“Tamil Hindus must understand that the Church is frustrated at the decimation of LTTE and would get back with more vigour and venom, applying different strategies. Tamil Hindus are certainly in for tougher and troubled times. The onus lies on the various Hindu organizations to rise to the occasion and thwart all attempts made by alien and chauvinistic forces.” — B.R. Haran
The Sri Lankan connection
Late last month, Deivanayagam proclaimed in an interview to Tamil biweekly Nakkeeran that and his supporters would storm into the Kapaleeswarar Temple and capture it, as it was constructed on the ruins of a Church, which allegedly stood at the site centuries ago! As a first step, he has organized a “hunger strike” with hand-picked supporters on May 2, 2010. His further plans include:
- May 10 – 20: workshop for volunteers to involve them in the forthcoming protest.
- May 23: march from Thiruvalluvar Temple, Mylapore, to Santhome Basilica and Kapaleeswarar Temple; public meeting near temple.
- June 13: storming and entering sanctum sanctorum of Kapaleeswarar Temple and Santhome Church to perform pujas and conduct prayers.
Deivanayagam claims to have conducted a meeting uniting three categories of people namely, Tamil-Hindus who have got liberated from enslaving Brahminical thoughts; Tamil-Hindus who have got liberated from enslaving European Christian thoughts; and Tamil-Hindus who follow atheism, on December 27, 2009, under the aegis of Federation of All Self-Respecting Tamils. This was followed by a meeting on February 27, 2010, wherein they resolved to liberate Kapaleeswarar Temple from Brahmin priests through various agitations.
Deivanayagam claims the present Santhome Church was originally a Shiva temple built on the grave of St. Thomas and that the present Kapaleeswara Temple was originally a church! The inclusion of Santhome Church in the protest march and storming entry agitation is just a ploy to show he is also against the Church. He pretends he is not a Christian and that he practices only “Tamil Religion” (Thamizh Samayam, or, Thomas Christianity). But the fact remains that the Mylapore Archdiocese (present head Archbishop Chinnappa) has stood solidly behind all his activities for more than 30 years. The very fact that he is able to peddle nonsensical theories, author books on the same, and print and publish them without any known sources of income for over three decades confirms that the Catholic Church is backing him.
On March 27, 2010, he wrote to the Chief Minister requesting him to liberate Kapaleeswarar Temple from Brahmin priests which would have special significance to the World Classical Tamil Conference. Copies were marked to Minister and Commissioner of HR & CE Department. The same day, he shot off letters to Archbishop of Mylapore and Head Priest of Kapaleeswarar Temple conveying his plans to storm both Santhome Basilica and the Temple.
On April 2, he wrote to Tamil Nadu BJP President Pon. Radhakrishnan of his plans to storm the temple.
On April 18, he wrote to the Chief Minister reminding him of his previous letter and demands. He urged the Chief Minister to appoint unbiased scholars as interlocutors to conduct his proposed dialogues with the Church and Temple authorities. Copies were marked to Mylapore Archbishop, Temple’s Head Priest, HR & CE Department and others.
On April 16, he wrote to the Commissioner of Police requesting permission to for a hunger strike near Rajarathinam Stadium on May 2, which was permitted. Previously, when he sought to conduct a demonstration on April 14, against the Brahmin community, the police refused permission citing law and order problems.
On April 22, he again wrote to the Archbishop and Temple’s Head Priest that he had informed the Chief Minister and other authorities of his plan of action. He mentioned that the Archbishop of Mylapore had agreed for talks and asked the Head Priest to reply at the earliest.
As mentioned in the police complaint lodged by Hindu activists on May 3, 2010, Deivanayagam has a notorious track record of virulent anti-Hindu activities for over 30 years. Deivanayagam takes advantage of the tolerance shown by Hindus, who have also made the mistake of ignoring him for many years. The hunger strike conducted by him and Seeman indicates a new trend – the development of an unholy nexus between Christianity and Tamil Chauvinism. This combination, in the absence of the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, will seek to destabilize society by playing “caste-cards” and “Tamil-cards”, both aimed at Hindus.
As observed by Radha Rajan, Editor, www.vigilonline.com “This new convergence of interest between Deivanayagam and the violent Tamil extremists like Seeman is a new trend and is headed only in this direction:
- The Sri Lankan Tamil issue is for now over. The extermination of the LTTE has denied the violent Tamil extremists in TN all avenues for creative self-expression and has brought their political career to an abrupt end. The Tamil extremists in TN and Sri Lanka in turn play the roles of engine and coach. Whenever the LTTE found the going tough for them in Sri Lanka they hitched themselves to the ideological engine in TN to keep themselves going. Whenever the LTTE gained in strength in Sri Lanka, the Tamil extremists in TN hitched themselves to the militarily powerful LTTE engine. It has been a mutually profitable association for both sides.
- The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in the US, Canada and Europe funded the extremists in both countries generously as did all Church denominations in Sri Lanka, America and Europe. Now that the Tamil Diaspora is scattered in North America and Europe and the TN extremists have been deprived of their military might and the LTTE decimated in Sri Lanka, one leg of the Tamil tripod – LTTE, TN Tamil extremists and the Tamil Diaspora – has been sawed off. The TN leg is shaking, while the Diaspora leg even if it is strong in itself, cannot support the tripod alone.
- The idea is to strengthen the shaking TN leg and inject blood into a lifeless limb. The only way to keep the idea of the Christian state of Tamil Eelam alive is to keep the pot boiling in TN – keep this violent constituency united on an issue and keep them from being scattered. If there is one thing all Dravidians have in common, it is their congenital anti-Hindu hatred. Karunanidhi may find Tamil extremism in TN courts difficult to explain to judges here and in Delhi, but he can point the blood-thirsty ghouls in the direction of TN’s Hindus to turn them away from the police and the government.
- So, in the guise of Tamil pride, the violent Seeman, Thol Thirumalvalavan, Pazha Nedumaran and other erstwhile LTTE acolytes are now being actively courted by Christian Tamil priests to take up the cause of demanding that all castes be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of all TN temples to offer poojas.
- TN’s Hindu organizations have long disappeared from public life and the field is empty of all protest and challenge. The TN government and the Church have nothing to lose and everything to gain by pointing this violent group in the direction of Hindus and Hindu temples.
- They stand to gain if the Dravidian parties abjure separatism and seek a huge bite in the Delhi pie; they stand equally to gain if the church succeeds in realizing the Christian state of Tamil Eelam from out of TN and the north and east of Sri Lanka. They may even concede their own Pakistan in Amparai if the Christian state of Eelam comes into being.”
- When the Eelam War-IV was at its peak and LTTE was getting decimated, Theivanayagam planned a demonstration at Memorial Hall in Chennai on April 7, 2009, in the name of “Thamizh Eezham Vendi Thamizhar Samaya Maanaadu” (Tamil Religious Conference Demanding Tamil Eelam). But police refused permission. In the literatures prepared for the conference, he claimed:
- Sri Lanka connected with Tamil Nadu was a part of Kumari Kandam (Continent of Kumari aka Lemuria) before it was separated by Tsunami.
- Eelam Tamils are original inhabitants of Sri Lanka; Sinhalese migrated from India during the time of Emperor Ashoka; the Tamil indentured labourers were sent by British government from India
- Sinhala Buddhists are persecuting Eelam Tamils and the birth of Tamil Eelam is the only solution.
- Tamil Eelam and Tamil Nadu will together constitute Tamil Nation via Thomas Christianity, which is the religion of Tamils.
This will help readers to understand the association of Tamil chauvinist and LTTE supporter Seeman with Christian Deivanayagam. We learn that Pazha Nedumaran, president, Tamil Nationalist Movement, and a known LTTE supporter, pulled out from participating in the event at the last minute.
Tamil Hindus must understand that the Church is frustrated at the decimation of LTTE and would get back with more vigour and venom, applying different strategies. Tamil Hindus are certainly in for tougher and troubled times. The onus lies on the various Hindu organizations to rise to the occasion and thwart all attempts made by alien and chauvinistic forces.
Hindus missed the opportunity first when Arulappa and Acharya Paul were fighting in court; they missed a second chance when Dharmapuram Adheenam demolished the perverted distortions of Deivanayagam; they missed a third opportunity when Deivanayagam organized a four-day conference hosted by Mylapore Archdiocese.
Here is yet another chance, which must be utilized at any cost. Deivanayagam’s theories are not only anti-Hindu but also anti-national. Lumpen elements like Deivanayagam and Seeman are a serious threat to communal harmony and national integration. Criminal complaints have to be registered demanding immediate police action. His premises must be raided, blasphemous books and materials confiscated, and financial sources screened.
The role played by the Catholic Church in backing him must be investigated. Simultaneously, watertight legal cases have to be filed to expose their nefarious activities and to assert the real identity and true history, and safeguard our temples and culture. Conferences and public meetings must be organized throughout the state to tell people the true story of Mylapore and the sham story of Santhome.
This is a perfect opportunity to demolish the so-called Thomas story once and for all!
B.R. Haran is a senior journalist in Chennai
Images added by blog editor
St. Thomas in India Research Resources: