sic). That is “Indian Justice” for Hindus – based not on Law – but on “Indian Secularism”!
The Presiding Deity of a Temple is the owner of the concerned temple and whatever is present within the premises belongs to Him. The Presiding Deity is also a juridical person as confirmed in the recent Allahabad High Court’s Ayodhya Verdict which confirmed that Sri Rama as owner of His place of birth. In another case related to Ayodhya, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court confirmed that a Temple belongs to its Presiding Deity, which is believed and recognized as actually living inside the temple.
In the light of these facts, the Supreme Court should have asserted that Bhagwan Padmanabha Swamy is Presiding Deity of the temple, its owner, and everything inside the temple premises belongs to Him. It should have outright dismissed the petition filed by the petitioners. At the very least it should have waited for the outcome of the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple case, which is pending before the very same apex Court.
Instead, the “Honourable” Supreme Court preferred to entertain the petition without even going into the antecedents of the petitioners and determining if there was any prima facie evidence in the allegations made in the petition regarding so-called mismanagement by the Royal Family.
When devotees and general public have no grievances with the management and the Royal Family, the Courts should have refrained from going to the extent of forcing open the secret chambers. The Supreme Court could have solved the case without ordering this ‘sacrilege’.
Was the Supreme Court’s order really sacrilegious? Yes, of course! As Hindus we do not worship the deity alone; we worship the entire temple; the Temple Tower ; the Dwajasthambam; the Bali Peetam; the walls; the pillars; the Temple Tank (Theertham); the Temple ’s Tree (Sthala Viruskham); the ornaments worn by the deity; the clothes worn by the deity; ultimately we worship everything inside the temple premises! The entire Temple is sacred for us!
Neither the government nor the court has any business to meddle with the things belonging to the Deity. Ordering the opening of the secret chambers was uncalled for, and this sacrilege has been committed to satisfy a frivolous petition. By this order the Supreme Court has opened a can of worms.
First, a closely guarded secret has been made known to the entire world in a very cavalier fashion. Second, the temple’s security has come under permanent peril. Third, anti-Hindu forces have started demanding inventorying the wealth of all major temples, as if they have a rightful claim to it. Fourth, the religious sentiments protected by the Constitution have been mauled and will continue to hurt. Finally, the apex Court has set a bad precedent and if it does not reconsider this path, the consequences will be dangerous for communal harmony in the country.
If one can file a case against an ancient historic temple making flimsy allegations and get one’s petition admitted by the Supreme Court and receive a favourable order, then a petition with irrefutable evidences must certainly be admitted, heard and given a favourable order. Here are just two cases for the readers’ attention.
The first is about Santhome Cathedral, Mylapore, Chennai. History has enough proofs that Santhome Cathedral was built on the ruins of Mylapore Shiva Temple . When the Portuguese invaded the Indian coast, they also landed in Madras , destroyed the magnificent Kapaleeshwarar Temple and built Santhome Cathedral over its ruins. They looted the entire wealth of the temple, and the present day Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a latter-day construction.
Until recently, many people are believed to have seen ancient stone carvings, stone walls and even pillars with Hindu signs inside the Bascilla. But it is learnt that the Mylapore Archdiocese destroyed the remaining evidences indicating the presence of a Shiva Temple underneath the Cathedral. In fact, the Church is peddling the nonsensical theory of a Saint Thomas who came to India , in cohorts with a conniving media. School children have been fed with this farcical story as “history” for years!
This writer and lakhs of Hindus firmly believe the Church was built on the ruins of a Shiva temple after demolishing it, and that despite the destruction by Church authorities, evidences will remain of the existence of an ancient temple. This writer believes the Church authorities could have hidden a portion of the looted Temple wealth in secret vaults inside the church.
Now, will the Supreme Court order an investigation by Archaeological Survey of India, first to ascertain the presence of an ancient Shiva Temple , and second, to take a complete inventory of the wealth inside the Church? If a petition is filed showing historical evidences, will the “Honourable” Supreme Court dare entertain it and issue a similar order as given against the Travancore Temple , or will it revert to its secular style of asking, “What is your locus standi?”
The second case pertains to “Amir Mahal”, the palace of the “Prince” of Arcot in Royapettah, Chennai. The Nawabdom was established by Aurangzeb and the Nawabs ruled the Carnatic region from 1690 to 1850, with their seat in Arcot. Their territory extended from Krishna River to Coleroon and up to Madurai in the south. They looted many temples and the Virinchipuram Shiva temple, with only one tower, near Vellore , is standing testimony to the destruction caused by the Arcot Nawabs.
The Arcot Nawabs have usurped and looted all the territories and wealth of the Hindus. At a later stage, they returned some lands and tanks to the temples due to political compulsions, but claimed to have “donated” these with magnanimity! The present “Prince” of Arcot in Chennai has been peddling such outrageous stories at every opportunity, as if his ancestors had donated their own hard-earned wealth to Hindu temples. Who donates whose properties to whom, eh?
Mind you, when all Hindu Kings, true sons of this punya bhumi, acceded their rightful kingdoms after independence with passion, patriotism and magnanimity, and lived as ordinary citizens, the so-called Princes of Arcot, descendents of invaders, enjoy all privileges, including the title and tax-free pensions in perpetuity! And they have the temerity to say they have donated a lot for the wellbeing of Hindus!
This writer, like many other Hindus, strongly believes that “Amir Mahal” Palace of the “Prince” of Arcot has many ancient hidden treasures looted by his ancestors from Hindu temples. Once it was even believed that there was an underground connection by means of a tunnel, from Arcot to Amir Mahal.
So, will the Supreme Court constitute a committee to investigate Amir Mahal and take an inventory of the wealth there? If a petition is filed, showing historical evidences, will the “Honourable” Supreme Court entertain it and issue a similar order as given against Travancore Temple , or will it play the old ‘secular’ game and ask the petitioner, “What is your locus standi?”
– When the Supreme Court has not bothered to ensure a “Common Civil Code”,
– When the Supreme Court has not nullified the HR & CE Act, which is against the Constitution,
– When the Supreme Court has not brought Churches and Mosques under the purview of Government Religious Endowments at par with Temples ,
– When the Supreme Court has not put an end to subsidizing Haj Pilgrimage,
What is wrong in saying the Supreme Court has erred in the case of Travancore Temple ?
What is wrong in saying the Supreme Court had committed sacrilege?
What is wrong in saying the Supreme Court had hurt our religious sentiments?
Shockingly, no Hindu organisation, ostensibly existing to defend the Hindu dharma and the Hindu people from precisely such assaults from the secular state and its soulless institutions, spoke ONE WORD in defence of the Temple , the Deity, the Royal Guardians of the Temple , nor dared condemn the Supreme Court Order. Only the Revered Kanchi Acharya came out with a clear and categorical statement saying that wealth belongs to Bhagwan and the Royal family is its custodians.
Handing over Bhagwan’s wealth to the government, which is full of corrupt elements and criminals, or keeping them in a government museum, or using them for ‘secular’ expenditure which is anti-Hindu in Indian parlance, is not at all acceptable. The status quo must be maintained and the matter must be closed at once.
The Supreme Court must unequivocally declare that all temples in India , in their entirety, belong to the respective Bhagwan, relieve them from the government’s stranglehold and handover their administration to locally eminent and honourable bhaktas or Hindus associations that have no foreign or minority representation in their ranks.
The author is a senior journalist