Tamil Nadu is known as the Land of Temples. Nearly 33,000 ancient temples, many over a 1000 years old, are found scattered all over the State. As per Tamil Nadu Hindu Endowments Board, there are 38615 temples.
Since 1967, Godless Dravidianism and lumpen ‘rationalism’ have pillaged and plundered these magnificent monuments. Usurped their lands, their water tanks, and their wealth.
The unlettered vandals neither realise nor respect the fact that the language, literature, poetry, music, and dance of the Tamils, and society itself, are intimately tied to these temples.
As in Uttiramerur, the temples are a priceless source or record of every aspect of the lives and times of not just the deities and the rulers but of common people and how they ordered their lives.
The sorry saga of state control of temples’ affairs began long before 1967, in colonial times. But the Dravidian vulgarians have in all but name visited as much desecration and ruin on Tamil Nadu’s temples as Muslim armies from the northwest a 1000+ years ago.
Only since 2014 have there been the first stirrings of hope to slow, if not reverse, this tragedy. Subramaniam Swamy and H. Raja, ex MLA and national secretary of the BJP, have led a long, uphill struggle against many odds, and continue to do so.
All Indians, Hindu or not, should get to see some of Tamil Nadu’s magnificent temples. I have traveled all over India, visited beautiful temples everywhere. Tamil Nadu’s temples are among the grandest architecturally, I have no hesitation in saying that.
Ram Ramkumar, the author, is in the US since 1986, now in Seattle. He is a JNU alumnus and works as a consultant at Microsoft. He visits India regularly and follows Indian politics closely. Formerly he was with SBI (Bhopal Circle), RBI Madras, Federal Reserve Board Washington (bank analyst). His father was a 3-term Congress MP from Madras, and a close associate of Kamaraj.