Subtly rubbishing the Allahabad High Court's Ayodhya verdict, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has said that the Aryan civilisation that tried to upstage the Dravidian race was keen to inculcate irrational beliefs in the people (“Rama's birthplace traced, but not Raja Raja's memorial,” Oct. 4 ). But he himself is harping on the Aryan-Dravidian myth. At the World Tamil Conference in Coimbatore, Professor Asko Parpola demolished the Aryan-Dravidian theory. A collaborative genetic study by Harvard and Indian scientists showed that there is no Aryan-Dravidian race divide. There are also archaeological evidences to prove the falsity of the Aryan invasion theory.
The confirmation of Lord Ram's birthplace in the Allahabad High Court verdict is based on popular belief and faith. As for Raja Raja Chola, there exists a belief that his body was interred in a village called Odayalur in Thanjavur. It is said that a Siva Linga stands over it even today. It is situated very near his birthplace, Pazhayarai. Applying the same yardstick as in the Allahabad judgment, Mr. Karunanidhi could take cognisance of this belief and construct a memorial there. I understand that a few books have substantiated the popular belief.
My father was born and brought up in Udayalur. I remember hearing as a child that Raja Raja's samadhi was in Udayalur. A few years ago, I went there but many people were ignorant of any such samadhi. Finally an elderly man guided me there. It was a hut in which a small lingam stood half immersed in mud, with a small pandal over it. The family living in the hut said it was where Raja Raja Chola was buried: the family was maintaining it for generations. It was a pathetic sight, the great emperor's samadhi surrounded by cows and cow-dung.
How far this is true should be explored. I am of the view that in Tamil culture only saints were buried, while kings were cremated. That is why we do not have any burial memorials of Tamil kings including Pandyas, Cheras and Pallavas. I have photographs of Raja Raja Chola's samadhi. I also have photographs of the samadhi of Ottakuthar, a contemporary of Kambar: this is another dilapidated structure.
Ram's birthplace has been identified and accepted by the Allahabad High Court on the basis of the faith and belief of millions of Hindus through the ages, not on historical or empirical evidence. The details of Raja Raja's death and memorial can be easily identified through scientific and historical investigations. The Chief Minister's diatribe against Aryans is unwarranted. Dravidian culture is certainly distinct. So is Aryan culture. But the twain does meet at several points in history.
Colonel C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),
The litigants have chosen to remain calm and started to evaluate the Ayodhya verdict in a sane manner. Even die-hard Muslims and Hindus have, instead of playing the communal card, started feeling the need for an amicable and mutual agreement outside of the courts. The politicians who have been thriving on vote bank politics by appeasing Muslims while not harbouring any heartfelt sympathy for them, feel let down. They are now afraid that Muslims might lose faith in them. Their disappointment is evident from utterances by politicians, including the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. In his own inimitable style, he has invoked the now-dead Dravidian and Lemuria theory. Mr. Karunanidhi has rendered long years of service to Tamil Nadu. But has he ever ordered any research into the history of the Chola kingdom, particularly Raja Raja Chola? Is there any dispute pending anywhere regarding the king's birthplace or date of birth?
It is important to understand the views of two intellectuals, Professor Romila Thapar and Mr. Karunanidhi. Professor Thapar wrote: “Hindus deeply revere Rama as a deity, but can this support a legal decision on claims to a birthplace, possession of land and the deliberate destruction of a major historical monument to assist in acquiring the land?”
Mr. Karunanidhi said that “Rama is said to have been born in Kritha Yuga, which covers 17,28,000 years. Now the birthplace of Rama, born about 17 lakh years ago, has been confirmed by the judgment” adding that it was a matter of regret that neither the details of Raja Raja's death, nor the place where he was buried and the site where a pillar was erected in his memory could be traced.
The common person can conclude that henceforth the Indian Constitution will not be the point of reference; stories-based verdicts will rule. The Allahabad court's panchayat-style judgment has clearly opened the way to them.
I am neither an atheist nor a bigot. It is unfortunate that Mr. Karunanidhi does not understand legal procedure. Justice D.V. Sharma of the Allahabad High Court has given his finding on an “issue” in a lawsuit after carefully perusing voluminous evidence and hearing counsel for both sides. The Judge is enjoined to give his finding on every issue in a suit. If Mr. Karunanidhi is keen to obtain a judicial verdict on Raja Raja Chola's memorial, he can file a suit in a court of law and adduce evidence. His derisive reference to the verdict of Mr. Justice Sharma on the birthplace of Lord Ram wounds Hindu susceptibilities.
P.V. Ramana Rao,
It is said that whereas a statesman thinks about the next generation, the politician is concerned only about the next election. When the Ayodhya verdict was announced, one felt gladdened by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's statesman-like reaction. But, soon the politician in him seems to have got the better of him. One can understand Mr. Karunanidhi's flip-flop. With elections to the State Assembly approaching, he has made good use of an opportunity, in the hope of getting into the good books of the minority community.
Mr. Karunanidhi's argument bears some element of reality. The judiciary is believed to be the fount of wisdom, which can rely mostly on evidence and material findings. The judges of the Allahabad High Court relied on myths rather than solving the issue on the basis of material evidence. It has never been proved by archaeological findings that Ayodhya is the exact birthplace of Ram. It is largely a belief, which cannot be mixed up with logical reasoning while delivering a judicial verdict.