….Continuation from the previous issue
After the great Sepoys’ mutiny in 1857, the Queen Victoria thought it wiser to keep the Indians in subjugation without protestation than to incur the displeasure and opposition of the Brahmins by unnecessarily interfering in our religious practices and introducing social reforms. Therefore, she gave the Indians a solemn undertaking in 1858 that her Government would not interfere in religious matters.
That was all right so long as the Britishers were here but would the policy of non-interference in religion continue after the advent of freedom for us? That was worrying the Brahmins. So, they conspired as to how to provide safeguards in the proposed constitution itself to protect their interests and to perpetuate their religious domination and hegemony. For, it is there that their very existence lies and that is the vital knot in the rope of their religious domination and no wonder they had been scheming for quite a long time how best to achieve it once we are granted independence. Agnigotram Thathachariar avers in his book that to achieve this end, this Chanrasekarendra Saraswathi Sankarachariar, who is here only for that purpose, is mainly responsible for enshrining in the Constitution certain sections (articles) to safeguard religious rights. He also gives the shocking story as to how assiduously he tried to include this section under the chapter of fundamental rights. Says he:-
“So, His Holiness had to work out schemes incessantly for the preservation of religion at those critical times when politics alone was all in all. But for his statesmanlike vision at the time of framing our Constitution the very important portion touching religious freedom and the maintenance of religious institutions which are now happily enshrined in our charter could not have been there at all”.
He says that but for the sustained efforts of Sankarachariar such of those provisions that relate to the religious safeguards would not have found their places in the Indian Constitution at all. For this, he continued his steadfast efforts not for one year or two, but for five long years. Says he:
“I wish in particular to bring to the notice of the enlightened people the silent and persevering work he put in this direction for not less than five full years”.
Sankarachariar is in such a sheltered position as to write in “The Hindu” notifying his opposition to the proposal of Mr. Veerappan, Minister in-charge of Hindu Religious Endowments not to bring the Chidambaram Temple under the control of the Department. He warned the Minister that he is trying to deny the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Is it not a well-known fact how he caught hold of a dozen Brahmins to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the State Legislation entitling all qualified persons to become temple priests irrespective of their castes and to get favourable judgement nullifying the legislation of a State Government? It is significant that the legislation was declared illegal by the Supreme Court under the same provision of the Constitution which Sankarachariar tried hard to have incorporated in it. Hence you will have to note how deeprooted is the caste system and what its history is. Can there be a conceivable nexus between the Sankarachariar, a spiritual head of a religious institution and the constitution of a country, a political instrument? Is there any such parallel in the history of any other country?
At a time when the Indian constitution was not even thought of, he declared at village Melur, beyond Aduthurai near Kumbakonam “Our religion will survive only if adequate safeguards are provided in our Constitution when it is framed.” This amply proves how obsessed he was with it, even when so such Indian constitution was contemplated. Even when the rule of the British had not ended, he had begun to feel that such petitions should be presented to the British Parliamentary delegation visiting India for preliminary talks. It can be seen from this how vigilant he was to safeguard religion in order to keep up the Brahmin domination. Agnigotram Thathachariar says “Except for the Head of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, all other Peetathipathis seemed to be in utter darkness about the delegation.”
“…but for the sustained efforts of Sankarachariar such of those provisions that relate to the religious safeguards would not have found their places in the Indian Constitution at all. For this, he continued his steadfast efforts not for one year or two, but for five long years.”
Other Peetathipathis did not care to know anything about the British Parliamentary delegation because they thought that they should not hobnob with politics. Though Sankarachariar wanted the delegation to be apprised of his desire, yet he was sceptical whether the highly placed delegation would deign to meet him at all. Therefore he arranged with his chelas to send thousands of telegrams to the delegation, which did not take any cognisance of them at all. Sending telegrams is a favourite game and art with the Brahmins. Even when the Postal Department decided to print and issue a special stamp to commemorate Periyar’s centenary celebrations, the despicable Brahmins sent innumerable telegrams in the name of umpteen organizations not to issue such a stamp. It came to light later that all those telegrams were sent under bogus addresses. The wonder of wonders was that not a single telegram was sent asking for the issue of such a special stamp because that is our special trait!
To continue the subject, (Sankarachariar desiring to meet the delegation) Agnigotram Thathachariar writes
“But somehow, His Holiness seemed to be optimistic and his optimism was indeed an enigma to us all. The fools we are! Quite unexpectedly, a telegram called me forthwith to Madras in connection with a different purpose. When I entered “The Hindu” office in Madras on quite a different errand(?) the late Kasturi Srinivasan, the then Editor of “The Hindu” sprang a surprise on me by telling me that the Parliamentary delegation would be visiting “The Hindu” office in the next few minutes”.
Being an empire by itself, “The Hindu” had extended an invitation to the Parliamentary delegation for a tea party, which had been accepted by them. There is a protocol that such a delegation cannot accept any invitation to a party offhand but that invitation had duly been processes through the Delhi Headquarters and a lot of spadework had been done by Sankarachariar’s men at various levels at various places to make the delegation agree to participate in the party arranged by the Hindu Editor Kasturi Srinivasan who could easily broach the matter that Sankarachariar wanted, to the delegation. This Agnigotram Thathachariar, who was quite unconnected (?) with this, also joined the party and got an opportunity to talk face to face to the delegation who had not cared to send even an acknowledgement of the innumerable telegrams engineered by them. He was duly introduced to the Secretary of the delegation by the Editor of “The Hindu” Mr. Kasturi Srinivasan.
to be continued in the next issue…