-TS Venkatesan from Chennai-
The seat of judicial administration viz the Madras High Court of Judicature was once a temple. This startling information came to fore during the 150th anniversary
celebration of the High Court. Before 1757, Shiva-Vaishnavite temples existed at the same place where the court building is located. They were known Chenna Malleswarar and Chenna Kesava Perumal Kovil. Madras was changed to Chennai to indicate these temples’ names. These temples were built in early 1640s by Parry Thimmappa (a translator by profession).
Pushing the Christian imperialist agenda, the British government divided people on caste-religious lines and demolished famous temples to make way for some governmental, viceroy bungalows. They demolished temples for the High Court in two places in the Sowcarpet area, where Marwaris and north Indians are predominant. It was said to be intended for the expansion of the Fort St. George, the current seat of power, where the State Assembly and Secretariat are situated. When the announcement was made to demolish the temples, Hindus and devotees opposed it. “To counter this, they offered money, land to build temple in some other part of the city. Manali Muthukrishna Mudaliar, who was a translator for the Britishers came forward to build the temple on his own money and accordingly he built both Chenna Kesva and Chenna Malleeswara temples in Devaraja Mudali Street in 1700. Before he could complete, it was again demolished. He refused to accept the money offered by them. Businessman Aalangkatha Pillai constructed the Chenna Malleeswarar temple with his own funds,” says Historian S Muthiah.
During the 150th anniversary
celebrations, Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Indira Banerjee said that the High Court is located in a sacred place where Shiva-Vishnu temples existed. There are tell-tale marks in the High Court campus even today. It has entrances on its four sides like those of temples.
The real intention of the Britishers was not the expansion of Fort St. George. It was a design. In 1844 they brought out an ordinance allowing converted Christians inherit the properties perennially. Theology was made a compulsory subject in Madras University. The then famous businessman Kajulu Lakshmi Narasu Chetty staged a protest in Chennai in 1846 and the British were forced to withdraw the ordinance. In 1888, a Christian College student was converted and there was tension following the incident. Many parents stormed convents to take back their wards fearing they too might be converted. This propelled Hindus to start their own schools and colleges. These philanthropic gentlemen were the key architects of the Congress party in the state.
One may ask why we are beating around the bush and telling a demolition story of 560 years old now. What was the necessity and connection? On Ram Janmabhoomi, Ayodhya Ram Mandir was razed to the ground by Babar. Not only Muslims, but the Christians too were in the land grabbing. Their sinister design came to light some six or five months back when they prepared for the 150th anniversary. Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were sitting on the dais, CJ of Madras High Court mentioned that there existed a temple and was proud that he was sitting at the sacred place to deliver justice to affected.
Chennai based advocate K.T Raghavan said, “We knew Muslims only destructed Hindu temples but the Christian East Indian Company also did the same to build their infrastructure. Another advocate Illan Kumar Sampath pointed out that injustice is being meted out to Hindus. The whole episode was kept out of the Hindus all these years. It has to be atoned. Another advocate T V Lakshmi Naraian demanded that the wrong has to be set right. Demolishing Temple to build a Court cannot be acceptable
800-year-old temple found
Structure of a Shiva temple, believed to be 800 years old, in a ruined condition was found in Vayalogam, near Illupur in Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu. It had stone inscriptions of Cholas and second Pandian empires.
Amazingly, it did not find mention in the records of Hindu religious and charitable endowment (HR&CE) and state archaeology department either. The dilapidated temple was camouflaged under thickets of Seemai Karuvelam (Prosopis Juliflora) and was restored back to near original state by a group of young archaeological enthusiasts. They said several unread stone inscriptions, bearing the history of eight centuries, were found inside the temple premises.
Three history enthusiasts, who found the temple, said that when they were touring Vayalogam and Iluppur localities, they found a few abandoned stone pillars. The remaining structure was completely engulfed in thickets of Karuvelam bushes. The locals of Vayalogam were unaware of the presence of a Shiva temple. The youths along with Society for Chola Research and Development, Veeracholan Anukkanpadai, and Gangaikondacholapuram Development Council, contributing a sum of Rs 40,000 retrieved the 800-year-old temple ruins during a two-day long mission in October. A Suresh, an IT professional involved in the finding said, “With the help of locals, we removed the thickets covering the centuries-old temple that had separate shrines for Goddess, Yoga Bhairavar (in sitting posture) and Lord Muruga. Inscriptions of several rulers including Kulasekara Pandian (12th century) were found on the temple walls. One of a stone inscription on the walls of the 3,000 sq. ft temple threw light that the villagers had used precious ornaments in the temple as ransom to get back an unidentified village head detained by Vallaldevan, a chieftain.”
Six panchaloha idols stolen
At least six panchaloha idols were stolen from a Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Perungudi on October 7. When the priest Vasu, a resident of Velachery came to offer prayers in the morning found the idols were missing. He lodged a complaint at the Thoraipakkam police station. Two Lord Anjaneyar idols, the main deity Srinivasa Perumal, Padmavathi Thayar, Narasimhar and Chakarathalvar idols each were stolen. The burglars broke open the door lock and barged into the temple and made away with the valuables.
The police registered a case and launched a hunt for the suspects with the help of the CCTV footage collected from nearby showrooms and residences.