Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where is the original Kapaleeshwarar temple?

Where is the original Kapaleeshwarar temple?

All eminent historians writing on colonial India describe the devastation of Mylapore and its environs by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The respected Mylapore archaeologist Dr. R. Nagaswami, who has worked on San Thome Cathedral with the Jesuits, tells of the destruction of Jain and Buddhist temples along with all of the buildings of the Kapaleeswarar Temple on the Mylapore beach. Before him the Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa describes a holocaust that extended from Mylapore to Big Mount, south of the Adyar River. Even the St. Thomas protagonist Archbishop Arulappa admitted that Hindu temples once stood on the sites now occupied by St. Thomas–related churches in Madras, at Mylapore, Saidapet, and Big Mount now called St. Thomas Mount.

"There were some broken pillar lengths, and bottom portion of Shiva lingam, and a round stone kept atop the bottom avudayar of Shiva lingam."

By.GP Srinivasan

Chennai's self-styled historian S. Muthiah has been propagating the fable of Thomas's visit to India promoted by the Portuguese over 500 years ago. The Catholic establishment has generously supported this fable.

Elders used to mention about the presence of an old Shiva temple on the sea coast.

After publication of the book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple by Ishwar Sharan, in 1991, the public were aware of the dangers of the theory of the visit of Thomas to India.

The Church was trying to make Hindus villains, like what they did to the Jews for 2000 years.

By 1990, eminent citizens of Madras installed a 15 feet by 4 feet high marble plaque on the eastern gopuram of the Kapaleeswara Temple, Mylapore, Chennai, whereon they inscribed that the Portuguese destroyed the original temple on the beach side in the 16th century.

Though the mischief of S. Muthiah and his colleagues like Archbishop Arulappa, Deivanayagam and Ganesh Ayer were exposed in the book, S. Muthiah is in no mood to give up. In an article in The Hindu of Jan 7, 2004, S. Muthiah had revised his theory. He had taken a cue from the BORI incident. He apparently didn't want to be on the wrong side and caught and blamed like John Laine. So he modified his article, this time without the prefix 'Saint' before Thomas, and the title "The Mount of Thomas" given. But within the article he made a sarcastic remark about Ishwar Sharan. We brought it to the notice of Ishwar Sharan and also Veda Prakash who had done much of the research, and requested them to send a detailed rejoinder to S. Muthiah and The Hindu. Immediately they both sent their rejoinders to The Hindu and to S. Muthiah. And as usual, their replies were not published byThe Hindu. [The Hindu immediately put a copyright notice on the article on their online edition so that it could not be reproduced for comment by Ishwar Sharan in 2004. It has since been made freely available. Go to S. Muthaih's article and Ishwar Sharan' rejoinder.

In his rejoinder, Ishwar Sharan wrote: "My quarrel with Mr. Muthiah and the English-language media that promote the St. Thomas legend, is that the legend does indeed intrude on and demean the Hindu community. It falsely implicates a Hindu king and his priests in the persecution and murder of a Christian apostle and saint, and there is good reason to believe that this maligning of the Hindu community is exactly what is intended today, when the legend is repeated and promoted ad nauseam by the Catholic Church and her agents in the press. In fact, the Hindu community is doubly wronged. It not only did not kill the fictional St. Thomas but for the saint's cause it lost a number of important temples to the aggressive religious bigotry of the Portuguese.

It took more than fifty years for the Portuguese to bring down the original Kapaleeswara Temple and build a St. Thomas Church in its place. I wonder how many Indian lives were lost in defence of the Great God Shiva and His house on the Mylapore beach."

Their replies exposes how the Roman Catholic Church has written/is writing and trying to perpetuate pseudo history in South India.

Here, I would also like to share my experience with your readers. I came across the book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple by Ishwar Sharan and Indiavil Saint Thomas Kattukkadai by Veda Prakash, in 2001, and decided to visit the spots mentioned in the book.

In July 2001 when I went to the Mylapore [St. Thomas] Church, the stone pillar from the remains of the old Hindu temple, which was mentioned by Ishwar Sharan, was exactly there near the compound wall, as mentioned in the book. I took a walk around the church. In an area between the main church and a chapel on the backside [viz. a lane from Santhome High Road to the beach, the church on the left and the bishop's house on the right ], there was a board in English announcing "Museum". It was locked.

There were some broken pillar lengths, and bottom portion of Shiva lingam, and a round stone kept atop the bottom avudayar of Shiva lingam. In the few feet gap between the church's backside and the chapel, there was a broken Tamil inscription on granite stone piece peculiar to Hindu temples.

I do not know whether it still remains there or not in 2004. Subsequently I took some Hindu friends to show these temple remains, and we had to do it discretely. This was to create eyewitness evidence. We made a couple of visits, and found the remains intact.

Meanwhile, one day I was driving along the Santhome High Road, and found some construction going on in the church. A new Calvary Hill with water fountain, with Jesus standing in a cave's entrance had come up [viz. the new Grotto] .I checked up for the original pillar from the temple measuring 12 to 14 feet. It was not there. I was perturbed. At least these remnants from the original temple should be preserved. In December 2001, I found there was a big celebration going on the church grounds. The pastor was speaking. Some parts of his talk drew my attention.

He said that he was worried whether the function would go at all. And so lorry loads of building waste material had to be removed. And one Kumar lorry operator or contractor, obviously close to the church, has done a fine job. He was appreciated and honored by the pastor who spoke on the dais on 31 Dec. 2001. He said that he was greatly relieved, for that building waste removal has not attracted any unwanted attention. I presumed that what he meant was that the new stage was constructed after the removal of the old mandapam from the compound, and the pastor was worried about the consequences of their illegal removal. It is not known whether they took permission from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI)? Secondly, they should not have dumped the lorry loads of the old dilapidated mandapam, completely removed from the compound and clandestinely taken to some waste yard. Did they take permission to do it from Archeological Survey of India (ASI)?

Courtesy: Hindu Voice, April 2004

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