Hyderabad, 2-Jan-2019: Today is a sad day for the Temple System in our Country when we have failed in our duty to safe guard the rights of the Sabarimala Deity to practice his Naishtika Brahmacharya Vratam which he has undertaken to follow as a teacher leading by example to His male devotees. There is lot of frustration in the devotees but this is the time to remember that our ancestors had undergone worst times than this and had prevailed as pointed out by Swami Vivekananda
“Temple after temple was broken down by the foreign conqueror, but no sooner had the wave passed than the spire of the temple rose up again. Some of these old temples of South India, and those like Somnath in Gujarat, will teach you volumes of wisdom, which will give you a keener insight into the history of the race than any number of books. Mark how these temples bear the marks of a hundred attacks and a hundred regenerations, continually destroyed and continually springing up out of the ruins, rejuvenated and strong as ever! “
It is time for crores of Lord Ayyappa devotees to demand that the Central Government ensure that Hindu Deities are recognized as ‘Citizens’ so that no atheistic government nor the Supreme Court can ignore the rights of Hindu Deities in such a manner in future. The fact that Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji had in his interview said that the view of Justice Indu Malhotra in this regard is important gives hope. There is also a strong historical background to this demand: –
The Travancore covenant signed by Govt of India was with Lord Padmanabha Swamy Deity as the then Ruler made it clear to the Shri V.P. Menon and Sardar Patel that he was only acting on the behalf of the Deity as His servant Padmanabha Dasa.
The Rights and Privileges of all such Rulers including the Ruler of all Rulers Lord Padmanabha Swamy Deity was protected in our Constitution by the Constituent assembly as advised by Sardar Patel in his address to the Constituent Assembly.
On 9th Dec 1971 the Parliament passed the 26th amendment to the Constitution abolishing all the rights and privileges to the Rulers protected in the Constitution with an objective to treat all Rulers as Citizens. It is very unfortunate that the Parliament went back on the pledged word of our founding fathers. The spirit of our Constitution was to have ‘Rama Rajya’ and the principle of Rama Rajya is ‘रघुकुल रीत सदा चली आई प्राण जाए पर वचन न जाई’ i.e. keeping once vow is more important than life.
Only Shri Dahyabhai Patel son of Shri Sardar Patel dissented in the Parliament “I feel that I should oppose the Bill because I feel that the Government of India is going back on an assurance that it has given and an undertaking that it has undertaken very solemnly. Government of India did this with open eyes and to repudiate it unilaterally is something which is not only repugnant, but I think immoral too. That is the reason why I wish to oppose it.”
The then Hon’ble Law Minister in reply said “I heard only a single and lone voice, that of my friend, Mr. Dahyabhai Patel, striking a different note.
Do we not know that in the last elections we went to the polls asking for a specific mandate on this issue? And I wonder whether there was any other issue which was more prominently placed before the people than this issue that we will abolish the privy purses or other privileges of the rulers. And is there any doubt about the mandate that the people gave? The mandate is so unequivocal, is so clear, is so much leaving things beyond doubt that there is no question that what we are really doing today is that we are really fulfilling and carrying out our duty in obeying the mandate of the people.
It is fact of history that the people of India in 1971 were not appraised of the fact that we are going back on our pledged word to a Deity who is one of the forms of Lord Shri Ram and if this was explained then the mandate would have been different.
The Supreme Court in 1993 judgement did not go into the morality aspect and upheld the 26th amendment of the Constitution approving the statement of objects of the amendment as “The distinction between the erstwhile Rulers and the citizenry of India has to be put an end to so as to have a common brotherhood”
It is clear that by the 26th amendment of the Constitution the status of Lord Padmanabha Swamy Deity has been equated to a Citizen as it was the case for all other Rulers and by operation of Art 14 all the other Hindu Deities have got the status as a Citizen thus their fundamental rights cannot be ignored by the Courts or by State Governments.
The Supreme Court judgement that the Sabarimala Deity does not have fundamental rights and hence the will of Deity does not matter is in violation of the established principles in the Privy Council judgements which are so far being followed by Supreme Court and Kerala High Court. Also, this judgement is in violation of the nine-judge bench judgement in State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. v. Commercial Tax Officer and Ors which has held that rights under Art 14, Art 21, Art 25 etc. are available to Deities (juristic persons as well). Further it did not consider the above history which grants fundamental rights of citizens to all Hindu Deities.
In view of the above Temples Protection Movement on behalf of crores of Hindu devotees request the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to take immediate steps to declare that all Hindu Deities have fundamental rights of Citizens in our Constitution and also take suitable steps to ensure the pledged word through the Travancore covenant to Lord Padmanabha Swamy Deity Ruler of Rulers is restored which was taken away by the 26th amendment of the Constitution through an immoral Act. This will be the true prayaschitta for the sin committed today in Sabarimala Temple.
Dr. M.V. Soundararajan
(Convenor for Temples Protection Movement)
2-2-647/77/D, Srinivasa Nagar Colony,
Ph: 27425640, 9885100614