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Heart of the Hinterland

April 29, 2019

Recently on Kumbakonam-Mayavaram temple tour, I had an opportunity to travel through the hinterland of my home state Tamil Nadu. Well, I might have been to America and Europe and Malaysia, Singapore and Bali and even the Balkan Georgia, but the fact is, I haven’t even set my foot in my national capital Delhi. Same way, I haven’t seen much of even my home state which could be as big as some European nations like France, Germany and Spain.

From little memories from ,my pre-teen years, I recall thatched huts in villages and widespread poverty. That was  in late 1970s and early 1980s. Fast forward to 2019. Stunned by the prosperity of my home state and India in general.

Definition of poverty has undergone sea change in last few years. Owning a car does not automatically put you above the BPL category – by world standards.

That way, India’s poor are not poor the way the west may define them.

India’s poor are doing well in so many, many ways that unfortunately may not be parameters defining good living.

In Tanjore district especially, I saw that there was hardly any scene of poverty. No homeless almost. I saw some beggars only before the Swamy Malai temple and even they looked well-fed!

The Thanjavur (Tanjore) belt was the stronghold of the Cholas for over a 1000 year period. It was golden age for Tamil Nadu. Around the same time, the Pandyas ruled the Madurai region and the Cheras over what is known as Kerala today. The Pallavas were based in sea coast and upto Chennai and Kanchipuram.

The most notable Cholas were Raja Raja Chola, Rajendra Chola, Kulothunga Chola who raised over a thousand Hindu dravidian architecture temples each – of rough granite. Many temples were also rock-cut or carved out of mountains. For thousands of years, these Hindu temples have existed with regular Puja (service) continuing non stop across centuries.

A casual stroll into the Tanjore Brahadeeshwara temple would reveal to you, what an ardent Shiva devotee Raja Raja Chola would have been. Every single temple is a poetry in Dravidian architecture. Spread over acres most of them, you have to see them to believe them. But you would hardly learn about the Chola (Chozha) anywhere in India – either by way of text book or whatever. That is because the congress govt in India glorified the terrorist Moghul rule suppressing the native Hindu history. Plunderers and thieves and rapists were painted as heroes – from Akbar to Shah Jehan to Aurangazeb. The native benevolent kings who bravely fought and lost battles on dharmic code were sidelined systematically by Indian historians. India is not merely Delhi and Agra. India extends upto the tip of the Indian subcontinent where the 3 seas merge in 3 different hues – the Indian ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea.

There are pillars in Darasum temple built by Chola, that can produce the Sapta Swaras (the 7 notes of music) in resonance if you strike them. The shadow of Tanjore temple tower never falls on the ground – this is another marvel. The apex granite stone itself weighs over a 100 ton – think of it being transported from central India to the temple tower top over 1100 years back. In one particular temple, exactly on Chitra Pournami in April (full moon day), the moon will reflect on the deity of Mother Goddess for the entire night. Light is made to pass on to the deity just for this one day an year and never does it happen any other day. Many architectural wonders are sealed from public view by archeological department because of menace by miscreants.

Another marvel is, the 5 Shiva temples of India – the major Shiva Stalas lie on a 90 degree straight line from the Kailash to Rameshwaram – like on a single axis. Single perpendicular line without deviation. How ancient Hindus managed to calculate the latitude and longitude in those days in unbelievable.

CERN in Switzerland has a dancing Shiva (Nataraja) not without a reason. Although no world scientist has come out declaring info on Shiva, it is now public knowledge that Shiva could be behind Creation. Acknowledgement of Shiva by world community not by missionary activity or by the point of sword is the greatest victory for Hindu Dharma.

In Siva Puranam, we say, ‘Thennaadudaiya Sivane potri! Ennattavarkum Iraivaa Potri’ – it means : Hail Shiva who has the south. Hail Shiva who’s the One for any/every national.

The heart of Tamil Nadu and India are Hindu. The soul of India is Hindu. I felt this vibration of truth every moment during my temple tour of Kumbakonam-Mayavaram, the Tanjore district which is the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.

It is time to develop good Hindu hearted journalists from south India to take on the Burqa Sluts of north who like to rewrite history.

This is a rich country – green green everywhere. Soil is gold, the country is fertile. People are happy, devoted and family-oriented. No poverty at all. Contended lives. Temple and Shiva are way of life, part of life.

Yet, in front of a temple that i do not want to name in Kumbakonam, I heard 3 old men talking to each other in anguish. One was complaining that 2 muslim men had come to him asking him to convert to Islam. I was shell shocked. The men looked very troubled that this was happening in hinterland where Hindu Dharma is strongly rooted.

The peace and spirituality of the Tanjore belt still stays with me. Shiva’s breath is in the very air, you can almost feel it. Every single street has a Shiva temple almost. The population is literate and highly religious. Only a very devious dirty mind would want to destroy this heaven and invoke the devil’s ideology in this blessed home of mine.

One more thing: these temples come under respective Aadheenams. Ancient Hindu temples that are over 1000-2000 years old are hardly maintained. The temples have been taken over by the government as they are cash cows. But the Hindu devotees donations to the temples are used for Muslim and Christian welfare. Such an atrocity can happen only in a nation like India in the name of secularism and democracy. Some very ancient temples are in extremely bad shape (for instance there is notice board under a Vaitheeshwaran temple tower warning that the tower was expected to collapse any moment) and starved for funds. Wherever funds have become available, the restoration is done in a very crude manner defacing centuries old architecture and sculpture. For example almost all temples have their Gopura darshan from entrance blocked with ‘pandals’ for shade. The restorative works have smoothened and replaced the rough hewn unpolished granite with cheap marble or even bathroom wall tiles in many cases. Horrible varnishes and colourings. I felt such a rage at just looking at these so-called improvements. It goes without saying that the Aadheenams are corrupt to the core swindling public donations and getting fatter by the day, doing no good to the temples. For once I wished India was ruled by America or France or UK. The temples would be taken best care of. They will know the value. How long the temples are going to exist is a big question mark. How they are deliberately left to rot tears my heart.

The Tanjore belt may not be boasting of skyscrapers and super highways, but the general population brims with inner contentment, good health and happiness. The air is fresh, the pollution is least, nature rules. Art and music and very vibrant culture and spirituality run deep roots here – for millennia. This is Shiva’s country. Not the devil’s.


From → Dilli Durbar

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