Category Archives: madras

Blasphemous evangelical distortions – B. R. Haran


“It must be noted that in most of the schools run by the various Christian denominations, Hindu students—who obviously are more in number—are not allowed to sport tilaks on their forehead and girl students are not allowed to have flowers on their heads. Last year a boy was reprimanded and sent out by the management of a Christian school in Chennai city for having applied mehendi in his palms. … In another school in Dindigul, some boys, who were fasting for Sabarimala pilgrimage, were allowed to write their examinations only after having a haircut and removing their tulasi malas. In certain schools Bible is being taught and the Hindu students are forced to attend such classes. The parent community is also aware of these kinds of tortures undergone by their wards, but they prefer to keep quiet in the fear that their wards’ education would be affected.” – B.R. Haran


Kapaleeswara Temple looking at Rajagopram from the inside courtyard.


A Tamil weekly magazine (14 November 2008) has reported the following in its latest issue:

“On Friday 24 October, the devotees of the world-famous Sri Kapalishwarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai were literally shocked when they were given five booklets each containing defamatory write-ups about Hinduism, Vedas, Vedic heritage, Hindu Shastras, Hindu culture & tradition, Sabarimala Ayyappan and denigrating articles on Sage Thirumoolar, Nayanmars and others, by a bunch of mean-minded Christian evangelists just in front of the temple entrance! For example, in the book titled Light in Darkness, it is written that, the word ‘sadhaa’ in the verse ‘Sadhaa Shivaaya’ means ‘forever’ and there is only one God, who blesses and takes care of this world forever, and he is ‘Jesus’ and the verse ‘Sadhaa Shivaaya’ denotes only him! All the five books are said to have contained more defamatory stories about Hindu Gods and religious gurus. Many people have called up this magazine and sent mails to it giving complete details about what happened in front of the temple that day.”

Incidentally, the Santhome Cathedral stands on the ruins of the original Kapaleeswarar Temple, which was destroyed by the Portuguese invaders and now the evangelical invaders are trying to destroy the Hindu culture and religion in front of this reconstructed Kapaleeswarar Temple.

This outrageous incident has brought out the following facts:

The evangelists have made bold to distribute blasphemous literatures and conduct a hate-campaign against Hinduism, that too in front of a very famous historic temple.

The minority appeasement policies of a “minority” government, which openly said that it is committed to the welfare of minorities, and its anti-majority stand have emboldened these evangelists to indulge in this kind of illegal activity.

The policemen who have been posted near the temple for security—Mylapore temple is under terror threat—have turned a blind eye to this venomous act, probably due to fear motivation from the “minority” government or money motivation from the evangelists.

The Hindus have just exposed their dhimmitude by remaining passive without acting against those evangelists. Sadly, not even one devotee has exhibited the courage to lodge a police complaint against them. The traders near the temple have not bothered to drive away those Christian rapscallions. Certainly the number of devotees must have easily outnumbered those evangelists and they must have caught them with their collars and taken them to the Mylapore police station. Instead of doing all this, some people have written to this particular weekly magazine.

Similarly, in Coimbatore, on 24 September, five staff of Chennai-based East Coast Christian Matriculation School have been arrested by the police for distributing blasphemous literatures propagating Christianity and degrading Hindu Gods and engaging in evangelisation. The police action has been prompted by the complaint given by the local people belonging to BJP and Hindu Makkal Katchi, who caught those evangelists and took them to the nearby police station. Ironically those evangelists have asked the students (most of them are Hindus) to distribute those pamphlets and the innocent students have obeyed the order out of fear. This has been done while taking the students on an excursion (study tour) to Ooty. If this is the way study tours are conducted by a Christian school, one can imagine the standard of education imparted by it.

In this context, it must be noted that in most of the schools run by the various Christian denominations, Hindu students (who obviously are more in number) are not allowed to sport tilaks on their forehead and girl students are not allowed to have flowers on their heads. Last year a boy was reprimanded and sent out by the management of a Christian school in Chennai city for having applied mehendi in his palms. His parents were made to run from pillar to post to reinstate him. In another school in Dindigul, some boys, who were fasting for Sabarimala pilgrimage, were allowed to write their examinations only after having a haircut and removing their tulasi malas. In certain schools Bible is being taught and the Hindu students are forced to attend such classes. The parent community is also aware of these kinds of tortures undergone by their wards, but they prefer to keep quiet in the fear that their wards’ education would be affected.

Recently in a church in Kakkan Nagar, in the Ambedkar slum dwellings of Adambakkam, a Chennai suburb, the pastor, during morning prayers, had openly ridiculed the practice of abhishekam of Amman deities saying that “they are nude and naked worships performed with an erotic motive.” As the pastor was addressing a group of “converts”, his blasphemous speech was heard by the slum dwellers through loud speakers. A Hindu woman, who was drawing drinking water from a nearby municipal water-pump, got outraged by the blasphemous speech, threw out the water from her vessel and filled it with gutter from the nearby ditch and threw it inside the Church. Only then the Hindu men realised the seriousness of the issue and reportedly damaged the window panes of the church. The pastor lodged a police complaint and the police promptly booked those Hindus, who damaged the window panes, and the pastor, who was the real culprit as per the law of the land, went scot-free!

These incidents may look like isolated due to the fact that the Hindus rarely exhibit courage to take on those evangelists, but these strategies adopted by the Church and missionaries are a regular phenomenon going on for years in the state. Mariamman and Aiyappan are two deities which attract millions of devotees, particularly the Scheduled Castes, as evidenced by the Sabarimala pilgrimage and Melmaruvathur pilgrimage. Since the SCs are the targeted audience of the evangelists, the churches come out with literatures, pamphlets and books denigrating Goddess Amman and Swami Ayyappan and ridiculing their worship.


Mu. Deivanayagam


An evangelist by name Dr. Deivanayagam has founded an organisation by name Diravida Aanmeega Iyakkam (Movement of Dravidian Spiritualism) to spread the concept of “Thomas Christianity”, in the name of “Aadhi Christhuvam” (Early Christianity). Through this concept, he attempts to project Shaivism and Vishnavism as sub-sects of Christianity. He wrote a book titled Vivliyam (Bible), Thirukkural, Saiva Siddantham—Oppu Ayvu (Comparative Research) and published it in 1985-86 and has been steadfastly campaigning on this concept since then. Very recently, he convened Agila Ulaga Dravida Samaya Maanaadu (International Dravidian Spiritual Conference) under the aegis of Mylapore Diocese, in which the following blasphemous distortions were projected as researched facts:

Aadhi Christhuvam (Early Christianity) was promulgated and established in Tamilnadu by St. Thomas is the original religion of the Tamils.

The Aryan invaders distorted Thomas Christianity and conceived new concepts called Shaivism and Vaishnavism and hence they must be treated as the sub-sects of Thomas Christianity.

The “holy trinity” of “Father-Son-Holy-Spirit” is denoted by “Shiva-Muruga-Shakti” and the same is also denoted by “Brahmma-Vishnu-Rudran”.

The “holy trinity” concept has beautified the Indian religions. The “Holy-Spirit-Father” combination can be identified with “Arthanareeswarar” and “Sankaranarayanar” formations.

St. Thomas’s teachings were abounding in Thirukkural and Sage Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St. Thomas.

Many such blasphemous distortions were presented in the conference. Close on the heels of the conference the inauguration of the Rs 50 crore production of a movie on St. Thomas was also conducted. The chief guest of the inauguration was none other than the Tamilnadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, who waxed eloquent on the “supposed” history of St. Thomas, despite having excellent knowledge on Thiruvalluvar and Thirukkural. Dr. Deivanayagam has recently released a book titled Thiruneeraa, Siluvaiya? (Sacred Ash? Or the Cross?), in which, he has again brought out blasphemous distortions. A few examples are given below:

The Hindu practice of applying sacred ash on the forehead has actually started from Ash Wednesday the first day of the penance (Lent days). The sacred ash comprises within it all the three stages of death, resurrection and pardon due to the fact that the ash cannot be destroyed, as how the resurrected body cannot be destroyed.

When Vaishnavism got separated from Shaivism, the style of applying sacred ash was changed from horizontal pattern to vertical pattern.

Shiva is supposed to have given his left half to Shakti. If that left half is worshipped as woman, it becomes Shaivism and if the same is worshipped as man it becomes Vaishnavism.

Thiruneetru Pathigam, a collection of Shaivite hymns sung by sage Thirugnana Sambandhar comprises a number of messages of Christianity.

All Shaivite literatures namely Thirumurai, Thevaram, Thiruvasagam and Thirupathigam do not talk about the four Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Also, as they carry the messages of Christ, the Bible is the only Veda.

All these things go to show that a sustained campaign has been going on for years and the momentum keeps on increasing with foreign aids and local support. The Dravidian political parties, which are bent on alienating the Tamils from the Hindu fold, have been aiding and abetting these anti-Hindu forces and this unholy nexus between them is creating havoc in the society. Though the religious gurus are deeply concerned about the speedy developments in this area of evangelisation and the alarming rate of conversion going on in the state, they feel helpless and fear the Dravidian rulers. So, the onus lies purely on political and social Hindu organisations to take legal action against persons like Deivanayagam and their organisations for destroying the Hindu cultural heritage and religious traditions posing a danger to communal harmony.

Evangelisation has gone beyond the limits of tolerance by abusing the constitutional provisions for freedom of religion and the general public must also be aware of their moral responsibility to act against those who indulge in blasphemy against their religion and the government machineries must also act as per the rule of law. – News Today, 11 November, 2008


Jesus Christ Book Cover


The Deccan Chronicle Deceits – Ishwar Sharan


“Journalists have a vested interest in ignorance.” – George Bernard Shaw


For the note on the early Christian FISH SYMBOL and their later adoption of the CROSS as an identifying mark, scroll to the bottom of the page.


T. V. R.DC headerDeccan Chronicle Editor R. Mohan: Balls and no brains!


The Deccan Chronicle is South India’s largest circulation pro-Christian newspaper and the newest proponent in Chennai of the St. Thomas in India fable (following The Hindu and The New Indian Express). It is a popular newspaper that depends entirely on Hindu subscriptions for its existence, and therefore must hide its anti-Brahmin, pro-Catholic agenda. This is done by promoting anti-Hindu views covertly from behind a columnist’s byline or by publishing the provocative statements of the local San Thome Cathedral priest. The priest, who cannot distinguish between his beliefs and real Indian history, declares: ”The existence of the San Thome Church is a proof by itself that Christianity in India is more than 2000 years old” (Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 8 April 2007).

The San Thome Cathedral pastor is alluding to the St. Thomas in India legend and the claim that the apostle St. Thomas established Christianity in South India in 54 AD. The story is accepted tradition among Christians in Kerala. It is also a classic Christian persecution and martyrdom myth that was invented to malign and demoralise Christianity’s religious opponents. Christians have vilified Jews for 2000 years by blaming them for the murder of their god, and Christians have vilified Hindus for centuries by claiming that a Brahmin priest or Hindu king in Mylapore murdered St. Thomas. Both ancient communities, Jews and Brahmins — the latter being the custodians of Hindu culture — can thereafter be charged with deicide and subjected to the most wicked abuse and overt attempts to exterminate their religion and culture.[1] The mainstream media in India subscribes to this vicious communal agenda and promotes the fable in its columns at regular intervals though it has been aware of the legend’s falsehood and malefic intent for at least twenty years. This is inexcusable by any universal standard but gives a revealing insight into the nature of secular democracy and freedom of speech in India today. Hindus have no voice in the English-language print media and have become second class citizens in their own motherland. In states like Tamil Nadu they are virtually a disenfranchised people and under constant attack by an atheistic, racist government that overtly supports the foreign-financed Christian missions and NGOs that work in the state to alienate the Tamil people from their ancient civilization.

The Deccan Chronicle’s current resident editor in Chennai is cricket commentator R. Mohan, a self-righteous secularist of the Nehruvian school who assiduously follows the Christian practice of treating Hindu history as mythology and Christian mythology as history. In true Indian secularist fashion he does not tolerate dissent and letters sent to the editor concerning the lies and distortions that appear in Deccan Chronicle articles are neither acknowledged or published. Every effort is made by Mohan and his correspondents to provoke and insult Hindu readers and undermine their Hindu identity. This culturally subversive activity is called “freedom of the press” in our secular socialist India that is Bharat.

Chairman Reddy and resident house boy Mohan regard criticism of themselves and their “eminent” contributors — many of them foreigners based in London and New York — as a manifestation of Hindu communalism and ignorance. Indeed, dissent can attract a very spiteful response from Mohan Sahib (as this writer knows from experience). Yet both of these clever media men, whose decisions influence the opinions of half a million readers and more every day, will ignore facts and figures as extraneous irritants except where the facts and figures can be employed in subtle Hindu-bashing exercises[2] or otherwise to whitewash the bigoted, violent and licentious history of Islam and Christianity in India.

What follows is a collection of short items that are related to the St. Thomas legend, that appeared in the Deccan Chronicle in 2008. The items. called “name-stake” items with photos were published to establish the Christian ownership of the places they describe. The truth that all the places described once had Hindu temples on them until the Portuguese arrived, is thus negated and erased in the public mind.


Little Mount Church built 1551 AD by the Portuguese.


Little Mount

It is also called Chinna Malai, and is a little before St. Thomas Mount. There are two churches here, which are associated with the legends of the Apostle of India—Our Lady of Health Church and Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The annual festival at Our Lady of Health is a noteworthy event in the Madras calendar. – Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 16 July 2008

Ishwar Sharan responds: The appellation “Apostle of India” for St. Thomas is a recent Roman Catholic invention conceived in 1953 when Cardinal Eugene Tisserant brought a piece of St. Thomas arm bone from Ortona to Kodungallur for a shrine. Prior to this date St. Francis Xavier held the title Apostle of India. Prof. Leonardo Olschki, a world authority on Christianity, writes, “The Nestorians of India [Syrian Christians] … venerated St. Thomas as the patron of Asiatic Christianity—mark, not of Indian Christianity”.

There are four places in Madras and its environs, other than San Thome, that the Portuguese associated with St. Thomas. The first is a rocky hillock called Little Mount, four miles southwest of Mylapore, on the south bank of the Adyar at Saidapet. Fr. Herman D’Souza, in In the Steps of St. Thomas, writes, “Hoary tradition among Catholics and non-Catholics … proudly holds that this part of [Madras] extended shelter to the Apostle, when the ministers of the local king, Mahadevan, were out to murder him…. The favorite of the king, Thomas was ever in danger of losing his precious life—thanks to the scheming ministers whipped up by Hindu priests…. There is a version that the Apostle was actually handled brutally more than once in his apartment, in the absence of the king. In order to save his life for yet a little while for the greater glory of God, Thomas is reported to have sought refuge in the jungle of Little Mount.”

This sly communal tale, invented by Jesuits and improved on by Fr. D’Souza, is peculiar to Madras [and still published by the San Thome Diocesan Press in Chennai]. He tries to establish Hindu support for the story, by quoting Hindu publications that repeat it. But Hindu traditions about Little Mount and other “St. Thomas” sites are quite different and much older than those of the Portuguese. They believe that the hillock, with its cave and spring and imprint of peacock’s feet in the rock, was sacred to Murugan, and Hindu women used to visit the site even after the Portuguese had cleared it of Hindu shrines. In 1551, a church was built by the cave, called Our Lady of Health, and the Jesuits built a second church by the spring. Nothing remains of these buildings today, and the archaeological evidence on the site was destroyed years ago when it was blasted to make way for the modern church that now stands there.

St. Thomas had to leave Little Mount when the king’s men found him in the cave. He fled to Big Mount [St. Thomas Mount], two miles further south, by a secret underground passage. But Big Mount did not offer refuge either. Fr. D’Souza writes, “His murderers sought him there and were on the point of seizing him. How long St. Thomas made his abode on top of the hill, one cannot say. Unbroken tradition maintains that while the Apostle was praying before a cross carved by him on a stone, an assassin suborned by King Mahadevan’s priest and ministers, crept up stealthily and pierced him with a lance from behind. Thereupon the Apostle is reported to have fallen on the stone cross and embraced it; his blood crimsoned the stone cross and the space around. Thus did he seal his Apostolate with his blood, even as the other Apostles, save St. John…. His disciples took his body to [Mylapore] … and interred it at his dear old place, about the year AD 68.”

This rendition of the fable has no equivalent in Malabar and no relationship to the account in the Acts of Thomas, though it does have in it the priest and the lance found in the Portuguese De Miraculous Thomae. There is no record that Mylapore had a temporal king of any name in 68 CE—the date first appeared on a memorial plaque in San Thome Cathedral in the eighteenth century and was afterwards incorporated into the story. But as is the case with many historical fabrications, it contains an element of truth and this gives the fictional parts credibility. Mahadevan is a reference to Lord Shiva, who was of course the King of Mylapore in the first century CE, even as He is the King of Mylapore today.


Santhome Cathedral


Town of Thomas

At the south end of Marina is San Thome, today a part of Mylapore. With its inspiring Basilica on a site where for 19 continuous centuries has stood some church or other. Just before the Basilica on this road is the former palace of the Maharaja of Mysore, now hidden behind formidable gates. Here live the representatives of Russia. – Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 1 September 2008

Ishwar Sharan responds: The article above is a continuation of the Deccan Chronicle’s policy of prostituting Indian history to further its pro-Catholic agenda. Telling lies for Jesus—or in this case for his brother Thomas—has never been a problem of ethics for newspaper chairmen or editors who are born with Hindu names but who willingly sell their Hindu mothers down the river for a few dinars. The Deccan Chronicle and Asian Age are said to be owned by a Saudi Arabian company. There is no contradiction here between an Arab-owned Indian newspaper and its pro-Catholic agenda, as both Muslims and Christians and their secular Indian front men are willing to work together for the total annihilation of Hindu religion and culture.

Historically, the first Christian church to appear on the Mylapore beach was built in 1523 by Augustinian friars beside the new tomb of “St. Thomas” that had been dug and seeded with bones and other material brought from Goa by Albuquerque’s attendant Diogo Fernandez.

Earlier, in 1521–22, the Portuguese had opened two tombs in the Shiva temple’s northern precincts. One tomb contained a “black” skeleton, which, according to its inscription, belonged to a Chola king. The Portuguese nevertheless “identified” him as being a disciple of St. Thomas (as today Catholic historians “identify” Tiruvalluvar as being a disciple of St. Thomas). The second tomb revealed a “white” skeleton, which, naturally, “belonged” to the white Jew Thomas. This second skeleton was sent to Goa for verification—where it languishes till today, unsung and unrecognised.

As these diggings did not produce the required result, Diogo Fernandez was asked, in 1523, to excavate a third tomb which lay partly under the foundation of a dilapidated temple building that had been occupied by the Portuguese. He refused at first but was persuaded by the attending priest, Fr. Antonio Gil, who heard his confession and that of the two men, Braz Fernandez and Diogo Lourenco, who would assist him in the pious enterprise. They then began the excavation of a deep and elaborate, and very much empty, tomb. It was Saturday afternoon, and they continued the work into the late evening, when, on the suggestion of Diogo Fernandez, they abandoned their unproductive labours and retired for the night. The excavation was left open and unattended until the next morning, a Sunday, when the men began digging again. It was not long now before the grave disgorged bones that were “much worn out”, portions of skull and spine, and a clay pot of earth “bedewed with blood”, with a thigh bone in it, and hidden in the red earth an iron Malabar spearhead shaped like an olive leaf, which, after fifteen Christian centuries, still had a piece of wooden shaft miraculously preserved in its socket.

This church, originally built in 1523 and called San Thome or San Thome de Meliapore, was subsequently enlarged and extended, and the encroachment on the Kapaleeswara Temple began in earnest. The Christians had done this before, building a church against a temple wall and then slowing taking over the temple, and that the Shiva temple survived as long as it did, up to 1566 according to some authorities, is grand testimony to the patient and courageous resistance the Hindus of Mylapore had put up against this ruthless Catholic power.


Pius XII & Adolf Hitler


In 1606 the Pope, at the request of the King of Portugal, made San Thome de Meliapore into a diocese independent of Goa. The church was extended again and became the seat of a bishop, but, in 1893, this building was demolished by the bishop and the present Gothic cathedral put up in its place. It was completed and consecrated in 1896. In 1952 the archdiocese of Madras and Mylapore was constituted, and in 1956, after much lobbying by the Indian hierarchy, Pope Pius XII raised the status of San Thome to that of a minor basilica. This church dignity is of no consequence but it affords the archbishop some minor liturgical privileges.

Diogo Fernandez’s “St. Thomas” relics still remain in the church today. The iron spearhead and piece of skull are kept in a monstrance, along with the relics of St. Francis Xavier, St. Isabella, St. Vincentio and the Martyrs of Morocco. The first “St. Thomas” tomb, which contained the “white” skeleton that was sent to Goa, is empty and ignored, but the second “St. Thomas” tomb has recently been renovated and refurbished at great expense and a new life-size plaster idol of a “sleeping” Thomas still clutching the spear that killed him lies on top of it and is pointed out to pilgrims and tourists. It contains the remainder of Diogo Fernandezs “findings”, the pieces of spine and thigh bone, and, presumably, the pot of “blood-bedewed” earth.

Yet this is not the end of the bones at San Thome. The cathedral also has in its possession a piece of Church-certified Ortona bone, which it obtained from Cardinal Tisserant in 1953, after he had deposited the apostle’s right arm at Kodungallur. The pastor of San Thome can now say with some pride that he is the keeper of a real St. Thomas bone—keeping in mind that the acceptance of the Ortona gift is also an admission that the Portuguese relics in his care are not those of St. Thomas.


Big Mount church.


Serene Mount Beckons – George Adimathra

Chennai and its suburbs are replete with heritage sites such as the Tiruneermalai Vishnu temple (6th century), Tiruvottriyur Adipureeswarar temple (8th century), Kovalam Thameemun Ansari Dargha (7th century) and the St. Thomas Mount near the Chennai airport.

It is believed that St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, died on the mount in AD 72 (first century), which makes it one of the oldest heritage sites in Chennai and also one of the oldest Christian sites in the world.

Believed to be one of the first Christians to reach India and preach Christianity in a country dominated by Hindus, St. Thomas was assassinated and the site where he was martyred came to be known as St. Thomas Mount.

People of various religions visit the holy shrine, negotiating the 160 steps built by Armenian merchant Choja Bedros Woskan leading to the top with 14 “stations of the cross” erected along the way. At the summit stands the church built by the Portuguese with its altar located at the very spot where St. Thomas breathed his last.

There are relics too, among which is the “Bleeding Cross” chiseled by the Apostle himself. The cross, which is said to “bleed” periodically, is believed to have been in the hands of the Apostle while he lay dying.

The oil painting of the Madonna, believed to be one of the seven painted by St. Luke, the evangelist, and brought to India by St. Thomas is placed above the altar.

This is considered to be the oldest Christian painting in India.

The place is also ideal for picnics [and romantic encounters if the warning notices placed by the resident nuns are to be believed].

The metropolis, spread all around the hillock, seems a distant dream land.

However the calm is shattered by the scream of the aircraft taking off or landing at the airport nearby. – Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 24 November 2008

Ishwar Sharan responds: The Deccan Chronicle in this article continues its St. Thomas deceits, this time with a by-line to absolve the editor of the crime of knowingly misleading the reading public with communal propaganda. Some bits and pieces of Hindu archaeology are thrown in with the express purpose of making the alleged Christian site—St. Thomas Mount—the older/oldest place of pilgrimage. This is in accord with the current Catholic “inculturational” programme of making the great Tamil Shaivite saint Tiruvalluvar a disciple of St. Thomas. According to the Mylapore archbishop and his spin doctor Deivanayakam, Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta and the Tamil bhakti movement are a by-product of the Christianity that St. Thomas brought to India and taught to Tiruvalluvar—Christianity being the “original” religion of the Tamils. It is all humbug of course, a wicked plan set in motion by wicked priests with the express purpose of undermining the cultural and religious integrity of Hindu society. If the Indian bishops succeed in destroying the Tamil Hindu identity and then appropriating the Tamil ethnic identity for Christianity, they will be well on the way of conquering India for Christ and of gaining recognition in Rome. Recognition by the Pope and Roman Curia is what the Indian bishops crave even more than the power and pelf they already enjoy in India with government support. The late Mylapore archbishop Arulappa admitted as much when his little scam to forge historical documents relating to St. Thomas in India was uncovered.[3] Forging religious artifacts and historical documents is a very old Christian pastime, and it is therefore not surprising to find Indian bishops and their “secular” minions at the Deccan Chroniclecontinuing the “pious” practice in 2008, by attempting to rewrite the religious history of the Tamil people.


R. Arulappa


The late archbishop of Mylapore, Dr. R. Arulappa, in Punitha Thomayar, asserts that Big Mount (St. Thomas Mount) was originally called Brungi (Bhrigu) Malai and was the seat of the Hindu sage Brungi Rishi until St. Thomas came and chased him away. This story, like the one above, is another piece of fiction that has at its core a little truth. The hill was sacred to Brungi Rishi, as the Tamils call Bhrigu Rishi, and it is the Portuguese who chased the “rishi” away, not St. Thomas. The Shiva temple associated with the rishi was destroyed around 1545, when they gained effective control of the hill, which was the highest in the area and the southern limit of their territory. Portuguese historians describe it as being crowded with ruins then, and broken temple stones could still be found on its slopes in 1995, on the south and west side.

The Portuguese had begun to settle around Big Mount as early as 1523 — the same year they “discovered” the tomb of “St. Thomas” — and one of the first to take up residence there was Diogo Fernandez. He would succeed in erecting a small chapel on the hill before 1545, but the construction of the church, called Our Lady of Expectation, did not commence until 1547. It was built on the east — west alignment of the temple foundation — the ancient granite base of the flag pole is on the eastern side of the church (and now covered over with asphalt since the publication of our book) — but the Portuguese reversed this order in keeping with established Christian practice when building on a Pagan site, and the church entrance is on the western side. In 1707, the building was extended by an Armenian merchant and the royal arms of Portugal were added to the facade of the main porch.


Persian cross dated to the 7th-8th century.


It was when clearing the rubble for the church, in 1547, that the Portuguese “discovered” the famous Persian “St. Thomas” cross in the temple foundation. Diogo Fernandez is not implicated in this fraud, but the Vicar of San Thome, Fr. Gaspar Coelho, and the Captain of the Coromandel, Gabriel de Athaide, are, as the construction was under their direct supervision. What is known for certain is that St. Thomas did not carve this cross — it is dated to the eighth century, like its counterparts in Kerala — and as a cross it did not originate on Big Mount. The inscription around it is in Pahlavi (Persian) and the sculptor has signed his name as Afras the Syrian. It was kept inside the church behind the altar, and used to “bleed” at irregular intervals up to 1704. This phenomenon stopped as soon as the sensible and schismatic British began to move into the area and build a cantonment.[4]


Virgin Mary & Child: There are at least seven icons of the Theotokos attributed to St. Luke scattered around the world. The first one appeared in the 5th century in Palestine and was sent to Constantinople.


The other “St. Thomas” relic in the church is a brightly coloured icon of Mary and the child Jesus. It is said to have been painted by St. Luke and brought to India by St. Thomas, who wore it on his breast as a scapular or badge of mission. In fact, it does not appear in Portuguese records until 1559, and the diverse stories that go with it were invented after this date.[5]

The church also has paintings of all the Apostles and of St. Thomas and his Hindu assassin. One of them, on the reredos of the altar, depicts an Iyengar Brahmin with namam, about to stab the praying apostle from behind. It defeats its purpose inasmuch as Vaishnavas did not wear namam, the U-shaped forehead mark, until after Ramanuja introduced it in the eleventh century. The other painting, very large and part of a series of the apostles and their various modes of death, shows St. Thomas with a book, a lance, and his sturdy Hindu assassin, who, this time, does not wear sectarian marks or orthodox dress.

The paintings and altar decorations were contributed to the church by the Armenian merchant community in Madras in the eighteenth century.


DC blurb


Legendary bleeding cross at St. Thomas’s church – Meera Iyer

The narrow road wound its way uphill, past houses bearing names like Rose Cottage, many camouflaged by the exuberant greenery in their gardens. The ambiance was straight out of a hill station. We were in the city to explore the story of St. Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, who is said to have come to Kerala in 52 AD and then moved to Chennai where he eventually died in 72 AD.

Our exploration of the apostle’s Chennai connection began where he died, at St. Thomas Mount. The peripatetic Italian, Marco Polo, who visited Chennai in the 1290s, recounts the story Church brethren told him of how the saint was killed when a hunter aiming at some peacocks accidentally hit the apostle. At the summit is the Church of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin, a simple church that is devoid of ostentation, but rich in myth and legend.

It was first built by Armenians and rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1521 and again in 1547. The Armenian influence is evident in the 14 beautiful paintings (dating to the 1700s) of Jesus and the apostles that line the walls. You can also see many Armenian inscriptions in and around church.

The altar here is believed to mark the spot where St. Thomas fell. The cross embedded in the wall behind the altar has an interesting story. It was unearthed by the Portuguese during excavations here.

The large granite slab bears a cross and an inscription on top, and once had red stains on it. This is the famous bleeding cross, which has been reported to sweat blood several times between 1556 and 1704. Tradition has it that it was fashioned by St. Thomas himself and that he died holding it. But controversy and doubts seem essential ingredients of all stories associated with Doubting Thomas. The strange lettering inscribed on the cross definitely added to its aura of mystery.

Although it was first assumed to relate to St. Thomas, in the late 1800s historians realised the inscription was actually in Pahlavi and, somewhat anti-climatically, had nothing to do with St. Thomas, but recorded only the name of the person who fashioned the cross. The inscription and hence the cross were dated to 650 AD, making it the oldest of only about half a dozen such Nestorian crossed in India.

Next to the bleeding cross is a beautiful oil painting on wood of the Madonna with baby Jesus, which according to legend was brought to India by the apostle himself and was painted by Luke the evangelist. Our next stop was the stately Santhome Cathedral Basilica, near Marina beach, built over the spot where St. Thomas was buried.

The church’s fortunes seem to have waxed and waned through the centuries for, although a magnificent church stood here in the 1200s, by the 1500s it was languishing. The Portuguese rebuilt it in the 1600s. In 1893, this building was demolished and the church in its present form came up and was consecrated in 1896.

Today’s cathedral is a grand Gothic edifice, complete with soaring towers and spires. Light streams in through exquisite stained glass windows in the clerestory.

One set of three large stained glass windows depicting the episode where Jesus appears to Doubting Thomas, was made in Germany in the 1870s.

At the very heart of the church, in the basement, is the apostle’s crypt and a tomb chapel. I learned that the soil around the grave has always been renowned for its miraculous powers. – Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 25 April 2010

Ishwar Sharan responds: The Deccan Chronicle appears to have become aware that it cannot maintain its St. Thomas deceits forever. It has changed tactic, conceding that the bleeding cross on Big Mount is a Nestorian creation of the seventh century but introducing Marco Polo’s story of having visited the Coromandel Coast and seen the apostle’s tomb for himself in 1292.

Marco Polo did not visit the Tamil coast at any time in his career, nor did he name the little town on the Tamil coast that allegedly played host to St. Thomas’s tomb. Marco was a story-teller and one of the world’s great liars. Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, said as much even during Marco’s lifetime. Today there are scholars who doubt that Marco Polo ever left Constantinople or visited China. Marco Polo collected his travel tales from Muslim and Syrian Christian merchants who came to Constantinople to trade. His fabulous travel book called Il Milione was dictated to a cell mate when he was in prison in Genoa. We may assume that Marco Polo never went to China. But even if he did, he never visited the Coromandel Coast as he was “in China” in 1288 and in 1292 which are the dates given for his Coromandel visit. But this is not the main thrust of the Deccan Chronicle’s St. Thomas articles that appear regularly at intervals to mislead the Chennai reading public.

The Deccan Chronicle is trying to establish in the public mind that there were always Christian churches of one sort or another on the sites now claimed for St. Thomas. They have now introduced the Nestorians—and Armenians who were late comers—whom even Chennai’s pseudo-historian Muthiah does not depend on to authenticate the St. Thomas churches.

If the Deccan Chronicle and Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese can establish that there were churches in Mylapore and Saidapet and on Brungi Malai—St. Thomas Mount—before the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 1500s, then the Hindu claim to these sites stands cancelled.

But there is no authentic record of churches in Mylapore and its surrounds prior to the arrival of the Portuguese. None at all. And on the three sites in Madras associated with St. Thomas there is—or was until we published our observations in 1991—Hindu temple rubble. This writer has seen it himself on St. Thomas Mount and in 1985 was able to identify the granite foundation stone for the flag pole of a Hindu temple that existed on the hill prior to 1545. There is also the testimony of the late Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, Dr. R. Arulappa, in his book Punitha Thomayar that yantra stones from the foundations of Hindu temples were found in all St. Thomas sites. And there is the eye-witness account of G.P. Srinivasan in his article “Santhome Cathedral Cover-up Uncovered”, of temple rubble being removed from the San Thome Cathedral compound surreptitiously in 2001. And lastly there is the official testimony of Dr. R. Nagaswamy, former Director of the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, that inscriptions on stone found only in Shiva temples were found in the walls of San Thome Cathedral.[6]

But none of this evidence exists today in the public sphere (though records will be there in government archives). It has all been removed by the San Thome diocesan authorities and the three Madras churches associated with St. Thomas have been cleaned up and renovated at the cost of crores of rupees. They are major tourist attractions, attract money and prestige for their Christian owners, and the Catholic Church has never been known to give up land it has acquired for any reason. That said, this writer has never at any time demanded that the three sites be returned to their legitimate Hindu owners. What he has asked for is a forensic investigation of the so-called relics in the St. Thomas tomb and a full accounting by Church authorities of the crimes committed by the Church and its agents in India over the centuries.


San Thome CathedralA.M. Chinnappa


The Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore owes the people of Madras an abject apology for the destruction of the Kapaleeswara Temple that once occupied the high point of the Marina beach that is now occupied by San Thome Cathedral. And to establish the sincerity of the abject apology, the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese may donate a piece of land from the vast Bishop’s House estate to the existing Kapaleeswara Temple Trust for the building of a memorial to the Hindu martyrs who died resisting the Portuguese invaders who destroyed the ancient great Shiva temple. But such an apology will not be forthcoming, for the Indian Church like the Indian media is ruled by brown sahibs who have sold their souls to white sahibs, and who are in fact traitors to their ancient native Hindu civilization and culture. The leaders of India’s Brown Church do not have the moral character to make such a confession — though confession of wrongdoing — unless it is the “doing” of little boys — is very much part of Roman Catholic Christian sacrament.


Husain's naked Brahmin


Notes

1. Anti-Brahminism and anti-Semitism are the same ethno-religious ‘racial’ prejudice directed at an accomplished minority group who are perceived, wrongly, to be the cause of a nation’s social and economic ills, or, otherwise, to be controlling a nation’s cultural, political, or economic destiny from behind the scenes in their own interest. Koenraad Elst, in Indigenous Indians: Agastya to Ambedkar, writes, “In fact, apart from anti-Judaism, the anti-Brahmin campaign started by [Christian] missionaries is the biggest vilification campaign in world history.”


Idol worship


2. An example of an anti-Hindu exercise is the use of the term “idol” for Hindu images. Technically correct, the word is loaded with negative connotations and is part of the abusive rhetoric of Christian missionaries in India. The same newspaper on another page uses the neutral term “statues” for Christian images. Clearly, there is editorial bias at work here. In the forty plus years that I have lived in India, I have never met a Hindu who worships “idols”. Hindus worship their Gods, and even a simple village woman knows that the Gods are made of spirit not matter.

3. See “Archbishop Arulappa’s History Project Goes Terribly Wrong

4. Rev. C.E. Abraham, in an article in The Cultural Heritage of India, writes, “The Persian crosses — or so-called Thomas crosses — with inscriptions in Pahlavi, one found in St. Thomas Mount, Madras, and two in a church in Kottayam in Travancore, are evidence of the connection of the Malabar Church with the Church of Persia.”

The Pahlavi (Persian) inscription on the three stone crosses, two in Kerala and one on St. Thomas Mount, read (according to C.P.T. Winckworth whose translation is generally accepted): “My lord Christ, have mercy upon Afras, son of Chaharbukht the Syrian, who cut this.”

These crosses are evidence of the connection of the Christian church in India with Persia, but they may also be evidence of temple destruction and the planting of Christian relics in temple foundations – at least the one on St. Thomas Mount may be so considered.

The motif on this black granite slab is cut in relief, and on each side of the cross, which is surmounted by a descending dove, are pillars crowned with supernatural composite animals, or yalis, from whose mouths issue an arch that joins together above the dove.

These yalis are Hindu symbols, not Christian, and Veda Prakash, Director of the Institute for the Study of Western Religions, Madras, asserts that the cross on St. Thomas Mount is an over-cut temple stone. He claims support for this view from the most unexpected quarter. Dr. R. Arulappa, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of Madras, in Punitha Thomaiyar, says that yantra stones in temple foundations were dug up by the Portuguese on three of the four sites in Madras that they associated with St. Thomas and where they built churches—Mylapore, Little Mount at Saidapet, and Big Mount at St. Thomas Mount.

The dove-and-cross motif of this stone has been described by one writer as Manichaean and by another as Nestorian. Fr. Herman D’Souza, in In the Steps of St. Thomas, quoting Francis Gouvea on the sixteenth century Portuguese “excavation” at St. Thomas Mount, identifies the motif with that used by the Knights of Aviz in Portugal.

The solution to this problem of the origin and identification of the Persian crosses and all other relics associated with St. Thomas is to have them examined by independent forensic experts. If the Bishop of Turin could surrender the famous Shroud of Turin, alleged burial cloth of Jesus, to scientists and accept their verdict that it is a mediaeval fake, then the Archbishop of Madras should be willing to do the same with the various St. Thomas relics in his possession.

5. There are seven of these icons by “St. Luke” scattered around the world. The most famous one hangs in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, which was built by Pope Sixtus III in 432 C.E. after he had demolished the Temple of Cybele on the Esquiline Hill.


Cross varieties used by ChristiansGreek cross from the Rome catacombs: Early 3rd century.


About the Christian fish and cross

The cross as a symbol of Christianity did not come into popular use until the 3rd century. There are two reasons for this: first, early Christians were practising Jews and the cross was an abhorrent symbol of torture and death, and second, the cross was already used as a religious symbol by adherents of various Pagan cults throughout West Asia and Greece. It is argued by some scholars that the Christians borrowed the cross from the Orphics in the 3-4th centuries. But in fact it did not gain popularity as a Christian symbol till some centuries later.

Even if Judas Thomas had come to Mylapore, he would not have made cross symbols as he was a practising Jew. First century Jews whether Moses or Jesus followers (there were no “Christians” in the 1st century) were rigid iconoclasts and could not tolerate Pagan cross symbols. The Christian cross was introduced into India by Christian immigrants from Persia after the 7th century CE.


Funerary stele with the inscription ΙΧΘΥC ΖΩΝΤΩΝ ("fish of the living"), early 3rd century in Rome.

Christian fish symbol


For the first three centuries, Christians used the fish with or without the word “ΙΧΘΥΣ” (Ichthys), Greek for FISH, drawn in the fish body as their religious identity symbol. The symbol was an acronym for “Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”, (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”. 


Mary & Child by "St. Luke".

This icon attributed to St. Luke, kept in the Portuguese Church of Our Lady of Expectation on St. Thomas Mount, is very obviously a product of 16th century Portuguese piety. The first icon attributed to St. Luke—there are seven of “his” Theotokos icons in churches around the world—appeared in Palestine in the 5th century and was sent to Constantinople. It is now in the Benedictine Abbey church of Montevergine, Italy. But the most famous of these icons “by St. Luke” hangs in Santa Maria Maggiore  Basilica in Rome.

Nor was the Virgin Mary venerated until some centuries later. Historically, neither the cross nor the painting(s) of the Virgin Mary can be associated with the 1st century apostles Thomas and Luke. The association was made by pious Christian authors and artists long after Christianity was imposed on the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine. The Indian Christian today naively believes that the Christianity of 1st century Jerusalem was a fully developed religious system, the same religion presented to Indians in the 16th century by the Portuguese.

Minucius Felix expounds on the cross

Minucius Felix, the 3rd century Christian apologist, wrote: “We assuredly see the sign of a cross naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with arms outstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason or your own religion is formed with respect to it.”

This remark by Minucius Felix is followed by an even more interesting one: “Crosses, moreover, we Christians neither venerate nor wish for. You indeed who consecrate gods of wood venerate wooden crosses, perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camps, what are they but crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.”



St. Thomas and Caste – Ishwar Sharan


The exploitation of the Christian faithful by the Christian clergy has been going on from the very beginning. St. Paul returned the runaway slave Onesimus to his Christian owner Philemon of Colosse in Phrygia—the Epistle of Paul to Philemon being the covering letter he sent with him—and St. Thomas is depicted in art with two slaves, two lions and a cloak of peacock feathers—hardly an image of a servant of the poor! — Ishwar Sharan


Paul & Onesimus


In his article “In Memory of a Slain Saint”, C.A. Simon wrote, “St. Thomas spent the last part of his life in Madras preaching the Gospel. A large number of people listened and embraced the way of life preached by him. The oppressed and downtrodden followed him and claimed equal status in society as it was denied them by prevailing social norms. He condemned untouchability and attempted to restore equal status to women.”

This stereotyped and oft-times-proven untrue description of ancient Hindu society has been promoted by Christians for centuries. By repeating it C.A. Simon shows that his interest in writing the article is not “purely academic”. He is championing a cause, and he has presented St. Thomas as the champion and pioneer of a cause—Liberation Theology.

This new role for St. Thomas is absurd, and whatever the merits of the new ideology—and they are doubtful—neither Jesus nor his brother Judas Thomas can be presented as champions of the oppressed and downtrodden if we are to believe the Acts of Thomas. Its first verses record that Thomas was sold into slavery by the very Jesus whose “message of liberation” he is supposed to have brought to India. The Acts then describe how he enslaves the aristocratic women he converts and destroys their families. Finally we learn that this is the reason that King Mazdai of Parthia has him executed—and it is a good reason.

C.A. Simon seems not to have read the Acts of Thomas or heard the traditional Syrian Christian version of the apostle’s “good works” in India. In one of these tales St. Thomas only accepts Brahmins into his new creed—with the curious exception of one barber convert. This isolated soul is never given a place in the Christian community even during the apostle’s lifetime, and to present St. Thomas as a champion of the poor is ironical, even grotesque—but then Liberation Theology itself is proving to be just another means by which the Church can further exploit the faithful.

Indeed, the exploitation of the faithful has been going on from the very beginning. St. Paul returned the runaway slave Onesimus to his rightful owner Philemon—the Epistle of Paul to Philemon being the covering letter he sent with him—and St. Thomas is depicted in art with two slaves, two lions and a cloak of peacock feathers—hardly an image of a servant of the poor!


Divided Christian Burial Gound: Dalits to the left, caste Christians to the right.


Today the number of lower caste converts to Christianity is myriad and they are no more accepted by their upper caste brethren than was their mythical first century barber ancestor. The plain truth is that the Churches of India are riddled with caste and to highlight this situation, Scheduled Caste Christians demonstrated against the untouchability practised in the Church when Pope John Paul II visited India in 1986. They probably did not know that Pope Gregory XV (1621-1623) had sanctioned caste within the Indian Church and that his edict has never been rescinded. Earlier in 1599 the Council of Diamper and again in 1606 the Council of Goa had sanctioned the same. These sanctions have governed Catholic practice ever since—though Christians piously maintain that caste is contrary to Christ’s teachings.

The grievances of Scheduled Caste Christians remain to this day and often surface in the national press—to the embarrassment of wealthy bishops who have interests to protect other than those of their flock. This happened in July and August of 1990 in the columns of the Indian Express. On August 2nd a letter appeared by Raju Thomas of Madras. He held M.A., B.Th., B.D. and M.Th. degrees, and wrote:

No self-respecting Scheduled Caste Christians will ask the Government to include them in the Scheduled Caste list. Is it not shameful for the Indian Church, even after centuries of Christian tradition, to say that it has a vast majority of untouchable Christians?

I myself come from a state where Christianity reached in the first century itself before it went to Europe, and that state, Kerala, the highly literate state in India, has more than 35 lakh untouchable Christians out of a total population of 51 lakh Christians. But these majority Scheduled Caste Christians do not have any voice in the Church administration and in the ecclesiastical structure.

The Christian population of India is just 3 per cent out of the 800 million total population of India, and 85 per cent of the Christians are from the Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes. The Scheduled Caste Christians, instead of asking for reservation on par with the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Scheduled Castes, should demand that the Indian Church implement reservation first in their home itself. Charity should begin at home!

The Indian Christian Church has the best educational, technical and medical institutions in the country and it is unfortunate that the presence of the untouchable Christians in these prestigious institutions is worse than anywhere else. Why is the Indian Church blind to this brutal injustice and discrimination committed to its own family members?

While the Indian Church enjoys the minority rights guaranteed in the Constitution it violates the legitimate human rights of Dalit Christians. Instead of begging the Government, the Church must render justice to her own—least brothers and sisters—by sharing power and wealth with Scheduled Caste Christians in proportion to their population.[1] The Church must respond to the cries of the Dalit Christians.

Once justice is established at home the Church can put pressure on the Government of India to get the Constitution amended to help Scheduled Caste Christians to get the constitutional rights enjoyed by their Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist counterparts.

This letter—in places self-contradictive—shows an insensitivity to the position of Hindus and ignores the financial privileges enjoyed by the Church. Christian religious and educational institutions are fully autonomous and collect large foreign donations, unlike their Hindu counterparts which must accept state-controlled administrations and finance. That these foreign moneys collected in the name of the Scheduled Castes almost never reach the Scheduled Castes, is the cause of on-going scandal in churches of every denomination.


The New Indian Express Masthead


We did not comment on these issues in our reply to Raju Thomas. We had observed over the years that the Indian Express while permitting Christians to lecture Hindus in its columns, did not permit Hindus to comment on what it deemed to be Christian matters. But we did take issue with the assertion that Christianity had reached Kerala in the first century C.E. as this was a matter of Indian history. The Indian Express now had two copies of our reply to C.A. Simon’s feature which it had declined to publish even in summary, as well as Swami Tapasyananda’s article which it had simply ignored. There was no excuse for the Indian Express letters editor to allow Raju Thomas his claim unless he wished to provoke a response. We responded on August 3rd:

Mr. Raju Thomas may assert that he comes from an Indian state where Christianity was established in the first century C.E. (I.E. Aug. 2), but he must know that his claim has never been substantiated in history. Even the generous K.S. Latourette, in A History of the Expansion of Christianity, does not allow the possibility of Christians coming to India by any route before the third century C.E.

The consensus among most historians who do not have a theological axe to grind, is that the first Christians to arrive in India, landing at Cranganore, Kerala, came in 345 C.E. They were four hundred refugees belonging to seven tribes of West Asia, who were fleeing religious persecution by the Persian Shapor II. Their leader was a Syrian who is known to history as Knae Thomman, Thomas Cananeus, Thomas of Cana, or Thomas the Merchant. It is probably this man whom the Syrian Christians later converted into the first century apostle-martyr St. Thomas.

Though the myth of St. Thomas coming to Kerala in 52 C.E. was invented by Syrian Christians, it was resurrected and embellished in the sixteenth century by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries who needed a pious story of persecution to cover up their own persecution of the Hindus. During this period they and their Portuguese masters destroyed the great Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach, the Murugan temple on Little Mount and the Shiva temple on Big Mount, and built Christian churches on the ruins.

The Roman Catholic Church continues to promote this vicious tale as part of her ancient effort to vilify Hindus and malign Hinduism—and, of course, to support her religious and political claims to India. Those interested in the ongoing campaign may refer to an excellent article by Swami Tapasyananda called “The Legend of a Slain Saint to Stain Hinduism’ in the recent June issue of The Vedanta Kesari published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras 600004.

This letter was not published in the Indian Express but a copy of it had been sent to Raju Thomas. He replied on August 31st:

Thank you for the copy of your letter to the editor, Indian Express, Madras, dated 3 August 1990. I have been expecting that that letter would be published in the columns of the Indian Express. But so far it is not being published.

I have already posted a long letter on this issue as many people have come forward with the same question about the existing of Christianity in the first century in the Indian subcontinent.

Yes, Mr. Ishwar Sharan, I too agree with your views that Christianity did not exist in the first century in the Indian subcontinent. It is only a traditional belief that St. Thomas had come to India and converted the Brahmins to Christianity but this claim does not have any historical proof. However, this traditional belief of the Christians in Kerala is so deep-rooted that they relentlessly go on propagating it.

You may ask me if such is the case, why did I too assert that Christianity had come to India before it had reached Europe? My answer to this question is that I deliberately wanted an open debate and discussion on this subject. But except a few nobody has come with challenging theories or written in the Indian Express. But why? We will be able to challenge and question such falsified histories and traditional beliefs only when we take up such issues to the public and do not keep them as the top secrets. But the question is: How many of our ‘intellectuals’ are ready to have open-minded debates and discussions? Our sole aim is to eat, drink, make money and enjoy. This is the Indian reality. How many of us take up discussion on issues? We are concerned about the pension, non-supply of water, not getting facilities in the buses and trains, etc. Is this what a healthy society is to think and debate? I do not know.

I also agree with your opinion about the historicity of the Thomas Christians in Kerala in ancient Cheranadu. I also have some if not full soft corner towards your argument: “… this man whom the Syrian Christians later converted into the first century apostle-martyr St. Thomas.” I am sure provided much light is shed on this argument the truth will certainly come out.

Do you know the real story of these Jerusalem Christians who had come to Kerala? Today their total number is 1,60,000 and 1 lakh within the Roman Catholic Church and 60 thousand in the Jacobite Church. It is also unfortunate that these Christians (?) do not maintain any kind of relationship with other Christians in India, no marital relationship, not giving baptism to non-Knaya Christians in their church, not allowing Dalit Christians in their houses, etc. They want to keep up the purity of their blood. In fact they are the worst enemies of the Dalits in Kerala.

Your other remarks on the Franciscans and the Jesuits, etc., have to be seriously studied. I am interested in this kind of research works. But do we have sufficient documents? I am very much enthusiastic to get that article, “The Legend of a Slain Saint to Stain Hinduism” by Swami Tapasyananda, published in The Vedanta Kesari. Would you help me to get one copy of this?

Thank you for writing to me. I welcome more enlightenment in these matters. I do not know whether the Indian Express will publish my letter which is a lengthy one.

The Indian Express did not publish Raju Thomas’s letter even in an edited form, as it had not published ours. The Indian Express did not approve of “issues” in its precious columns—especially as they were not perceived by the experts to add prestige or profits to the newspaper’s already overflowing coffers. These were the “principles of publishing” followed by most big post-independence Hindu newspaper publishers. It was not that nobody has come with challenging theories or written to the Indian Express as Raju Thomas thought, but rather that they weren’t published after numerous submissions. We replied to Raju Thomas on September 5th:

Thank you for the letter dated August 31st.

You will have received by now Swami Tapasyananda’s article. He had originally submitted it to the Indian Express. They ignored it. After waiting three months he published the article in his own magazine.

I, too, submitted an essay debunking the myth of St. Thomas to the Indian Express in March. It was a reply to C.A. Simon’s article which appeared in the Express Weekend last December. My submission was also ignored for months. Finally the IE resident editor rejected it in June with the lame excuse that he had no space and that I had already had my say in a letter published in the Express Weekend.

My latest letter replying to your statement on St. Thomas, is only one of many sent to the Indian Express over the last eight months. Many others have written also and I have copies of their letters. None of these letters have been published. I am sure that your letter will also not be published. My long experience is that the Indian Express only publishes material promoting the myth of St. Thomas as true Madras history (excepting for the three edited letters which appeared in the Express Weekend early this year).

The Indian Express consistently suppresses all material, no matter how well documented, that shows up this political tale for what it really is.

So you see, Mr. Thomas, the “fearless Jesuits” in that editorial office are no different from your priests and our politicians. They are full of grand rhetoric and promises of salvation which it does not cost them anything to make. But the moment they perceive that the truth threatens their bank accounts and official positions, they are utterly ruthless in suppressing it and the persons who speak it. Gandhiji once said that it was cowardice that was the threat to our nation, not poverty. I believe he was right — again!

As it is, I am blacklisted at the Indian Express offices and none of my letters are published any longer. This will please many of their Christian readers, for I am a long-time student of Christian history and a critic of Church politics and ideology.

This should not be misunderstood to mean that I am hostile to Christians of faith. This is not the case at all. In fact I see the Christian layman as the first victim of Church politics. This is why I firmly believe that Christians activists like yourself must go to the Church for redress of your grievances before you go to the Government. To go to the Government is to let the Church off the hook. Why do that? What has the Church done for you really? The whole edifice of the Church is built on the emotional, psychological and material exploitation of the poor and ignorant.

You know better than I do that the Church has vast quantities of foreign money meant for the poor which never reaches the poor. You also know that caste is fully sanctioned within the Church. So-called saints like Francis Xavier, John de Britto and Robert de Nobili all practiced untouchability—not to mention the fabled St. Thomas! There is one—perhaps two—papal bulls sanctioning caste divisions in churches and social relations. And there are the edicts of the Council of Diamper which sanction the same. To argue that caste is un-Christian is really beside the point.

But to return to the original subject of this letter. My essay called The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Templeis in the press but its publication has got delayed. It will be out in a month or so and I will send you a copy.[2] You will discover that I make no statement and draw no inference that I cannot document.

I am very happy that you have written to the Indian Express about this issue. And I am sorry that your letter will not get published. But because it will not be published I would very much like to have a copy of it, if you would kindly send me one. I continue my study of this myth and am always eager for new references and points of view.

Raju Thomas did eventually send us a copy of his lengthy letter. It is a bitter indictment of the Roman Catholic Church and Church of South India for the discriminatory treatment that they have meted out to their Scheduled Caste converts. We do not include it here because it repeats in detail what he had already written to us on August 31st. But the Indian Express should have at least published edited portions of it including his retraction of the claim that St. Thomas had come to India. In the letter he quotes Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew 23:15 which applies as much to campaigning secular journalists as it does to Christian missionaries:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.


1. Pope John Paul II has reaffirmed that the Church is an autocracy not a democracy—and that he is the present autocrat.

2. The reference is to the first edition of this book which was published in February 1991. The observations made here about the editorial policy of the Madras edition of the Indian Express are as true today—June  2010—as at the time of writing the letter in September 1990.


1 – In memory of a slain saint – C.A. Simon


The article which follows, published in the Indian Express, Madras, on 30 December 1989, and the refusal of the editor to publish our reply, was the reason we began our research into the St. Thomas in India legend. Had the Indian Express editor Ramanathan allowed us to reply, we would have never bothered to begin our extended research into the legend which has resulted in four editions of our book. — Ishwar Sharan


San Thome Cathedral: A minor basilica of no consequence.


It is difficult to say whether Mylapore found its place in travel notes of many ancient foreign travellers because it had on its soil the tomb of St. Thomas or if the tomb itself was mentioned therein because of its location at Mylapore on the eastern coast. It is a historical fact that many foreign travellers used to visit this coast after sailing a long distance thanks to the Coromandel winds. Marco Polo, the great traveller, has referred to the tomb in his travel diary.

The present Gothic church was constructed over the tomb only in 1893; but it is going to be almost 20 centuries since the first church was constructed by St. Thomas, the father of Christianity in India, before his martyrdom in 73 AD.

The tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles (disciples) of Jesus Christ, attracts people from all over the world. It is a pilgrim centre for Christians, especially during Christmas and Easter seasons. Its history, battles fought over the mortal remains of the saint, burial, excavation, relocation of the tomb, etc., all form part of a high drama the church witnessed over the centuries.

Today Santhome has in its possession only a piece of bone and the metal spearhead with which the saint was assassinated in Madras. These are kept under the safe custody of the priests. It is exposed for public veneration during the annual solemn novena for the feast of St. Thomas on July 3rd every year.

The expression “doubting Thomas” originated after Thomas, disciple of Jesus Christ, who was not ready to believe the resurrection of the Christ when it was narrated to him by other disciples to whom Jesus appeared for the first time after the crucifixion and burial. Thomas declared: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

According to the Bible, Jesus appeared again inside a closed room where all the disciples were planning their next course of action. Jesus called Thomas and asked him to put his finger on the mark of the wounds. Thomas was taken aback. Thomas felt divine reality encountering human weakness of doubt face to face. He was convinced. He knelt down and uttered: “Thou art my Lord and God”.

Thomas landed at Maliankara (Cranganore in Kerala) in 52 AD with Habban, a foreign trader. He preached the Gospel, wrought miracles and went to Mailepuram (now Mylapore) and then on to China. He returned to Maliankara at the behest of the son-in-law of the Raja of Thiruvanchikulam.

Thomas spent the last part of his life in Madras preaching the Gospel. A large number of people listened and embraced the way of life preached by him. The oppressed and downtrodden followed him and claimed equal status in society as it was denied them by the prevailing social norms. He condemned untouchability and attempted to restore equal status for women.

Many stories are sung as folk songs and have descended to us through the generations. One of them about the origin of the church at Santhome is very interesting.


The 'miraculous' log of wood behind San Thome Cathedral


A huge timber log was washed ashore by the waves. In spite of the battery of strong men deployed by King Mahadeva, they could not succeed in bringing it to the shore. As suggested by some of his courtiers, the king summoned the saint. St. Thomas performed another miracle. Pleased by this, the king offered a place near the shore where the timber was first sighted. Thus the old church at Mylapore was built.

As he preached and performed miracles, enemies also grew in number and strength. They vowed to finish him. He had to spend some time in a cave at Little Mount hiding from his enemies. Finally he was killed at what is now known as St. Thomas Mount.

His body was brought to Mylapore, buried and the exact location was forgotten for a long time. Later, in 1523, while digging for laying foundation for a new church they came across signs of the tomb. Immediately the priest in charge of the operation sought the help of higher authorities and then continued excavation.

They removed a lot of earth. After removing two concrete slabs placed between sand and earth they came upon pieces of bones and skull. At the foot there was an earthen vessel supposedly filled with earth taken from the spot where the saint’s blood was shed. They further unearthed a metal spearhead having the shape of an olive leaf and also struck upon a wooden shaft.

The bones and other mortal remains were kept in a box and later buried at an undisclosed location near the church as the priest feared for the safety of the same since the news of possible attack by neighbouring kings were pouring in.

Rivalries among Dutch, French and British wrought devastation on Santhome. The Golconda Sultans attacked and occupied the place for years. In 1646, Mir Jumla, Nawab of Carnatic, also attacked.

Hyder Ali, Sultan of Mysore, besieged Santhome three times during 1769, 1780 and 1782.

Due to several attacks and siege, Santhome church was damaged beyond recognition. In 1893 the new church was constructed. The tall bell-tower is an evidence of Gothic architectural excellence.


Papal Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo & Adolf Hitler


The church was made a minor basilica in 1956 by Pope Pius XII. The basilica title is conferred on churches based on its antiquity, magnificence and celebrity. The word basilica means a church with honorific privileges. There are only four major basilica in the whole world. None of them is in India and the most prominent among them is the St. Peter’s at Vatican.

The tomb of great historical importance is inside the church at Santhome near the sanctum sanctorum. It is open to visitors almost during the whole day. The Tourism Development Corporation on its conducted tours makes a stop at the tomb.

A lot of efforts are on to provide better facilities for the tourists visiting the church every day. Fr. Charles, assistant priest, further informed this writer that there may be celebrations on the 3rd of every month, starting from January 1990 onwards, with the help of parishioners.[1]

Postscript

This story, with photographs of Santhome Cathedral Basilica, appeared on 30 December 1989 on the front page of the Express Weekend. It was placed below a feature of Madras city history. No indication was given to show that one article dealt with popular legend and the other with historical fact. They were presented together to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the British factory north of Mylapore and Triplicane at the fishing village of Madrasapattinam.

On reading the St. Thomas feature, we sent a letter of protest to the Indian Express editor exposing Simon’s story. It was published on 13 January 1990 in the Express Weekend. The paragraphs that were excised by the editor are reproduced here in italics:

Apropos of the article “In Memory of a Slain Saint” (EW, Dec. 30), it is indeed astonishing that the Indian Express allows its respected columns to be used to promote this Catholic romance as historical fact in this age of excellent critical scholarship.[2]

In his book Papacy: Its Doctrine and History (Voice of India, New Delhi, 1986) the historian Sita Ram Goel writes about the St. Thomas myth:

“Some Catholic scholars have been busy for many years marshalling literary and archaeological evidence in an effort to prove that St. Thomas came to India in 52 AD, converted some Hindus in the South, and was killed by Brahmins at Mylapore in Madras while giving the Good News to the local people….

“It would be a waste of time to present the pros and cons of this controversy which tends to become more and more technical. Suffice it to say that some historians have seriously doubted the very existence of an apostle named Thomas. Distinguished scholars like R. Garbe, A. Harnack and L. de la Vallee-Poussin have denied credibility to the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal work on which the whole story is based. Some others, who accept the fourth century Catholic tradition about the travels of St. Thomas, point to the lack of evidence that he ever went east beyond Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. The confusion, according to them, has arisen because the ancient geographers often mistook these two countries for India.

“The whole subject has been examined recently by Stephen Neill in his History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 A.D. published by the Cambridge University Press, England, as late as 1984. He says, ‘A number of scholars, among whom are to be mentioned with respect Bishop A.E. Medlycott, J.N. Farquhar and the Jesuit J. Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect the vividness of their imaginations rather than the prudence of rigid historical critics.’ Pained by the spread of this spurious history among large sections of Indian Christians, he observes, ‘Millions of Christians in India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove it to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.’ Stephen Neill … was a bishop who had spent long years in India.”

There is also reason to believe that St. Thomas Church stands on the ruins of a Jain Neminathaswami temple and a Hindu Shiva temple which had a Nataraja shrine attached. The epigraphical data for the existence of the Jain temple on this site is recorded in Jain Inscriptions in Tamil Nadu by A. Ekambaranath and C.K. Sivaprakasham (Research Foundation for Jainology, Madras, 1987). The evidence for the existence of the Shiva temple, which may be the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the Mylapore beach that got “eroded” by the “sea”, is compiled in an excellent Tamil-language book called Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkadai (“The Saint Thomas Myth in India”) by Veda Prakash (RAFR, Madras, 1989). This book is recommended for its wealth of information and is available from RAFR, 57 Poonamallee High Road, Maduravayal, Madras 602102.”

When this letter appeared in the Express Weekend without the last paragraph, which referred to the destroyed temples, we sent a letter of protest on January 16th to the Indian Express resident editor:

Apropos of my letter on St. Thomas and the St. Thomas Church, I must observe that the truncated version published in the Express Weekend of Jan. 13th, which omits all reference to the building of the church, is not acceptable and does not do justice to history.

As a Catholic apologist was given prime space in the Express Weekend on Dec. 30th to tell his version of this controversial story, the Indian Express is obliged to give space to another writer or at least permit an open review of the subject.

The destruction of temples by Muslims has been discussed in the Indian Express by many persons including Arun Shourie, as has the destruction of Jain (and if I remember correctly, Buddhist) temples in Kanchi and Kashmir by certain Hindu kings. The Christians have completely escaped this review though they were the worst perpetrators of these kinds of deeds. This is ironical, for Christian missionaries continue to try to force conversion and destroy village temples in Central India.

The editorial tactic of only permitting Christians to criticize Christians does not wash and indicates a double standard operating in the newspaper. The editors have never hesitated to permit Christians to lecture and criticize Hindus and Muslims when they choose to do so.

The Express Weekend refuses to review Veda Prakash’s Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkadai (The Saint Thomas Myth in India) or even list it as a book received, though in fact the newspaper has received four copies of it.

When the Pope in Rome can no longer enforce the Index,[3] how is it that the Indian Express can censor our reading material, obstruct free access to information, and suppress discussion of a subject because it is controversial?

In honour of free speech, the very least you can do is give a fair review to this interesting little book on St. Thomas and the legends that surround him and the church at Mylapore.

Veda Prakash’s book was never reviewed by the Indian Express, though the editor acknowledged receipt of a copy and promised to give it his attention.

But our protest did not go unnoticed, and as we had sent out copies of the January 13th letter to various interested people, the excised paragraph would appear in the Indian Express on February 10th in a letter from Swami Jyotirmayananda. His letter was cut too and those lines which offended the editor appear below in italics:

Sri Ishwar Sharan has rightly debunked the so-called historical feature “In Memory of a Slain Saint” (EW, Jan. 13) quoting distinguished historians who have seriously doubted the very existence of an apostle named St. Thomas.

In fact the feature that appeared in EW December 30th is false and misleading and there is a large body of evidence saying that there never was a Thomas at all, never mind that he came to Madras.

There is reason to believe that St. Thomas Church stands on the ruins of a Jain Neminathaswami temple and a Shiva temple which had a Nataraja shrine attached. The epigraphical data for the existence of the Jain temple on this site is recorded in Jain Inscriptions in Tamil Nadu by A. Ekambaranath and C.K. Sivaprakasham (Research Foundation for Jainology, Madras, 1987). The evidence for the existence of the Shiva temple, which may be the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the Mylapore beach that got eroded by the sea,[4] is found in “The Saint Thomas Myth in India” (in Tamil) by Veda Prakash (RAFR, Madras, 1989), who has provided a wealth of information on the subject.

This paragraph―for the non-publication of which we had taken the Indian Express editor to task―contained wrong information about the Kapaleeswara Temple and to make matters worse, the wrong information was attributed to a wrong source. The correct source for the wrong information about the original temple, was the 1985 edition of the TTK A Map’s Guide Book to Madras which says, “A tradition has it that the first temple was by the sea but erosion caused it to be shifted inland.”

The real tradition of course was that the “erosion” of the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the seashore had been caused by Christians. This fact would finally be brought to light in the Express Weekend on March 3rd in a letter from Veda Prakash:

This refers to the letter of Swami Jyotirmayananda published under the caption “Santhome Church” (EW, Feb. 10). Certain details he has mentioned about my book Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkadai (The Saint Thomas Myth in India) are incorrect as pointed out below.

He writes, “The evidence for the existence of the Shiva temple, which may be the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the Mylapore beach that got eroded by the sea, is found in ‘The Saint Thomas Myth in India’ (in Tamil) by Veda Prakash, (RAFR, Madras, 1989), who has provided a wealth of information on the subject.” But, nowhere in the book do I mention that the Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach was eroded by the sea. What is mentioned about the Shiva temple is as follows: “… many evidences available in Santhome Church show there was a Shiva temple and it was occupied, then step by step demolished and converted into a church. Many documents and books also prove this. A fragmentary Tamil inscription of 8 lines on a stone found at the cathedral registers a tax-free gift for burning at night a lamp before the image of Kuthadumdevar (Nataraja) in the temple of Suramudayar (Suramudayar Kuthadum Devarkku) was found in 1924. It belongs to Vikrama Chola’s time, i.e., 12th century. Moreover, when the urchava murthy was taken for procession from the existing Kapaleeswara Temple, there was a practice of lowering it reverently three times before the Santhome Church at that time (16th-18th centuries). The temple was there up to the 16th century. Then, when the Christians started demolishing it completely, Hindus built the present temple out of whatever they could salvage from the ruins of the old temple.” (P. 41-42, Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkadai.)

The publisher is not RAFR. Either it should be MMAK (Menattu Mathangal Araychi Kazhagam) or ISWR (Institute for the Study of Western Religions), 57, Poonamallee High Road, Maduravayal, Madras 602102.

This was the third and last letter published in the Express Weekend in reply to C.A. Simon’s article. The letters were not a sufficient or comprehensive reply, but the Indian Express would not tolerate further criticism of the St. Thomas fable in its columns.


1. This article, which appeared in the Indian Express on 30 December 1989, was the reason we began our research into the St. Thomas in India legend.

2. This paragraph was converted by the editor into the prosaic introductory line: “This refers to ‘In Memory of a Slain Saint’ (EW, Dec. 30).”

3. The Vatican’s official list of books Catholics are forbidden to read.

4. The words “eroded” and “sea” should have been in quotation marks.


2 – Legend of a slain saint to stain Hinduism – Swami Tapasyananda


Swami Tapasyananda, the author of this article, was an erudite Indian scholar sannyasi and vice-president of the Ramakrishna Order from 1985 to 1991. He wrote this article when he was president of the Ramakrishna Math in Mylapore, Madras, in 1989. A comment by the equally erudite Hindu yogi scholar and Samkhya philosopher Ram Swarup follows this article. – IS


Swami Tapasyananda


The Vedanta Kesari


This article has been provoked by two write-ups in the Madras edition of the Indian Express. The first of these is “In Memory of a Slain Saint” by C.A. Simon in the Express Weekend of the Indian Express of 30 December 1989, and the second, a rejoinder to it by Ishwar Sharan in the “Weekend Post” of the Express Weekend of 13 January 1990.

The first write-up, C.A. Simon’s, whether based on facts or fiction, is highly derogatory of Hinduism, which is, even to this day, highly tolerant of other religions. The chief items of information contained in C.A. Simon’s writings are as follows: (1) St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ (a disputed fact), came to India in AD 52 with Habban, a foreign trader. (2) He landed at Maliankara (Cranganore) in Kerala, preached the Gospel, wrought miracles, and got many converts. (3) Then he came to Mailepuram (Mylapore), then went to China, after some time returned to Maliankara, and from there came again to Madras where he spent the rest of his life teaching, preaching and drawing a large number of the oppressed and the suppressed into his fold. (4) He performed miracles which made the local king Mahadeva offer him a place near the seashore where the old church of Mylapore now stands. (5) His conversion activities incensed the orthodox and enemies from their rank vowed to finish him. (6) He had therefore to hide himself in a cave at the Little Mount near the present St. Thomas Mount (about five km away from Mylapore). (7) Finally, he was murdered there, i.e., at St. Thomas Mount, by those fanatical enemies, and (8) his body was brought to Mylapore and buried in AD 73 at a spot which was forgotten for many centuries.

But the greatest miracle was to occur in 1523, nearly fifteen hundred years after the saint was supposed to have died. That was the rediscovery of the tomb and remains of the murdered saint by the priest in charge of the Mylapore church for building a new church—pieces of bones, a skull, a vessel containing mud supposedly from the place where the saint’s blood was shed, and a spearhead of the shape of an olive leaf fixed on a wooden shaft.

Wonder of wonders! Even after about fifteen centuries these remains, including the stick, had not become fossilized or crumbled into dust, but could be got intact and buried at an undisclosed place in the church. That church was damaged beyond recognition in the course of the battles waged round it during the rivalry between the Dutch, the French, and the British and Hyder Ali. (Strangely, the Portuguese are not said to be involved in it, perhaps because they were the heroic defenders!) At last in 1893 the present Santhome Church with Gothic architectural excellence was built. (It must be by the Portuguese and none else.) The papal seal over this whole story was stamped in 1956 when Pope Pius XII gave it recognition as a Minor Basilica, all the four major ones being outside India.

The above legend, that is dexterously built into a mighty balloon to boost Christian fanaticism, is neatly pricked in the rejoinder by Ishwar Sharan, published as a letter to the editor in the “Weekend Post” of the Indian Express of 13 January 1990. The points mentioned by him are as follows: In his book Papacy: Its Doctrine and History, Sita Ram Goel writes:

Some Catholic scholars have been busy for many years marshalling literary and archaeological evidence in an effort to prove that St. Thomas came to India in 52 AD, converted some Hindus in the South and was killed by the Brahmins in Mylapore in Madras. Suffice it to say that some historians have seriously doubted the very existence of an apostle named St. Thomas. Distinguished scholars like R. Garbe, A. Harnack and L. de la Vallee-Poussin have denied credibility to the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal work on which the whole story is based. Some others who accept the fourth century Catholic tradition about the travels of St. Thomas, point to the lack of evidence that he ever went beyond Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. The confusion, according to them, has arisen because the ancient geographers often mistook these two countries for India.

He further refers to Stephen Neill’s book History of Christianity in India: From the Beginnings to 1707 A.D. published by the Cambridge University Press, England, in 1984, as follows:

A number of scholars, among whom are to be mentioned with respect Bishop A.E. Medlycott, J.N. Farquhar and the Jesuit J. Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what may be called Thomas romances, such as reflect the vividness of their imaginations rather than the prudence of rigid historical critics.

Pained by the spread of this spurious history among large sections of Christians, he observes:

Millions of Christians in India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove it to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.

Stephen Neill was a bishop who had spent long years in India.

To these we want to make ensuing comments to disprove these assumptions of pious Christians. Further absurdities in Thomas legends are revealed in S. Muthiah’s Madras Discovered published by Affiliated East-West Press. The following are the facts gleaned from it: Thomas shunted between St. Thomas Mount and Mylapore, separated by about five km, doing his preaching work and converting thousands. He lived in a cave at Little Mount in Saidapet, three km from St. Thomas Mount. There is, to the east of the cave, an opening which is said to have opened in those days into a tunnel from the Little Mount to St. Thomas Mount. The saint is supposed to have fled from his persecutors through this cave. He was however murdered by them at St. Thomas Mount. Mylapore has only the honour of being the place where his dead body was brought and buried. From there his remains were taken to Edessa in Syria where every July a great festival is held to commemorate his reburial. From Edessa they are said to have been moved to the Greek island of Chios, thence to Ortona on Italy’s Adriatic coast where they remain to this day. But each resting place still has some relic of Thomas—Madras has a small hand bone and the head of a lance in the St. Thomas Basilica crypt.

More miracles in proof of this legend of murder are yet to come. In 1547 the Vicar of Mylapore during excavation at St. Thomas Mount discovered a “bleeding” cross with old Pahlavi inscriptions. It had spots that looked like blood stains which, it is claimed, reappeared after being rubbed away. This cross is built into the wall behind the altar of the church on the mount dedicated to Madonna of the Mount. The tradition about this cross is that it was chiseled from a rock by the apostle himself. It is said that it used to bleed periodically. The first publicly noticed bleeding was on 15 December 1558 and the last in 1704.

Apart from these fanciful anecdotes about St. Thomas in Madras, Christianity of a brand which had nothing to do with Western Christianity had come to the Malabar coast very early. Sometime about AD 450 (sic) one Canai Thomas with seventy-two Syrian families arrived in Kerala and whatever traces of early Christianity there were got mixed up with this Syrian brand of it. So these Christians, known till then as Nazaranis (Nazarenes), got also the name Syrian Christians.[1] Their connection to this day is with the Orthodox Church of Syria. The grafting of this powerful group with the existing fragmentary Christian groups must have led to the identification of Kerala Christians with the Thomas tradition, to which they hold steadfastly to this day. The St. Thomas of their fancy must really be Canai Thomas of Syria. The members of this community were adventurous traders with business connections with many countries abroad, and through commerce they brought much wealth to the country. They therefore enjoyed the patronage of the local kings. Their numbers increased not only by the absorption of the existing fragment of the Christian community but the influx of many Hindus from highly aristocratic classes owing to the rigorous rules of excommunication that prevailed among them. Such excommunications were common among them for breach of caste rules, and these excommunicated individuals, men or women, had no other course than to join this new community. This crossbreed Christian community of Kerala is distinguished from the converts by later Catholic and Protestant missionaries both in appearance and talents. In modern India they are everywhere found to occupy high positions in the professional and business life of the country. Their names too are usually different from the European names by which most of the later converted Christians were known till very recent times.

Now to go back to the legend of St. Thomas in Madras. It is clearly the fabrication of the Portuguese to camouflage their destruction of the Hindu Temple of Kapaleeswara which was situated on the seashore, probably at the very place where Santhome Church now stands. The great Saivite saint of sixth century AD, Tirujnanasambandar, sings in the 6th Poompavai Padikam Thevaram:

The Lord of Kapaleeswaram sat watching the people of Mylapore
A place full of flowering coconut palms
Taking ceremonial bath in the sea on the full moon day of the month of Masai.

In the same strain sings Arunagirinathar, who came to Mylapore in 1456, in his Tirumayilai Tiruppugazh:

O Lord of Mailai (Mylapore) temple, situated on the shores of the sea with raging waves …

This clear and indisputable evidence gives the lie to the legend that the Portuguese invented to hide their nefarious work. The Portuguese domination of Mylapore was from 1522 to 1697, by which time the British had established themselves in the Fort St. George and adjoining territories, and the Portuguese had to withdraw to Goa where their empire lasted till 1962. In Goa their rule was noted for a spree of destruction of Hindu temples and persecution of the Goanese, so much so that large sections of them had to flee that territory and settle all along the west coast of India. They are the Gauda Saraswats. The fate of these Goanese would have overtaken the temples and the people of Madras also, a foretaste of which contingency they got in the destruction of the holy Kapaleeswara Temple. Thanks to the British domination of the region and the consequent elimination of the Portuguese, this tragic fate did not overtake them. The British had more political maturity and diplomatic perception, which helped them perceive that trade was more important for themselves than religious propaganda. And so they kept an attitude of indifference towards the religion and religious edifices of the people in whose midst they carried on their trading activities, which eventually led to the establishment of a political empire.

The destruction of the seashore Temple of Kapaleeswara is said to have taken place in 1561. The new temple at its present site, about one km to the west, was built by pious Hindu votaries about three hundred years ago, i.e., about two hundred and fifty years after its destruction. When the Santhome Church was repaired in the beginning of the current century, many stones with edicts were found there. Among them one mentions Poompavai, the girl whom Tirujnanasambandar is said to have miraculously revived from her ashes kept in an urn.

These are all matters of the forgotten past. Both the Kapaleeswara Temple and the Santhome Church are now thriving and catering to the spiritual needs of the Hindus and the Christians. In such a situation it is better not to rake up the memories of these unpleasant facts. According to forward-looking people many things of the past are better forgotten than remembered and ruminated upon. The history of the Kapaleeswara Temple and Santhome Church belongs to this category.

But the priests of the Santhome Church will not allow this. They want to keep the flame of fanaticism bright. It is distressing to note the following passage in C.A. Simon’s write-up in the Indian Express of 30 December 1989:

Today Santhome has in its possession only a piece of bone and the metal spearhead with which the saint was assassinated at Madras. These are under the safe custody of the priests. It is exposed for public veneration during the annual solemn novena for the feast of St. Thomas on July 3rd every year.

What is still more threatening is the concluding sentence:

Fr. Charles, assistant priest, further informed this writer that there may be celebrations on the 3rd of every month, starting from January 1990 onwards, with the help of the parishioners.

This attempt to keep up the fanaticism of the minority may inflame the fanaticism of the majority too, and lead to situations like the Babri Masjid controversy. All right-thinking men should foresee and avoid the occurrence of such a contingency.

Postscript

This article appeared in the June 1990 issue of The Vedanta Kesari, published by the Sri Ramakrishna Math in Mylapore, Madras. It had been submitted three months earlier to the Indian Express, Madras, but had elicited no response from the “fearless” newspaper—though, as will be seen, the resident editor was fully aware of its existence in his office.


Ram Swarup


Ram Swarup of New Delhi, on reading the article, sent a letter to The Vedanta Kesari editor on June 27th:

Reference Swami Tapasyananda’s piece, “The Legend of a Slain Saint to Stain Hinduism”, in your journal of June 1990. I beg to point out respectfully that a most excellent article has been marred by a bad ending. Can’t we in all veracity speak of Semitic iconoclasm without first accusing ourselves of fanaticism? And where is the much feared Hindu fanaticism in the so-called Babri Masjid controversy? Does it consist in our remembering that fanatic forces destroyed our temples and that we must do something about it? But must we start indulging in self-condemnation even before we have started doing anything and the issues have joined? In the language of the Gita, this state of mind comes from hridaya-daurbalyam and karpanya-dosha and can achieve little.

The psychological disarmament of Hinduism has been going on for a long time and we have learnt to pull down our defences even before we have built them. Unfortunately, it has been often preached by some of the best minds of Hinduism.

This letter was not published in the magazine. The Vedanta Kesari does not publish letters to the editor.

We had also sent copies of Swami Tapasyananda’s article to C.A. Simon, the Archbishop of Madras at Santhome, and the Indian Express editor. C.A. Simon was the only one to respond with a letter on August 9th. He had learned from the Express Weekend editor that we planned to include his article in the appendix of a book, and though he had not yet been informed of the project, he wrote:

Thank you for sending me the xerox copies of the articles written by Swami Tapasyananda and published by Vedanta Kesari.

My interest in that article is purely academic as I am not championing anybody’s cause. Also I was not aware of the version given in your letter or in the article.

Main sources for my article was two books:

  1. In the Steps of St. Thomas by Rt. Rev. Herman D’Souza.
  2. St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia edited by Sri George Menachery.

A few of the leaflets were also referred for the article. A facsimile of postal stamp released by Govt. of India during the occasion (said to be) of the 19th centenary in 1972 also was seen. The speech given by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, former president of India, “Remember St. Thomas came to India …” was also referred.

I am trying to say that the article was not written with any malafide (sic) intention, and I was not aware of the controversial version given by Sri Sita Ram Goel. Since I am aware of it now I note to honour the other version also.

I learned that you are going to publish a book and intend to include my article as the Christian version. As I do not stand for any religious sect or group you may desist from doing so. Instead you may refer to more authoritative works of this subject if you feel so.

Being a scholar of great understanding about the subject, I hope, you may take this in proper spirit.

You may bring this to notice of Swami Tapasyananda in order to clear any misunderstanding.

Kindly acknowledge this letter. You may feel free to write to me.

We did indeed acknowledge this letter and replied to it on August 14th as follows:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 9th.

My essay on the myth of St. Thomas has been written in reply to your article which appeared in the Indian Express of 30 December 1989.

Considering this, and that you and the Indian Express initiated the controversy by publishing the sly communal tale as Madras city history, you can hardly ask me to desist from reprinting it.

Your article is the subject of public discussion and a necessary reference, and is being reproduced as an appendix to my reply.[2]

It is difficult to believe that your interest in St. Thomas is only academic. You have not named any unbiased scholar nor given any credible academic reference.

In fact you have written an excellent piece of Roman Catholic propaganda—in the steps of Rt. Rev. Herman D’Souza who went to great lengths to manipulate Indian history and vilify Hindus in his work—and I must congratulate you on your success.

As you quote Marco Polo and Rajendra Prasad as proof that St. Thomas came to India, so Indians will now quote you and the Indian Express as further proof that St. Thomas came to India.

Your letter amounts to a disclaimer and should really be directed to the editor of the Indian Express, but if you wish to communicate further with me you are of course welcome to do so.

This was the end of the correspondence. C.A. Simon did not communicate further with us and as no disclaimer appeared in the Express Weekend, it may be assumed that neither he nor his editor regretted the publication of the “historical” communal tale in Indian Express columns.


1. Thomas of Cana and the seventy-two Syrian families arrived in 345 CE. They were the first Christians to arrive in India. Swami Tapasyananda has made an error here and identified the Jerusalem merchant with a later migration from West Asia. All early Christian groups in Malabar, whether called Nazaranis (Nasranis) or Nestorians, were of Syrian or Persian origin. They were divided into two basic groups: those who married Indians and those who did not.

2. In the first edition of this book, published in February, 1991, where Simon’s article appears in the appendix.


1 – Archbishop Arulappa’s history project goes terribly wrong – K.P. Sunil;


“The Christian Church of India, considered to be amongst the oldest in the world, is believed to have been founded by St. Thomas in 52 A.D. Arulappa held the view that St. Thomas, before his martyrdom on a hill near Madras, now called St. Thomas Mount, met Tiruvalluvar and influenced the bard to the extent of converting him to the nascent faith. The theory had been propounded. What remained to be obtained was proof of such an occurrence.” – K.P. Sunil


St. Thomas and his Hindu assassin


The case has been closed. And the dramatis personae prefer to maintain a studied silence. For fear that a post-mortem would reveal hidden cadavers in their cupboards. For even a superficial examination of the fraud that shook the foundations of the Catholic Church in Madras in the late seventies and early eighties indicates that a lot of embarrassing details have been swept under the mat.

Reverend Dr. R. Arulappa, former archbishop of the Madras diocese, who claims to have been duped by one Acharya Paul, also known as Ganesh Iyer, is ill. Incapacitated by serious cardiac problems. In fact, it is his ill-health that forced him to retire from his post as head of the diocese. So the infamous scandal had to be pieced together from court records, police files and the ramblings of the main character – Ganesh Iyer.

It all began in the early seventies. Ganesh Iyer, who had adopted the Christian faith and was a self-styled Bible preacher known as John Ganesh, went to Tiruchi in the course of his evangelical journeys and met a Catholic priest Father Michael of the Tamil Illakiya Kazhagam (Tamil Literary Society). He is reported to have presented himself to the priest as Dr. John Ganesh, professor of philosophy and comparative religions at the Banaras university, and recently returned from Jammu and Kashmir where he was involved in research on Christianity in India. Michael put him on to another priest, Father Mariadas of Sriviliputhur.

John Ganesh impressed Mariadas with his mastery over Christian theology. He showed him copies of notices extolling him as a speaker. He reportedly produced letters written to him by various scholars in the fields of education and religion. He is also reported to have shown Mariadas photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions several centuries old.

These documents, he reportedly claimed, traced the origins and development of the Christian faith in India. Since further research on the subject required money which John Ganesh claimed not to have, Mariadas took upon himself the task of locating funds for the project the successful completion of which, he felt, would provide a shot in the arm for Christianity in India.

Mariadas gave John Ganesh something in the range of  Rs. 22,000 toward the research. And as his own funds were depleted, he introduced the researcher to the head of the Catholic Church in Madras, R. Arulappa.


Former Archbishop of Madras R. Arulappa


Arulappa was a Tamil scholar who also had the reputation of being a researcher. He had translated the New Testament into Tamil and set to tune the Book of Psalms. He had also rendered in Tamil the life of Christ, Ulagin Uyir (“The Life of the World”). He had learned Sanskrit and translated several Christian tenets into that language. He had also done extensive research on Tirukkural, the creation of the Tamil bard, Tiruvalluvar.

Tiruvalluvar is known to modern generations through his immortal literature. The exact time of his existence is lost in the mists of the hoary past. Some historians believe Tiruvalluvar to be a product of the early Sangam period in Tamil literature, several centuries before Christ. The Tamil Nadu government bases its calendar on the year of his birth. For this purpose, it is assumed that Tiruvalluvar was born exactly 2018 years ago [this article was written in 1987], i.e. in the first century before Christ. Some literary experts place Tiruvalluvar in the first century after Christ, others date him 300 years after.


Tiruvalluvar


Just as little is known about Tiruvalluvar’s origins, his religious beliefs are also shrouded in some mystery. Attempts have been made, going by the precepts contained in his verse, to speculate about his religion. While he is widely believed to have been a Hindu and the Tirukkural considered a revered Hindu scripture, other religions too have staked a claim on him. Since the Tirukkural enshrines the ideals of ahimsa, dharma and asceticism, many experts consider Tiruvalluvar to have been considerably influenced by Jain thought.

A recent paper presented by Dr. S. Padmanabhan makes Tiruvalluvar out to be a Hindu chieftain from the Kanyakumari district. Archbishop Arulappa felt that the Tirukkural was so profound and filled with compassionate sentiments that it must have been influenced by early Christian missionaries who came to South India in the first century after Christ, notably St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ.

The Christian Church of India, considered to be amongst the oldest in the world, is believed to have been founded by St. Thomas in 52 A.D. Arulappa held the view that St. Thomas, before his martyrdom on a hill near Madras, now called St. Thomas Mount, met Tiruvalluvar and influenced the bard to the extent of converting him to the nascent faith. The theory had been propounded. What remained to be obtained was proof of such an occurrence.

It was this that Ganesh Iyer, posing as John Ganesh, reportedly promised to unearth for the archbishop.

Since this suited the archbishop’s scheme and since Arulappa was convinced that Ganesh was in a position to ferret out the evidence necessary to prove his pet theory, he engaged him to take up the research. The archbishop was apparently lulled into complacency by Ganesh’s mastery of Christian theology and his apparent sincerity of purpose. As if establishing a nexus between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar were not enough, John Ganesh also informed the archbishop that he could bring evidence that the three wise men from the East who prophesied the birth of Christ were none other than the epic Hindu sages, Vasistha, Viswamithra and Agasthya.

In 1975-76, John Ganesh began his research. And the archbishop started funding the same.

Ganesh produced photographs of palm leaf writings and copper plate inscriptions at periodic intervals. When the archbishop asked to see the originals, he was informed that they were stashed away in the safe custody of the archaeological departments and museums all over the country. It would therefore, not be possible to persuade these agencies to part with the priceless documents. He, however, promised to get his photographs authenticated by the respective agencies themselves. Thereafter, all photographs produced by Ganesh Iyer before the archbishop bore seals of the museums and departments from which he claimed to have obtained them.

Using the funds provided by the archbishop, Ganesh Iyer made a pretense of travelling extensively. It was a well-orchestrated programme. He would first inform the archbishop that he was going to Kashmir in connection with his research.

Next, the archbishop would receive letters from some Christian and Hindu religious heads in Kashmir informing him that they had come across Ganesh Iyer or, as he now called himself, Acharya Paul. The letters spoke in superlative terms about his sincerity of purpose and his noble research.

Whatever doubts the archbishop may have entertained about his researcher vanished in the face of these letters from eminent personages. More money changed hands. Though he was quite poor when he first met the archbishop, by the time he was through, Iyer had his own house in Srirangam. He owned two cars. He had purchased considerable gold jewelery for his wife and daughters. He had substantial deposits in banks in his name.

Most of the funds for the research had come from individuals and organisations abroad. If Iyer is to be believed, the archbishop even made out his personal car in Iyer’s name for a nominal Rs. 25,000. Iyer himself claims that he had not paid anything.

Questions were being asked around this time about the large sums of money being given to Acharya Paul for his research. The sceptics demanded proof that something tangible, that would benefit Christianity in the long run, had indeed been achieved. Only the archbishop’s pre-eminence prevented a direct confrontation.

In 1976, Iyer obtained a passport in the name of Acharya Paul. In 1977, accompanied by the archbishop, he went abroad. To the Vatican, among other places, where he had a lengthy audience with Pope Paul VI. The duo then visited several religious congregations and spoke about comparative religions. Everywhere he went, he spoke about the origins of Christianity in India and about his “monumental” research while the archbishop displayed the evidence. Money was collected for funding further research.

During their absence from India, individuals inimical to John Ganesh had organised themselves into a powerful force. Even as he was relaxing in his home in Srirangam after his return, the archbishop was pressurised to file a complaint with the police. That he had been duped by Ganesh Iyer who had claimed to be a bachelor, but was in reality a married man. That he had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of around Rs. 14 lakhs in the name of research into Christianity.

Investigations into the sordid episode began. The police, led initially by Inspector Seshadri and later by Inspector Chandrayaperumal, searched Iyer’s residence. They unearthed the  originals of all the photographs produced by Iyer as proof of his research-writings on strips of brown paper cut to resemble medieval palm frond writings, pasted on sheets of white paper. The police learnt that the photographs had been taken at a studio in Tiruchi and this led to the seizure of all the relevant negatives.

The police discovered how the photographs had been authenticated by various institutions-seals and rubber stamps of all the concerned institutions were lying in Iyer’s home. Letter-heads bearing the names of various Hindu and Christian scholars were recovered. The letters purported to have been received by Iyer from these personages, which he allegedly used to dupe Mariadas and later the archbishop, were declared to be clever forgeries by the state handwriting expert Srinivasan. The writing on these and the writing on the brown paper, though cleverly disguised, compared favourably with Iyer’s specimen. Account books showing details of amounts received from the archbishop and the amounts spent by him were recovered.

Iyer’s antecendents were thoroughly investigated and it was proved that he was a middle school dropout, not having studied beyond standard seven. Further confirmation was obtained from the Banares university that they did not have Dr. John Ganesh on their staff either teaching or doing research into philosophy and comparative religions.

The police case was complete. On April 29, 1980, Iyer was arrested and placed under remand, while prosecution proceedings were instituted under sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 473 (making and possessing counterfeit seals with intent to commit forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and under section 12-B of the Indian Passports Act (obtaining a passport supplying false information).

Archbishop Arulappa testified against Iyer before the court. Iyer initially pleaded innocence, but later admitted to the fraud on all counts. He prayed that in view of his advancing age and critical family circumstances, he be shown leniency.

On February 6, 1986, P. Aruvudayappan, second metropolitan magistrate, Madras, delivered his judgment in case number 100087/82: “Taking advantage of the soft attitudes of public witnesses 2 and 3 (Father Mariadas and Father Arulappa),” he averred, “the defendant (Ganesh Iyer) had taken from them about Rs. 13.5 lakhs between 1975 and 1980. This has been clearly established. Taking into consideration the nature of the offenses, the defendant is being held guilty under various sections of the I.P.C. and has to undergo 10 months imprisonment and 5 month’s rigorous imprisonment under section 12-B of the Indian Passports Act. These sentences are to run concurrently. He had been arrested on April 29, 1980 and let off on bail on June 27, 1980. These 59 days of imprisonment are to be deducted from the total sentence as required under section 428 of the code of criminal procedure.”

The magistrate’s judgment notwithstanding, doubts still linger. Why were the archbishop’s suspicions not aroused until he had handed over a whopping Rs. 13,49,250 (according to records, though Iyer claims to have received far in excess of that sum) on a spurious research project? Why had the archbishop not bothered to verify the authenticity of the “documents” produced by Iyer with the museums and other institutions concerned, directly? Why did he not bother to accompany Iyer to the actual site of his “research” when he had found time to accompany him to Rome, the Vatican, Germany, France, Spain, the United States?

With the archbishop still indisposed, answers to these questions are not forthcoming.

What is even more curious is that even as criminal proceedings against Iyer were in progress in the magistrate’s court, a civil suit for a compromise had been filed in the Madras high court. The compromise decree was taken up immediately after the conclusion of the criminal case. Since Iyer had admitted the offense, his jail term was reduced to a mere two months imprisonment. And since he had already served 59 days of remand, this period was adjusted against the sentence.

In other words, Iyer, who had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of about Rs. 14 lakhs, was let off without any further punishment. He was ordered to forfeit all claim on the money given to him by the archbishop. Accordingly, the ornaments and money seized from him by the police were returned to the archbishop. As part of the compromise, Iyer was allowed to retain the large bungalow he had purchased with the archbishop’s money.

“I agreed to this compromise because there was nothing else I could do,” says Iyer. His viewpoint in understandable. For, going by the lower court’s verdict, he would have not only had to serve 5 months of rigorous imprisonment, but would have automatically had to forfeit all his properties including the house. Why the archbishop agreed to the compromise is not understandable.

Today Ganesh Iyer lives on the first floor of his house in Srirangam—the lower portion is let out on rent, enabling him to receive a monthly income. He is by no means affluent, but is certainly a far cry from the penury to which his family and he would have been consigned, if it were not for the compromise. Father Arulappa is convalescing, recovering from a major surgery. He has handed over the mantle of archbishop to Reverend G. Casimir on health grounds .

And the case, though officially closed, remains in many minds, an unsolved mystery.[1]

Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese


1. Originally published under the title “Hoax!” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26 – May 2, 1987, Bombay.


2 – Archbishop Arulappa sends his document forger to jail – Ganesh Iyer & K.P. Sunil


“When some celebrations were held in Kerala over two decades ago, Jawaharlal Nehru, our then prime minister, who attended the functions, asked the learned priests who had gathered: “Is it really true that St. Thomas came to India?” Nobody answered him. They merely smiled. They were unable to answer his query because they had no proof.” – Ganesh Iyer


Forger with beard (for illustrative purpose only).


His frame is sparse. He looks older than his 67 years. His white attire is crumpled and dirty. It is torn in a few places, indicating obvious paucity of finances. His long, flowing white beard gives him an ascetic look.

He speaks in spurts. In fluent Tamil and faultless English, unexpected in one who did not even complete his schooling. He is a great accumulator of books on a variety of subjects. From philosophy to religion, law to communism, in addition to complete sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Americana. He is capable of speaking at length on any subject. An ability that endeared him to several persons, notably the Archbishop of Madras.

Ganesh Iyer, Paul Ganesh, John Ganesh, Janakiram Ganesh, Paul Gouthaman, Acharya Paul …

Iyer was initially hesitant to talk to The Weekly about how he allegedly defrauded the Catholic mission in India of Rs. 14 lakhs. “The case has only now come to an end,” he explains. “My opponents tried everything to crucify me before coming to a sort of compromise. I do not wish to tell you the truth of the whole affair. Because that will infuriate them further and they might renew their attacks on me. And I am financially in no position to defend myself, leave alone retaliate.”

On his background

“I have not had much by way of formal education. Only up to standard seven. My father was very poor and could not afford to educate his children much. He moved from his native village of Kannadikaathan in Ramnad district to Ceylon. It was there that I came into intimate contact with a college professor, A.H. Williams. He taught me English. He also introduced me to Christianity. I became so proficient in English that very soon, on my return to my native village, I was giving tuitions to some students.”

On his association with Christianity

“I read a lot of books on Christianity. I became convinced that Christ was the almighty God – the saviour of the world. I voluntarily converted myself to Christianity. Nobody forced me or compelled me. I changed my name to John Ganesh. I started addressing prayer meetings and preaching. I gained so much knowledge on the subject of Christianity that I was the main speaker at several conventions. The people so loved my talks that when it was advertised in newspapers, they just thronged to hear me.

“On one occasion, authorities even ran a special train to carry people coming to one of my meetings. My relatives did not object to my close links with Christianity because I was bringing in money. Though I was married, I was away most of the time and for the best part of 20 years, I had little contact with my family.”


Former Archbishop of Madras R. Arulappa


On his introduction to the Archbishop of Madras, Father Arulappa

“I reached a stage when I knew Christian theology better than most priests. I knew the Bible word for word. During my travels, I met some Catholic fathers in Sriviliputhur. They were quite taken aback by my knowledge of Christian theology. One of them took a fancy to me. It was he who introduced me to Father Arulappa. This was around 1973-74.”

On how he became a religious pioneer

“For the first three months Archbishop Arulappa treated me very nicely. I never even dreamt that one day he would misguide me. He used to frequently say: ‘Despite being Christians we do not have knowledge equal to yours on the subject. We are in a situation in which we have to learn Christianity from you.’

“I was perpetually short of money those days. And he used to give me some cash off and on.

“One day, he told me: ‘You have tremendous knowledge. Now I want you to do something for me. I have a long-standing desire which you alone can fulfil and in the process, you will be able to do a tremendous service for the cause of Christianity as well.’

“I asked him what he wanted me to do.

“‘Christianity,’ he said, ‘was in India right from the beginning. But the general impression is that it had been brought here by foreigners. I want to prove to the world,’ he said, ‘that lots of evidence exists in our country to prove that Christianity was here all along. I am not interested in spreading this finding among Indians. But I want it to be taken to the Westerners. It is they who are perpetuating the theory that they brought Christianity to India. I want you to do something in this connection.’

“He told me that he had written a book in Tamil, Perinba Villakku, in which he had propounded the theory that Tiruvalluvar was a Christian. I later found out that the book was not a popular one at all. That even today copies of it are gathering dust in bookstalls all over the country. He wanted me to do some work based on the contents of that book. Though Tiruvalluvar and St. Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s twelve disciples, had lived in different periods, he wanted me to unearth evidence to the effect that the two great personages had indeed met and that St. Thomas had converted Tiruvalluvar to Christianity and baptised him. He assured me: ‘If you do this successfully, both of us will become internationally famous. We will also get a lot of money. It will be very useful to you.’

“I had misgivings about the whole project. Because I knew that in India there were no ancient documents or monuments on Christianity. Some documents are there, no doubt, to the effect that St. Thomas came to India. But doubts still persist whether the person mentioned in those documents is indeed apostle Thomas or his disciple.

“In fact, when some celebrations were held in Kerala over two decades ago, Jawaharlal Nehru, our then prime minister, who attended the functions, asked the learned priests who had gathered: “Is it really true that St. Thomas came to India? Nobody answered him. They merely smiled. They were unable to answer his query because they had no proof.

“When I told the archbishop all this, he said: ‘If that is so, then we will have to concoct evidence to prove our point. Evidence like palm frond writings, copper plate inscriptions and all that.’ I did not like the plan one bit. But I wanted money. And this he promised to arrange for me. So I went along with him.”

On his modus operandi

“The archbishop had planned minutely how this was to be done. It was simple but ingenious. Simply brilliant, if perverted. He made me cut brown paper into long strips—irregular and uneven like ancient palm frond scrolls. I then wrote whatever he asked me to on these strips. I adopted a scrawl that was similar to ancient writings—often indecipherable. And the style of language was also lifted from the past. Laborious and involved.

“These strips of brown paper were then pasted with glue on white cardboard and then photographed. The photo print looked exactly like a photograph of ancient palm frond scrolls. The archbishop intended to pass these off to unsuspecting people as the real stuff. I was still hesitant. But a friend, Santiago, who used to work in a bank, advised me to go ahead and comply with the archbishop’s request.

“I made several such photographs. Hundreds, thousands. Entire portions of Tirukkural were written this way and interspersed with Christian thought. He used to give me money for expenses. Five thousand. Four thousand. Ten thousand. Whatever was left, he told me, I could keep for myself. And make myself comfortable. The money, he told me, came from abroad. It was for the specific purpose of my research. And so there was no necessity to account the same to the Church.”

On his growing intimacy with the archbishop

“I had informed the archbishop that I was a married man. Because of financial problems, I am roaming around looking for some money, I said. I do not wish to get involved in something illegal. I do not want to get into trouble. And my family should not suffer on that account.

“Whenever I used to voice such misgivings, the archbishop used to reassure me: ‘Don t worry. I’ll stand by you. No government or police will do anything against you. I will see to that. And no one in this diocese will dare do anything against my will.’ He repeated this to me several times, holding my hands in his.

“He also used to consult me on several other matters. In the archbishop’s residential complex in Madras, there is an ashram called Shanti Ashram. This was actually constructed under direction from me. He used to tell me that I was to him what St. Paul was to Jesus Christ.

“To drive home the point he even began calling me Paul. He began introducing me to others as Acharya Paul. He told me that he had informed everyone that the research on Tiruvalluvar and St. Thomas was being done by Acharya Paul, a bachelor—a brahmachari. He requested that I keep up this pretence before others. But he gave me enough money to keep my family happy.”

On the material benefits he derived out of this association

“This house in Srirangam in which I am still staying was bought with money given by the archbishop. I also purchased some jewellery for my wife and two daughters. I had an Ambassador car at that time. In addition, the archbishop gave me the car he was personally using. I did not pay him any money for this. But he showed in his books that he had sold it to me for Rs. 25,000.

“His constant refrain was: ‘You have whatever you want. But fulfil my life’s mission. You will not have any problems.’ I must have benefited to the tune of over Rs. 14 lakhs during my association with the archbishop.”

On the first rumble of trouble

“Many individuals in the Church resented my intimacy with the archbishop. I used to visit Madras frequently and on these occasions used to stay in some of the leading hotels there. The archbishop used to bear all these expenses.

“There were rumours at that time that some like Father D’Souza and Father Francis (the archbishop’s personal assistant) were likely to file a complaint against me before the police. But again, Father Arulappa assured me that no one under him would dare to breach his authority and file a complaint. He has even sent me letters which were seized by the police, to this effect.”

On his trip to the Vatican

“In 1977, the archbishop and I went to Rome. We visited the Vatican. And there I was presented to the Pope. The archbishop introduced me to the Pope as Acharya Paul, a great researcher who had done a lot to get at the roots of Christianity in India. He showed the Pope copies of some of the ‘documentary evidence’ I had unearthed.

“Let me tell you one thing. The Pope, great man that he was, was not impressed. Though he was saying very good, very good all the while, he took the photographs in his hands, glanced at them and then just let them fall out of his hands.

“He did not care for them. Nor did he pay much heed to what the archbishop was saying. But he was very kind to me. Despite the fact that several dignitaries including heads of states were waiting for an audience, he spent about 20 minutes with me.”

On how he was finally exposed

“From the Vatican, we toured several places in Europe and finally returned to India. I straight away went to my home in Srirangam. Since I did not hear from the archbishop for a number of days, I went over to Madras to meet him. It was then that he told me that during his absence, things had taken a turn for the worse. Someone had filed a complaint before the police, he informed me. But there is no cause for worry. ‘When the matter comes to court, I only have to say a word and the case will be dropped.’ I worried a lot, nevertheless.

“Immediately after, the police came. They raided my house and searched all over. They seized all documents and letters pertaining to the case. And they arrested me and placed me under remand. They seized my bank accounts and interrogated my family members.

“I was made out to be a cheat, and a fraud. They even made out a case against me that I had taken a passport using a false name and a false address. In the passport my name was Acharya Paul, the name given to me by Archbishop Arulappa. The application had been made out by him and he had given my address as care of the archbishop’s residence in Madras.

“So what wrong have I done? But who would listen to me? Who was there to talk on my behalf? No one. Why? Because everyone had been heavily bribed. That is why. I understand that they gave away as much as Rs. 15 lakhs by way of bribes.

“In the metropolitan magistrate’s court, they convicted me to 10 months imprisonment. Later, in the high court, acting on a compromise petition filed, the sentence was reduced to 2 months. As I had already been under remand for nearly that period, I was let off. As part of the compromise, I had to forfeit all that I had earned through the archbishop—my money, jewellery, everything except my house which I was permitted to retain. I have no complaints about all that.

“What I feel sad about is that I had done all this at the instance of the archbishop who had held all along that he would help me out at the time of trouble. But he himself came to court and testified that I had duped him and defrauded him of money. That was the last straw.”[1]


1. Originally published under the title “What Wrong Have I Done?” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26 – May 2, 1987, Bombay.


Madras Metropolitan Magistrate's Court


Is not Archbishop Chinnappa obliged to accept the Pope’s stand on St. Thomas in India? – V. Sundaram


“Every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is evil; for no one may judge the Pope.” – Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)


Former Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore A.M. Chinnappa:
Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese


A rupees 50 crore plus mega production in silver screen on St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have spread the Christian faith in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, is under way. This film is going to be launched as a major project by the Catholic Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore on 3 July 2008. This proposed film will deal with the story relating to the journey of St. Thomas to Edessa, a town in Syria in 29 AD. His travel through Persia to Taxila in modern Pakistan and return to Jerusalem will also be covered. It has been reported that the legend relating to his reaching Kerala in 52 AD and his subsequent 20 years of preaching the Christian faith in India will constitute the major part of the proposed film. St. Thomas’s meeting with Tiruvalluvar is going to be yet another interesting part of the story.

The unlimited capacity of the Catholic Archdiocese in Madras to manufacture fraudulent fables was brought to full public view in open court on 6  February 1986 when P. Aruvudayappan, II Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras delivered his judgment in criminal case No.100087/82. I am quoting below the operative portion of this judgment: “Taking advantage of the soft attitudes of public witnesses 2 and 3 (Father Mariadoss and Father Arulappa), the Defendant Ganesh Iyer had taken from them about Rs.13.5 lakhs between 1975 and 1980. This has been clearly established.”

How and why did Archbishop Arulappa hand over a whopping amount of Rs.13,49,250/- to Ganesh Iyer for a spurious research project on St. Thomas? Why had the Archbishop not bothered to verify the authenticity of the criminally fake ”documents” produced by Ganesh Iyer in support of his research thesis (which was originally proposed to him by Archbishop Arulappa himself!) Why did Archbishop Arulappa not deem it necessary to accompany Ganesh Iyer to the various sites of his ”research” in India when he had found adequate time to accompany him to Rome, the Vatican, Germany, France, Spain and the United States.

The story of the intimate intellectual relationship between Archbishop Arulappa and Ganesh Iyer (given the title of Acharya Paul by Archbishop Arulappa himself!) indeed constitutes a glorious landmark in the intellectual history of Christianity in India! Archbishop Arulappa had directed Acharya Paul to establish a nexus between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar, regardless of the concerns for exact chronology or authentic history. ”Scrupulous” Acharya Paul extended his full cooperation to the equally “Scrupulous” Archbishop! The whole story relating to this gigantic hoax was exposed in an article in The Illustrated Weekly of India in its issue dated April 26-May 2, 1987. This article, titled “Hoax!” was authored by K.P.Sunil. This very article was incorporated by Ishwar Sharan in his book on St. Thomas under the title “Archbishop Arulappa Makes History”.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Madras seems to be drawing its inspiration today from Archbishop Arulappa and Acharya Paul for establishing the spiritual relationship between St. Thomas and Tiruvalluvar in its proposed mega-film project on St. Thomas.


Syrian bishop with Pope Benedict


Pope Benedict has denied that St. Thomas brought Christianity to South India, a public statement that Archbishop Chinnappa apparently has ignored. In an attempt to understand the relationship between the Pope and his bishops, I have been reading in the Internet a series of articles on Rome’s fraudulent history by Dave Hunt. I am quoting below some excerpts from his brilliant book titled A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days by Dave Hunt.

“The Roman Catholic Pope has often been the most powerful religious and political figure on earth. This is true today, even though the Pope no longer has at his disposal the armies and navies of past Roman pontiffs…. The Vatican’s constituency of 980 million followers is at least three times the number of citizens in any Western democracy and is exceeded only by the population of China. Even more important, these 980 million people are scattered throughout the world, many of them holding high political, military, and commercial positions in non-Catholic countries. Moreover, the Pope has thousands of secret agents worldwide. They include Jesuits, the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Opus Dei, and others. The Vatican’s Intelligence Service and its field resources are second to none…. Remember, the Pope’s 980 million subjects are bound to him by religious ties, which are far stronger than any political loyalties could ever be. No secular government can compete with the motivational power of religious belief….”

The extra-ordinary position of the Pope in relation to members of the Church was expressed succinctly in Rome’s La Civilta Cattolica, which a papal journal described in the mid-nineteenth century as “the purest journalistic organ of true Church doctrine” (J.H. Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council) “It is not enough for the people only to know that the Pope is the head of the Church … they must also understand that their own faith and religious life flow from him; that in him is the bond which unites Catholics to one another, and the power which strengthens and the light which guides them; that he is the dispenser of spiritual graces, the giver of the benefits of religion, the upholder of justice, and the protector of the oppressed” (La Civilta Cattolica, 1867, Vol. XII).

The Catholic World in August 1871 (Vol. XIII) declared as follows: “Each individual must receive the faith and law from the Church with unquestioning submission and obedience of the intellect and the will…. We have no right to ask reasons of the Church, any more than of Almighty God…. We are to take with unquestioning docility whatever instruction the Church gives us”. The same requirement of unthinking submission is demanded in Vatican II. The Code of Canon Law likewise reasserts the same rule: “The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church” (James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel, eds., The Code of Canon Law, Canon 212, Section 1; Paulist Press, 1985).

In November 2006 Pope Benedict XVI had categorically stated that St. Thomas never visited South India. In the light of what has been stated above, is it not the inviolable duty of the Catholic Archdiocese of Madras to implicitly accept with reverence and humility the public stand taken by present Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of St. Thomas and his alleged visit to South India?[1][2]


1. This article is excerpted from a four-part article called “Fraudulent Myth of the Tomb of St. Thomas” which appeared on the News Today website on 2 to 5 July 2008. The original article can be accessed in the News Today archives.

2. See Pope Denies St. Thomas Evangelised South India.


Mythical Thomas, devious Deivanayagam, and conniving Church – B.R. Haran


“Tamil Hindus must understand that the Church is frustrated at the decimation of LTTE and would get back with more vigour and venom, applying different strategies. Tamil Hindus are certainly in for tougher and troubled times. The onus lies on the various Hindu organizations to rise to the occasion and thwart all attempts made by alien and chauvinistic forces.” – B.R. Haran


Seeman addressing Christian protesters at the Kapali Temple


Wrong  report, right action

It was shocking to see a report (with an accompanying photograph) in The New Indian Express (3 May 2010) titled, “Stir seeking right to worship”. The report said, “Members of the ‘Federation of All Self-Respecting Tamils’ observed a fast inside the Kapaleeswarar Temple demanding right to worship inside the temple in Mylapore. Federation president Mu. Deivanayagam[1] said the fast was to condemn one section which had hijacked the rights of Tamils to perform puja inside the sanctum sanctorum. He demanded the state government appoint unbiased interlocutors to resolve the issue and ensure the rights to perform puja inside the garbagraha as in Kasi Viswanathar Temple.”

The photograph showed film director Seeman, who shot to sudden (in)fame espousing the cause of LTTE, addressing the gathering of about two dozen people brought to the venue by Deivanayagam.

We at Hindu Dharma Padukappu Iyakkam (Hindu Dharma Protection Movement) were surprised as both Deivanayagam and Seeman are Christians and unashamedly anti-Hindu, and yet the Executive Officer of the famous temple had given (as per the report) permission to such dubious characters to protest inside a Hindu temple. Moreover, the issue taken up by the protestors is sub-judice, as the All Caste Archanas Ordinance passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly itself stands challenged in the Supreme Court of India.

At the same time, we were amused as there was every chance that the report was wrong, as it is quite common for newspapers and magazines to file factually wrong reports and then publish a regret note in some corner, if required. So we decided to confirm the veracity of the news report. Unsurprisingly, we learnt that the event had not happened inside Kapaleeswarar Temple and that New Indian Express had wrongly mentioned the venue as the Mylapore temple.

By afternoon, while preparing for the protest, we learnt that the hunger strike demo was actually conducted at Rajarathinam Stadium, Egmore, with due police permission. It was simply appalling that the police gave permission to Christian bullies to demonstrate on a Hindu cause, even if this was not inside the temple premises. We decided to register our protest with the Commissioner of Police.

CoP being unavailable, we met a senior official (Intelligence) and apprised him of our concerns and feelings of outrage. We felt strongly that the police had erred in giving permission to Christians to demonstrate on a Hindu issue and questioned the locus standi of the demonstrators. The official, who never expected a well-articulated protest, could not give convincing answers. Later, we submitted a complaint against Deivanayagam, who has a notorious track record of virulent anti-Hindu activities for over three decades.

Mythical Thomas and his fake Indian connection

The Western Christian elite, from Max Mueller to Macaulay, distorted our history and fed us their distortions. After independence, Marxists and other Western stooges took over as ‘historians’ and continued the dark and sinister legacy of the West. The mythical St.  Thomas was planted and thrust on South India by Western historians to give a solid foundation for Christianity in ancient India. Many attempts have been made at regular intervals to impose the concocted story of Thomas (his arrival, life in Mylapore and death at the hands of a Brahmin) on the people, thereby removing the facts about the persecution of Hindus and destruction of Hindu temples by Christian invaders (Portuguese, French, British) from the fifteenth century onwards.


Vailankanni Church: Originally the Vel Ilankanni Amman Temple taken over by the Portuguese in the 16th century.


The planting of the St. Thomas story was not only to have a foundation for Christianity in India, but also to spread it throughout the country. This fabrication succeeded slightly over the years in the areas of Madras, Nagapattinam and Puducherry, mainly because the Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Vel Ilankanni Amman Temple, Nagapattinam, and Vedapureeswarar Temple, Puducherry, were destroyed and Santhome Basilica, Velankanni Church (Our Lady of Health Basilica) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception built on their remains respectively. Well known scholars of archaeology have established that the details of the destruction of the original Kapaleeswarar Temple could be found in Tamil inscriptions on the walls of the Marundeeswarar Temple in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai!

The so-called history of St. Thomas had been totally demolished by historian Ishwar Sharan in The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, translated into Tamil in elegant prose by Dr. B.M. Sundaram. Historian Vedaprakash wrote a Tamil book titled Indiavil St. Thomas Kattukkathai (“Fake story of St. Thomas in India”). Both authentically establish that the Thomas story was hundred percent false.

The most important part of Ishwar Sharan’s research is the Vatican’s letter of September 11, 1996, to him saying,

“This Congregation for the Causes of Saints has received your letter of 26th August last in which you have asked for information regarding Saint Thomas’ presence in India. We have not found in our Archives the letter supposedly written by this Congregation on 13th November 1952, of which you speak, because of a lack of more precise data (Diocese, destination, etc.).[2] Nor do we have other data regarding Saint Thomas since this Archive was begun in 1588. His life is the object of the research of historians which is not the particular competence of this Congregation.”

No wonder Pope Benedict categorically said Thomas had never visited India!

The Arulappa-Acharya Paul show

Late Dr. Arulappa, former Archbishop of Mylapore, played a vital role in keeping the Thomas story alive despite being fooled by one Acharya Paul (formerly Ganesh Iyer), a Srirangam based Brahmin who converted to Christianity and became a Bible preacher. He claimed to have obtained a Doctorate from Benaras Hindu University and presented himself as Dr. John Ganesh, professor of philosophy and comparative religions. He met a Catholic priest, Father Michael, of Tamil Ilakkiya Kazhagam (Tamil Literary Forum) and impressed him with his articulation on the Bible and Christianity. Father Michael took him to Father Mariadas of Srivilliputhur, who in turn introduced him to Archbishop Arulappa.

Arulappa, who wanted to create some sort of “proof” for Thomas and his influence on Thiruvalluvar, was taken aback by the impressive presentation of John Ganesh and committed to finance his “research” to establish the Thomas story as authentic. Between 1975 and 1980, John Ganesh got Rs. 14 lakhs from Arulappa in the name of research. Realising very late that he had been taken for a ride, Arulappa made a police complaint and John Ganesh was arrested on April 29, 1980, after due investigations. Though the Madras High Court awarded him ten month rigorous imprisonment, he got away with just 59 days remand period due to the compromise petition filed by Arulappa.

Senior journalist K.P. Sunil wrote this full story under the title “Hoax!” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26 – May 2, 1987, Bombay. He concluded:

“What is even more curious is that even as criminal proceedings against Iyer were in progress in the magistrate’s court, a civil suit for a compromise had been filed in the Madras high court. The compromise decree was taken up immediately after the conclusion of the criminal case. Since Iyer had admitted the offence, his jail term was reduced to a mere two months imprisonment. And since he had already served 59 days of remand, this period was adjusted against the sentence.

“In other words, Iyer, who had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of about Rs. 14 lakhs, was let off without any further punishment. He was ordered to forfeit all claim on the money given to him by the archbishop. Accordingly, the ornaments and money seized from him by the police were returned to the archbishop. As part of the compromise, Iyer was allowed to retain the large bungalow he had purchased with the archbishop’s money….

“… And the case, though officially closed, remains in many minds, an unsolved mystery.”

Exit John Ganesh, enter Deivanayagam

As Dr. Arulappa’s attempt to establish the Thomas story was marred in legal tangles, the Catholic Diocese took the services of a low profile evangelist named Deivanayagam and encouraged him to spread the Thomas canard. While the court battle was going on between Arulappa and Acharya Paul (John Ganesh), Deivanayagam was busy “researching” the history of Thomas.

In 1985-86, he had authored a book titled, Viviliyam, Thirukkural, Saiva Siddantham – Oppu Aayvu, wherein he attempted to conclude that Thiruvalluvar was a Christian and a disciple of the mythical St. Thomas, and that most of the Saiva Siddantha and the vivid knowledge found in Thirukkural were nothing but the sayings of the Bible! To achieve this devious objective, he distorted and misinterpreted verses of the Kural and Shaivite philosophical works. The book was published by the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Adyar, Madras and a “Doctorate” was conferred on him by the University of Madras, which goes to confirm the unholy Dravidian-Christian nexus!

Senior Journalist R.S. Narayanaswami noted, “Justice Krishnaswami Reddiar strongly criticised the modern tendency of publishing trash in the name of research. He said research must have an aim, a purpose, to get at the truth. Research was not meant to find evidence to denigrate an ancient faith. Research should not start with pre-conclusions or prejudices. Here the author’s motive was to show the superiority of Christianity. Religion was based not only on facts but also on faith and beliefs. The book had hurt Hindu beliefs. Justice Krishnaswami Reddiar quoted from the works of Sita Ram Goel and Ishwar Sharan and asserted that the visit of St. Thomas to India was a myth. He wondered how such a book could be published by [the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Adyar, Madras,] set up by the Government. It was a crime that such a book had been written and published and awarded a doctorate degree [by the University of Madras,] he said.” (Ref: https://wp.me/pLasb-aB)

Since then Deivanayagam has been writing and publishing many books, all offensive against Hinduism.

Pope’s shocker results in film production!

As the Catholic Diocese was devising other strategies, Pope Benedict’s statement “St. Thomas never visited India” fell on its head like lightning. This resounding statement from the Papacy, which shocked the Catholic community, shook the very foundations of Christianity in South India! As the Papacy didn’t bother to listen to the Indian Catholic community, the Madras and Cochin Bishops met in Cochin, Kerala, during the second week of June 2008, to find out ways and means of re-establishing the history of the so-called St. Thomas.

As a step in that direction, the Archdiocese of Santhome, Madras, decided to produce a feature film on the mythical St. Thomas, at a cost of Rs. 50 crores, under the banner of the St. Thomas Apostle of India Trust; the office bearers included Archbishop A.M. Chinappa, Deputy Archbishop Lawrence Pius, Treasurer of the Diocese Ernest Paul and Script Writer Paulraj Lourdusamy.


Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi & San Thome Bishops: Promoting the St. Thomas tale at the expense of Indian history.


The movie will present the life and times of the mythical St. Thomas in South India in general and Madras in particular. It will have supposedly important events like the alleged meeting between Thomas and Tamil sage Thiruvalluvar, establishment of Santhome Cathedral and alleged killing of Thomas by a Brahmin priest. As confirmation of the unholy Dravidian-Christian nexus, the Hon’ble Chief Minister Karunanidhi inaugurated this movie-magnum on the mythical St. Thomas!

In his speech, the Chief Minister did not mention the alleged meeting between Thomas and Thiruvalluvar. Karunanidhi, being a Tamil scholar and well versed with Tamil literary works, refrained from talking about the connection between the Bible and Thirukkural or Thomas and Thiruvalluvar, thus confirming that the “Thomas story” is an absolute falsehood!

But true to his policy of minority appeasement and majority provocation, he waxed eloquent on the supposed killing of Thomas by a Brahmin and went on to say that the particular scene alone would be enough for the success of the movie, though the church does not have an iota of proof of this alleged murder! The Chief Minister, a well-known expert on Thirukkural, felt it unimportant to ascertain the truth of the so-called meeting between Thomas and Thiruvalluvar. He knows well that questioning the historicity of Thomas will cost him votes, unlike questioning the historicity of Rama or Krishna!

After the much touted inauguration, there has been no information about the film. It is not clear if the Diocese has shelved the idea of producing the film on mythical Thomas (Ref: https://wp.me/pLasb-5P9).


Mu. Deivanayagam


Thamizhar Samayam or Thoma Kiruththuvam (Tamil Religion or Thomas Christianity)

Close on the heels of the inauguration function, Deivanayagam organized a four-day meet titled “Thamizhar Samayam – Muthal Ulaka Maanaadu” from August 14-17, 2008, under the aegis of Dravida Anmeega Iyakkam (Movement of Dravidian Spiritualism), a movement started by him to spread the canard called “Thomas Christianity” in the name of “Adi Christhuvam” (Early Christianity). The event was backed by the Mylapore Archdiocese which hosted the event in its own premises in Santhome near Mylapore.

Here, the following blasphemous distortions were projected as researched facts:

  • Adi Christhuvam (early Christianity), promulgated and established in Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas, is the original religion of the Tamils.
  • The Aryan invaders distorted Thomas Christianity and conceived new concepts called Shaivism and Vaishnavism and hence they must be treated as sub-sects of Thomas Christianity.
  • The holy trinity of Father-Son-Holy Spirit is denoted by Shiva-Muruga-Shakti and the same is also denoted by Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra.
  • The “holy trinity” concept has beautified Indian religions. The “Holy Spirit-Father” combination can be identified with “Ardhanarisvarar” and “Sankaranarayanar” formations.
  • St Thomas’s teachings abound in Thirukkural and Sage Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St Thomas.

Due to the timely posting of an article titled, “St. Thomas who taught Tamils to think” by famous Tamil writer and novelist Jeyamohan in his blog www.jeyamohan.in and timely action by www.tamilhindu.com and some individual Hindu activists, Deivanayagam tasted defeat and his four-day meet ended in miserable failure. Later he released a book titled Thiruneeraa, Siluvaiya? (Sacred Ash, Or, The Cross?), which piled on fresh distortions:

  • The Hindu practice of applying sacred ash on the forehead actually started from Ash Wednesday the first day of the Lent Penance. The sacred ash comprises within it all the three stages of ‘Death, Resurrection & Pardon due to the fact that the ash cannot be destroyed, as the resurrected body cannot be destroyed.
  • When Vaishnavism got separated from Shaivism, the style of applying sacred ash was changed from horizontal pattern to vertical pattern.
  •  Shiva is supposed to have given his left half to Shakti. If that left half is worshipped as woman, it becomes Shaivism and if the same is worshipped as man it becomes Vaishnavism.
  •  Thiruneetru Pathigam, a collection of Shaivite Hymns sung by Sage Thirugnaana Sambandhar comprises a number of messages of Christianity.
  • All Shaivite literatures namely Thirumurai, Thevaram, Thiruvasagam and Thirupathigam do not talk about the four Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva; as they carry the messages of Christ, the Bible is the only Veda.

Hindu Munnani president Ramagopalan filed a complaint with the then Commissioner of Police in November 2008, but the Tamil Nadu Police has so far not taken any action against Deivanayagam. Hindu Munnani failed to pursue the matter further despite Deivanayagam slapping a legal notice against it.

The Sri Lankan connection

Late last month, Deivanayagam proclaimed in an interview to Tamil biweekly Nakkeeran that he and his supporters would storm into the Kapaleeswarar Temple and capture it, as it was constructed on the ruins of a church, which allegedly stood at the site centuries ago! As a first step, he has organized a “hunger strike” with hand-picked supporters on May 2, 2010. His further plans include:

  • May 10 – 20: workshop for volunteers to involve them in the forthcoming protest.
  • May 23: March from Thiruvalluvar Temple, Mylapore, to Santhome Basilica and Kapaleeswarar Temple; public meeting near temple.
  • June 13: Storming and entering sanctum sanctorum of Kapaleeswarar Temple and Santhome Church to perform pujas and conduct prayers.

Deivanayagam claims to have conducted a meeting uniting three categories of people namely, Tamil-Hindus who have got liberated from enslaving Brahminical thoughts, Tamil-Hindus who have got liberated from enslaving European Christian thoughts, and Tamil-Hindus who follow atheism, on December 27, 2009, under the aegis of Federation of All Self-Respecting Tamils. This was followed by a meeting on February 27, 2010, wherein they resolved to liberate Kapaleeswarar Temple from Brahmin priests through various agitations.

Deivanayagam claims the present Santhome Church was originally a Shiva temple built on the grave of St. Thomas and that the present Kapaleeswara Temple was originally a church! The inclusion of Santhome Church in the protest march and storming entry agitation is just a ploy to show he is also against the Church. He pretends he is not a Christian and that he practices only “Tamil Religion” (Thamizh Samayam, or, Thomas Christianity). But the fact remains that the Mylapore Archdiocese (present head Archbishop Chinnappa) has stood solidly behind all his activities for more than 30 years. The very fact that he is able to peddle nonsensical theories, author books on the same, and print and publish them without any known sources of income for over three decades confirms that the Catholic Church is backing him.

On March 27, 2010, he wrote to the Chief Minister requesting him to liberate Kapaleeswarar Temple from Brahmin priests which would have special significance to the World Classical Tamil Conference. Copies were marked to Minister and Commissioner of HR & CE Department. The same day, he shot off letters to Archbishop of Mylapore and Head Priest of Kapaleeswarar Temple conveying his plans to storm both Santhome Basilica and the temple.

On April 2, he wrote to Tamil Nadu BJP President Pon. Radhakrishnan of his plans to storm the temple.

On April 18, he wrote to the Chief Minister reminding him of his previous letter and demands. He urged the Chief Minister to appoint unbiased scholars as interlocutors to conduct his proposed dialogues with the Church and Temple authorities. Copies were marked to Mylapore Archbishop, Temple’s Head Priest, HR & CE Department and others.

On April 16, he wrote to the Commissioner of Police requesting permission to for a hunger strike near Rajarathinam Stadium on May 2, which was permitted. Previously, when he sought to conduct a demonstration on April 14, against the Brahmin community, the police refused permission citing law and order problems.

On April 22, he again wrote to the archbishop and temple’s head priest that he had informed the chief minister and other authorities of his plan of action. He mentioned that the Archbishop of Mylapore had agreed for talks and asked the Head Priest to reply at the earliest.

As mentioned in the police complaint lodged by Hindu activists on May 3, 2010, Deivanayagam has a notorious track record of virulent anti-Hindu activities for over 30 years. Deivanayagam takes advantage of the tolerance shown by Hindus, who have also made the mistake of ignoring him for many years. The hunger strike conducted by him and Seeman indicates a new trend – the development of an unholy nexus between Christianity and Tamil Chauvinism. This combination, in the absence of the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, will seek to destabilize society by playing “caste-cards” and “Tamil-cards”, both aimed at Hindus.

As observed by Radha Rajan, editor of Vigil Online, “This new convergence of interest between Deivanayagam and the violent Tamil extremists like Seeman is a new trend and is headed only in this direction:

  • The Sri Lankan Tamil issue is for now over. The extermination of the LTTE has denied the violent Tamil extremists in TN all avenues for creative self-expression and has brought their political career to an abrupt end. The Tamil extremists in TN and Sri Lanka in turn play the roles of engine and coach. Whenever the LTTE found the going tough for them in Sri Lanka they hitched themselves to the ideological engine in TN to keep themselves going. Whenever the LTTE gained in strength in Sri Lanka, the Tamil extremists in TN hitched themselves to the militarily powerful LTTE engine. It has been a mutually profitable association for both sides.
  • The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in the US, Canada and Europe funded the extremists in both countries generously as did all Church denominations in Sri Lanka, America and Europe. Now that the Tamil Diaspora is scattered in North America and Europe and the TN extremists have been deprived of their military might and the LTTE decimated in Sri Lanka, one leg of the Tamil tripod – LTTE, TN Tamil extremists and the Tamil Diaspora – has been sawed off. The TN leg is shaking, while the Diaspora leg even if it is strong in itself, cannot support the tripod alone.
  • The idea is to strengthen the shaking TN leg and inject blood into a lifeless limb. The only way to keep the idea of the Christian state of Tamil Eelam alive is to keep the pot boiling in TN – keep this violent constituency united on an issue and keep them from being scattered. If there is one thing all Dravidians have in common, it is their congenital anti-Hindu hatred. Karunanidhi may find Tamil extremism in TN courts difficult to explain to judges here and in Delhi, but he can point the blood-thirsty ghouls in the direction of TN’s Hindus to turn them away from the police and the government.
  • So, in the guise of Tamil pride, the violent Seeman, Thol Thirumalvalavan, Pazha Nedumaran and other erstwhile LTTE acolytes are now being actively courted by Christian Tamil priests to take up the cause of demanding that all castes be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of all TN temples to offer poojas.
  • TN’s Hindu organizations have long disappeared from public life and the field is empty of all protest and challenge. The TN government and the Church have nothing to lose and everything to gain by pointing this violent group in the direction of Hindus and Hindu temples.
  • They stand to gain if the Dravidian parties abjure separatism and seek a huge bite in the Delhi pie; they stand equally to gain if the church succeeds in realizing the Christian state of Tamil Eelam from out of TN and the north and east of Sri Lanka. They may even concede their own Pakistan in Amparai if the Christian state of Eelam comes into being.”
  • When the Eelam War-IV was at its peak and LTTE was getting decimated, Theivanayagam planned a demonstration at Memorial Hall in Chennai on April 7, 2009, in the name of “Thamizh Eezham Vendi Thamizhar Samaya Maanaadu” (Tamil Religious Conference Demanding Tamil Eelam). But police refused permission. In the literatures prepared for the conference, he claimed:
  • Sri Lanka connected with Tamil Nadu was a part of Kumari Kandam (Continent of Kumari aka Lemuria) before it was separated by Tsunami.
  • Eelam Tamils are original inhabitants of Sri Lanka; Sinhalese migrated from India during the time of Emperor Ashoka; the Tamil indentured labourers were sent by British government from India
  • Sinhala Buddhists are persecuting Eelam Tamils and the birth of Tamil Eelam is the only solution.
  • Tamil Eelam and Tamil Nadu will together constitute Tamil Nation via Thomas Christianity, which is the religion of Tamils.

This will help readers to understand the association of Tamil chauvinist and LTTE supporter Seeman with Christian Deivanayagam. We learn that Pazha Nedumaran, president, Tamil Nationalist Movement, and a known LTTE supporter, pulled out from participating in the event at the last minute.

Conclusion

Tamil Hindus must understand that the Church is frustrated at the decimation of LTTE and would get back with more vigour and venom, applying different strategies. Tamil Hindus are certainly in for tougher and troubled times. The onus lies on the various Hindu organizations to rise to the occasion and thwart all attempts made by alien and chauvinistic forces.

Hindus missed the opportunity first when Arulappa and Acharya Paul were fighting in court; they missed a second chance when Dharmapuram Adheenam demolished the perverted distortions of Deivanayagam; they missed a third opportunity when Deivanayagam organized a four-day conference hosted by Mylapore Archdiocese.

Here is yet another chance, which must be utilized at any cost. Deivanayagam’s theories are not only anti-Hindu but also anti-national. Lumpen elements like Deivanayagam and Seeman are a serious threat to communal harmony and national integration. Criminal complaints have to be registered demanding immediate police action. His premises must be raided, blasphemous books and materials confiscated, and financial sources screened.

The role played by the Catholic Church in backing him must be investigated. Simultaneously, watertight legal cases have to be filed to expose their nefarious activities and to assert the real identity and true history, and safeguard our temples and culture. Conferences and public meetings must be organized throughout the state to tell people the true story of Mylapore and the sham story of Santhome.

This is a perfect opportunity to demolish the so-called Thomas story once and for all![3]


1. This name is spelled variously Deivanayakam, Deivanayagam, or with a Sri Lankan accent as Theivanayagam.

2. On 13 November 1952 the Vatican sent a letter to the Christians of Kerala stating that the alleged landing of St. Thomas at Muziris (Kodungallur) was unverified. The Vatican chose not to confirm the sending of this letter to Ishwar Sharan in 1996 on the disingenuous grounds that he had not supplied them with enough information to locate it in their archives.

3. Originally published under the title “Mythical Thomas, devious Theivanayagam, conniving Church” on the Vijayavani website in three parts on May 13, 14 & 15, 2010.

› The late B.R. Haran was a Tamil-language senior journalist in Chennai. 


“Film will legitimize destruction of the original temple,” says Dr. Subramanian Swamy


“Around the mid sixteenth century, two anti-Hindu brutalities were committed by foreigners. The first was the demolition of the Sri Rama Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya by an agent of the invading, plundering Babar and the second was the destruction of the hoary Shiva temple by the invading Portuguese barbarians. The Hindu society was not prepared for these uncivilised hordes, and hence remained mute witness to the destruction and sacrilege.” – Dr Subramanian Swamy


Dr. Subramanian Swamy


The recent announcement that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi will patronise screening of the mega budget movie on Saint Thomas and his fictitious missionary activities in the first century in Tamil Nadu, read with the Union Government’s decision to cancel the allotment of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board intended for creating facilities for housing and parking Hindu tirth yatris, are a part of the pernicious and sinister attempt to put the Hindus under siege, about which I have been warning the nation for the last three years. See my book: Hindus Under Siege: The Way Out

Around the mid sixteenth century, two anti-Hindu brutalities were committed by foreigners. The first was the demolition of the Sri Rama Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya by an agent of the invading plundering Babar and the second was the destruction of the hoary Shiva temple by the invading Portuguese barbarians. The Hindu society was not prepared for these uncivilised hordes, and hence remained mute witness to the destruction and sacrilege.


Sonia-G & Karunanidhi


But no more. The Hindu has now stood up. Hence there is now a Ramjanmabhoomi movement in the country with a determination to re-build the temple. The Karunanidhi-Sonia duo to demolish the Rama Setu by implementing the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project was challenged, and despite the duo being in power in Chennai and Delhi, the duo was unable to marshal arguments in the Supreme Court. The Hindus carried the day and the project has gone back to the drawing
board.

I therefore on behalf of Hindus and those others who proudly acknowledge that their ancestors are Hindus, warn this duo to desist from trying to patronize the falsification of history about the presence in Tamil Nadu of Saint Thomas, to legitimize the Portuguese destruction of the Shiva Temple to build the Santhome Church. The Church will have to go, and the Kapaleeshwara Temple re-built on that site. Hindus will do it with the help of sane and civilized Christians if possible, without them if necessary, and despite them if forced. When 83 percent Hindus unite, let those who are seeking to debase Hindu icons by bogus history realize that a religious tsunami will wash them away.