Tag Archives: st. thomas

Keezhadi: Digging to create church history – B.S. Harishankar


There are serious allegations that archaeological sites such as Keezhadi are controlled by Church-sponsored NGOs as advocates of Tamil culture, to manipulate cultural remains, embed missionaries such as Apostle Thomas, and  demand  a separate nationhood, including Tamil Nadu, parts of Kerala and Sri Lanka. – Dr. B.S. Harishankar


Kanimozhi & Jegath Gaspar Raj


Clergymen may visit museums and ancient sites. But when they are accompanied by a lawyer-turned-politician, it raises curiosity. “On September 24, 2016, Father Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder of an organization called “Tamil Maiyam” and who had organised Sangam 4,  a 10-day festival in August 2016 that focused on Madurai’s history, culture and tradition, visited Keezhadi along with Kanimozhi, an advocate. Amarnath Ramakrishna took them around and showed them the trenches” (Keezhadi treasures caught in a swirl, T.S. Subramanian, Frontline, Jan., 20, 2017) .


K. Amarnath Ramakrishna


Fr. Gaspar Raj, Kanimozhi and Keezhadi excavator K. Amarnath Ramakrishna charted out the program. Kanimozhi who is also coordinator of Gaspar Raj’s NGO, Tamil Maiyam, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court with the prayer that the ASI should not be allowed to take the artefacts to Karnataka and that it should not be allowed to close the trenches dug at Keezhadi. In their interim order, the judges restrained the ASI from closing the trenches and shifting the artefacts to any place outside Sivaganga district.

Roman Catholic priest Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj admitted that his association with DMK leader Kanimozhi dates back to more than a decade when he was a non-resident Indian and the DMK was not in power, and asserted that he would not break his ties with her (Tamil Maiyam unfairly targeted: Gaspar, The Hindu, Dec., 16, 2010). India Today reported that DMK patriarch Karunanidhi’s daughter has close ties with Fr. Gaspar Raj. “The controversial Catholic priest had always been under a cloud. Even before teaming up with Kanimozhi, he was accused of being a front for the LTTE’s financial operations. Worse, pro-Tiger websites accuse him of misappropriating LTTE money. With his LTTE connections, Gaspar Raj reportedly acquired skills for money laundering that indeed might have come in handy for the Raja-Rajathi-Kanimozhi trio” (Unmasking of a ‘literary heir’, India Today, Dec., 21, 2010).

Keezhadi’s patriarch, Fr. Gaspar Raj is officially referred in US crime records as “Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian”. Senior national security strategist, Douglas C. Lovelace Jr., Esq., in Terrorism Documents of International and Local Control, Academic, OUP, Vol. 91 (2008) alleged that between 2003 and August 2006, individuals including Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian, Nachimuthu Socrates, Fnu Lnu, and Vijayashanthar Patpanathan were “involved in multiple criminal activities in support of LTTE, a Sri Lankan group designated by the US state department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization”.

Domestic Security and Intelligence analyst, Siobhan O’Neil, in Terrorist Precursor Crimes: Issues and Options for Congress (2007) pointed out Gaspar Raj’s LTTE connections. Neil stated that Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian along with others such as Nachimuthu Socrates “have conspired to remove LTTE from US state department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list”. Similar charges were made by James J. Tareco, Special Agent of FBI, against Gaspar Raj, Nachimuthu Socrates and others, in 2006, at the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.

Nachimuthu Socrates, considered close to Gaspar Raj, was arrested on charges of arms dealing for a Sri Lankan separatist group, and bribe agents  (13 Tied To Sri Lankan Separatists Are Charged by U.S. With Aiding Terrorists, The New York Times, Aug., 22, 2006). On Sep. 9, 2013, senior Rajya Sabha MP, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, tweeted that, “FBI wants India to hand over Reverend Gaspar Raj, a LTTE agent in arms smuggling. But he is a friend of PC, BC and TDK. Hence protected”.

Gaspar Raj keeps close ties with Keezhadi excavator K. Amarnath Ramakrishna. This archaeological-criminal nexus with separatists abroad, unheard of in the history of Indian archaeology, needs investigation by central government agencies.

Gaspar Raj was also actively associated with S.P. Udayakumar, Coordinator of the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), who led protests against the commissioning of the Indo-Russian Nuclear Power Plant at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu (Kudankulam protesters disallow PM Manmohan Singh’s envoy to speak, The Economic Times, Sept. 21., 2011).

In the mid-nineties, Gaspar Raj joined Radio Veritas Asia, based in The Philippines, run by Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC), as director of its Tamil service. Later, in 2002, he founded Tamil Maiyam, with Kanimozhi as coordinator. The Board of Trustees includes Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, Fr. Lourdu Anandam, Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, Kanimozhi, Jerard, Joseph Enok, Akhila Srinivasan, K. Pandia Rajan, Latha Pandiarajan and Arun Veerappan.

In 2010, the CBI raided Karunanidhi and his family in connection with the 2G Scam. The media reported that, “the  biggest, most prominent raid in Chennai could very well be that of Father Jegath Gaspar Raj, a Catholic priest and the head of the NGO, Tamil Maiyam, on whose board both he and Kanimozhi officiate. A source said the CBI questioned Gaspar Raj on the source of the NGO’S funding and its income” (2G Scam: CBI raids rattle Karuna family, India Today, Dec., 16, 2010).

The Madras High Court on January 7, 2011, directed that no advertisement issued by the government for popularising Chennai Sangamam should carry the name of NGO Tamil Maiyam, which was raided by CBI. Later, the High Court issued a contempt notice to Tamil Nadu Tourism Secretary for including the name of Tamil Maiyam in advertisements for a government-sponsored cultural event (HC contempt notice over Chennai Sangamam, The New Indian Express, Jan., 24, 2011).

Keezhadi excavator K. Amarnath Ramakrishna’s links with Jasper Raj cannot be overlooked. The enthusiasm shown by Amarnath Ramakrishna in supporting Gaspar Raj and Kanimozhi for filing a PIL to keep excavated artefacts at Keezhadi has to be understood. In 2016, when the ASI began a probe into alleged unscientific approaches adopted by the KCHR at Pattanam, Amarnath Ramakrishna was superintendent archaeologist of ASI, Bengaluru circle (ASI probe into KCHR’s ‘Pattanam excavations’, Business Standard, Jan. 5, 2016). His findings are not known, but Amarnath Ramakrishna later took up the Keezhadi excavations. Possibly, he prepared a report favourable for Left and Church historians to prove the historicity of Apostle Thomas.


Dr. P.J. Cherian (left) makes Pattanam the landing spot of St. Thomas.


Zealous efforts are on to make Pattanam a satellite site of Keezhadi. R. Sivanantham, deputy director, Tamil Nadu state department of archaeology, officially facilitated a lecture on Pattanam by its excavator, P.J. Cherian at Chennai. Cherian claimed that the excavated material from Pattanam and Keezhadi are similar and hence there is a brotherhood (Pattanam, Keezhadi excavated materials similar, says expert, Deccan Chronicle, Oct. 31, 2018).

NGOs in Tamil Nadu have direct access to excavated artefacts. P.J. Cherian runs an NGO named PAMA, and through its new project, “Rediscovering the ancient sites in Tamilakam”, he links Pattanam, Keezhadi and Kodumanal sites in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He claims he “had an on-hand documentation of excavated materials from many archaeological sites under the custody of Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department” (Do ancient Tamilakam sites deserve rediscovery, The Times of India, Nov 30, 2018). Gaspar Raj’s NGO, Tamil Maiyam, which includes Catholic priests such as Lourdu Anandam and Vincent Chinnadurai, filed a PIL demanding that the Keezhadi artefacts should not be transferred to Karnataka for study. Such demands show that these NGOs have, or find ways to have direct access to excavated artefacts from these sites to manipulate them conveniently to determine the past.

NGOs operating out of Tamil Nadu received the maximum foreign funding of about Rs.547 crore in 2013-14, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (T.N. NGOs received maximum foreign funds in 2013-14’, The Hindu, Nov., 26, 2014). Mathew Cherian, Chairperson of Voluntary Action Network India says southern states top in foreign funding due to presence of Christian organizations (Foreign funds pour in; 3,000 NGO’s get over Rs. 22,000 cr., The Hindu, Aug. 3, 2016). NGOs in Tamil Nadu got significant percentage of funding, with maximum of 33% flowing in from USA (Rajnath Singh launches online tool to monitor foreign-funded NGOs, The Economic Times, Jan. 2, 2018).

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court permitted the ASI on November 24, 2016 to shift the finds at Keezhadi to its chemistry branch headquarters in Dehradun or any other laboratory in the country. The judges based their decision on ASI Director General Rakesh Tewari’s submission that “all the required examination of the excavated materials cannot be carried out” at the ASI’s chemistry laboratory in Chennai because it “is not equipped with the necessary and advanced facilities for proper examination and analysis of the artefacts” (More excavation only after report, Frontline, Jan., 20, 2017).

The delay in submitting reports to ASI on Keezhadi excavations by Amarnath Ramakrishna obstructed granting of excavation license and funds for third field season, a fact concealed by the excavator and NGOs. Asked in 2017 whether the ASI would give Amarnath Ramakrishna the license to excavate for the third field season, the director general said: “The license for the third year will be given after the completion of the documentation of the excavation and the artefacts found during the first two years. Otherwise, the report never comes (More excavation only after report, Frontline, Jan. 20, 2017).

Later, ASI Director General Rakesh Tewari clarified that Keezhadi excavator Amarnath Ramakrishna had submitted only “brief” and “sketchy” reports about the first two years. Permission would be given to him after he wrote “a detailed report” (Keezhadi dig to continue, Frontline, March 17, 2017).

Controversies started after Amarnath Ramakrishna was transferred to Guwahati circle of ASI.  The Left parties, grateful to Amarnath Ramakrishna for salvaging the scandalous Pattanam excavations in Kerala, protested (CPI-M flays Centre’s direction on Keezhadi excavations, The Hindu, Oct. 6, 2018).

In April 2018, the Federation of Tamil Sangams in North America (FeTNA) invited Amarnath Ramakrishna to deliver a lecture on the Keezhadi excavations. The ASI denied him permission to participate as guest of honour at this event, possibly because FeTNA publicly supported the cause of ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils in the Sri Lankan civil war. Commenting on Tamil groups in Sri Lanka, Gaspar Raj unambiguously stated in an interview that, “We had a homeland and we have a homeland, and we will have the right for a homeland, since we have our own history, language, culture and way of living, and hence have the right to self-determination” (Tamil Eelam not a lost cause: Fr. Jegath Gaspar, TamilNet, Nov. 3, 2009). FeTNA has honoured Gaspar Raj for christianising Tamil culture.

The tenth World Tamil Conference, mainly sponsored by FeTNA, was held in July 2019 at Chicago. Its central theme was “Keezhadi nam Thai madi” (On our Tamil mother’s lap—Keezhadi excavation), dedicated to Tamil scholar Rev. G.U. Pope on his 200th birth anniversary (10th edition of World Tamil Conference in Chicago from July 4, The New Indian Express, June 26, 2019). Bishop Robert Caldwell launched the Dravidian ideology in Tamil Nadu. Caldwell was assisted in his Dravidian studies by an array of missionaries such as G.U. Pope, J. Brigel, J. Clay, J. Dawson, E. Diez, F. Kittel, F. Metz, A. Graeter, C. Graul, and H. Gundert.


Fr. Lawrence Raj

Thomas & Hindu Assassin


Along with Keezhadi excavations, zealous attempts to historicize Apostle Thomas gain momentum. Catholic priest P.J. Lawrence Raj informed bishops of the Catholic world: “It is believed that the apostle Thomas was murdered by a group of Hindus who did not fancy his proselytizing” and Gaspar Raj made efforts to re-establish St. Thomas in the mainstream narrative of Chennai’s Roman Catholic world (An apostle returns: Bringing St. Thomas back to ChennaiThe Hindu, Oct. 27, 2018).

There are serious allegations that archaeological sites such as Keezhadi are controlled by Church sponsored NGOs as advocates of Tamil culture, to manipulate cultural remains, embed missionaries such as Apostle Thomas, and  demand  a separate nationhood, including Tamil Nadu, parts of Kerala and Sri Lanka.

Lionel Caplan (1987) and Susan Bayly (1994) have pointed out growing Christian fundamentalism in Tamil Nadu. Prof. Pradip Ninan Thomas of the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland, Australia, cautioned mainland churches in Tamil Nadu monopolized by Christian fundamentalist groups, about their zealous anti-Hindu propaganda. Thomas said conservative sects based in the US back the neo-Christian groups in India and their activities inflame sectarian tension (Mainline Churches Must Address Christian Fundamentalism, Says Scholar, Ucanews, Aug. 14, 2008). In his book, Strong Religion, Zealous Media: Christian Fundamentalism and Communication, Pradip Ninan Thomas discusses the close ties between Dravidian politics and ideology with Christian fundamentalism in Tamil Nadu.

Can the Indian academic community accept the excavation reports and recordings at Keezhadi, monopolized by Gaspar Raj and foreign-funded NGOs? There is no credible evidence that the cultural material from Keezhadi has not been adulterated and manipulated to raise dubious claims for secessionism. – Vijayvaani, 5 October 2019

Dr. B.S. Harishankar is an author and senior archaeological researcher.


Sri Lankan Catholic priests supporting LTTE leader Prabhakaran


 

How St. Thomas-Quetzalcoatl myth was manufactured, justified and continued in the New World – K.V. Ramakrishna Rao


The Church and the clergy of different levels—from pope to ordinary pastor—have been involved in spiritual fraud, financial crimes, land scams, rape of nuns and pedophilia, even murder. In India itself it has become the order of the day. Therefore, it is better for the “holy” men of Christ to keep their houses clean and stop falsifying Indian history. – K.V. Ramakrishna Rao


Aztec God Quetzalcoatl : The Mormons believe Quetzalcoatl was Jesus and the Jesuit missionaries made him out to be the apostle St. Thomas.


K.V. Ramakrishna RaoIntroduction

As I had participated in conferences related to archaeology, I was reading many books, research papers and related materials during last two months (July-August 2019). At that time, I came across the paper, “Uses of the Past: Archaeology in the Services of the State” written by Don D. Fowler.[1] He was explaining how the Christian myths were manipulated and exploited for religious propaganda and political authority in the Central and South American nations. However, the linking of St. Thomas in that context is most intriguing. When the related literature was studied, it exposed that the Christians wanted to exploit the Quetzalcoatl myth, though historical and archaeological evidences were not there. Some 35 years back, there was a similar situation where the Chennai (Madras) Christians were desperately engaged in a similar exercise. In 1987, I had contacts with Christians[2] and as well as Saivite experts,[3] because of the controversial book written by one M. Deivanayagam.[4]  When I was discussing this with Nal. Murugesa Mudaliar, he told many details about the Kapaleeswarar Temple and gave some books also.  Actually, the original Kapaleeswarar Temple was on the seashore at the spot where the Santhome Church now stands. Thus, the paper of Don D. Fowler provoked me to read further about the Quetzalcoatl myth. Above all, I find that Thomas Charles Nagy[5] and Henry Jenne[6] have also indulged in propagating such myths under the guise of researchers and history. Incidentally, Ishwar Sharan’s revised edition of the book[7] on the same subject was also published in July 2019. It is not known if all these incidents have been accidental or “God’s plan” to happen together and getting my attraction towards them. Why all these things have been happening?

Colonial historians want native history, historiography and historians as their slaves

As nations started getting independence from the European colonial forces, they knew that the liberated nations would start writing their own histories. Thus, the colonial historians devised historiography with which they tried to perpetuate, propagate and protect their colonial past, so that the liberated native nations would again be confined to dictated research methodology, incarcerated historiography and enslaved history continued. Ironically, religion also played a crucial role with engaged historians, outsourced archaeologists and contracted experts. Thus, it is found that new myths were created, relics manufactured and histories tampered, just like what was happening in the medieval period. As the liberated nations or countries should be continued to be exploited, subjugated and demoralized, they wanted the native religion, culture, tradition, heritage, civilization and all other connected factors disparaged, denigrated and forgotten soon. During their conquest they destroyed the evidences of the past, as happened in the New World or such vandalism continued slowly by them in other countries. The smugglers would be stealing all the ancient historical evidences. Thus, the newly floated myths would be continuously appearing in the print and electronic media, as if that is very important to the native people. The St. Thomas myth appearing in different nations, countries and continents during the last 70-100 years have been attractive, fascinating and amazing. Interestingly, it was planted at places separated by thousands of kms distance and operated effectively.

Mary, Jesus and Thomas appear, disappear and get venerated differently in all the continents without any resemblance

That the Thomas myth was found in the New World has been intriguing, surprising and amazing also.[8] It was found in South America and South India. As the Catholics had been experts in creating myths, according to legend on December 12, 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared in the form of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In fact, they themselves had been wary in manufacturing many virgins.[9] Though, the “idolatry” is denied and theology discussed, they have not bothered about the fake relics manufactured and pictures and idols added with the multiplication of “Our Lady” in various sizes, shapes and facades.[10] So also, Jesus Christ and his “didymus” have been. As they claim,

“Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Marian apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.”

The issue was discussed in 19th century realizing the reality. Thus, one Catholic priest cautioned.[11]

“We do not pretend that the arguments given are incontrovertible. But it cannot be denied that they give to this opinion such a degree of probability that, until stronger arguments are produced against it, it cannot justly be underrated.”

The head or the tail, we always win type position is followed in their interpretation.

How the St. Thomas myth was planted in Mexico

David Brading[12] detailed as to how the Thomas myth was planted in Mexico. Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, an exiled Dominican priest, declared that St. Thomas the Apostle, known to the Indians, i.e., American Indians not Indian Indians, as Quetzalcoatl, had preached the gospel in Anáhuac and had brought with him a cape on which the Virgin Mary had miraculously imprinted her image of Guadalupe. This is a reversal of the legend that Mary dropped her girdle to Doubting Thomas. St. Thomas had introduced the Christian religion into Mexico, since, as Mier exclaimed, “What was the religion of the Mexicans but Christianity confused by time and the equivocal nature of the hieroglyphs?” Milanese nobleman Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci, who had discovered any number of codexes and manuscripts dealing with the civilisation of ancient Mexico banished the devil from any historical role and found evidence of the presence of St. Thomas in the form of Quetzalcoatl. His work had immediate effect, as can be observed by the unpublished history of his Mexican disciple, Mariano Veytia, who equally espoused the identification of Quetzalcoatl as St. Thomas. They are discussed below.


Quetzalcoatl by Jesuit Juan de Tovar


The syncretism of Tonantzin-Guadalupe and St. Thomas-Quetzalcoatl[13]

Initially, they floated a story that Jesus was Quetzalcoatl and then changed and started equating him with Doubting Thomas. Thus, it was believed that St. Thomas who, before the arrival of the Spaniards in America, had already begun to evangelize the New World. This myth was used to serve as a link between the old pre-Hispanic beliefs and the convictions of the colonial Christian world.[14] The myth of Quetzalcoatl is one of the best known and diffused in pre-Hispanic societies of Mesoamerica.  The word Quetzalcoatl means in Nahuatl “the feathered serpent” and the creator of indigenous values, having donated agriculture and corn.  Serpent and peacock were also added. In Mylapore, the peacock myth exploited, exposed the Catholic trick and hoax, had failed miserably. According to the idea of ​​St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl validated not only biblical accounts, but also justified divine action. It was hard to understand that God had forgotten crowds of people in different parts of the earth and search for the origin of myths at different places. “The answer was then Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas,” curtly commented Rubén Torres Martínez.

Catholic nationalism vs pre-Hispanic nationalism

Rubén Torres Martínez gives these details: The myth of St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl would be controversial because of the speech of Brother Servando Teresa of Mier Noriega y Guerra (1794) who took over the study of Jose Ignacio Borunda, Clave general of interpretation of the Mexican hierarchies (1792?). Borunda relied on a hermeneutic exercise to ensure that St. Thomas was actually Quetzalcoatl, and that the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was drawn on the layer of the apostle. However, the myth of Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas remained and spread rapidly in various sectors of the population. The Virgin of Guadalupe will quickly find its place in the Mexican social imagination.  It will be, in its own right, one of the founding elements of the new Mexican identity. But the myth of Quetzalcoatl will not have the same importance, at least during the 19th century. By the beginning of  the 20th century the debate on the myth of Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas were taken over by the revolutionary Mexican state. During the colonial era, it was the myth of the Virgin of Guadalupe that had ensured a certain Catholic nationalism.  With the myth of St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl, there was an attempt to form both Catholic and pre-Hispanic nationalism. However, the image of St. Thomas has disappeared, but that of Quetzalcoatl has managed to stay.  Today, the Catholics claim that the myth of Quetzalcoatl has become part of both Catholic and Mexican nationalism.

Quetzalcoatl-Jesus myth to Quetzalcoatl-Thomas myth

The Catholic priests taking special interest in Quetzalcoatl, tried to equate him with Jesus, but because of an “unsettling chaos of Christianity”, they debated whether Quetzalcoatl was the devil or a Christian evangelizer, perhaps even the Apostle Thomas. According to biblical narratives, Thomas was twin of Jesus and hence known as “Didymus”. To support “Didymus”, they picked out the duo or twin found in the myth of Popol Vuh. According to legend, the father, Hun Hunahpu, and his sons, particularly his namesake Hunahpu, are related to maize and may be designated as maize gods. In the Popol Vuh the twins’ association with maize is described. Importantly, David H. Kelley presents[15] additional evidence from the Popol Vuh that Hun Hunahpu and the maize god are one and the same. Many stories were there about the twins. For example, in the Popol Vuh, the hero twins’ bones were ground like maize, thrown into a river, turned into fish, and eventually resurrected. These were treated as punishments, generally as a part of persecution, so that anybody could become martyr and so on to fit into the Christian martyrology.


St. Thomas in Brazil


St. Thomas: Chosen apostle for the New World

The assertions made about the apostolate of Doubting Thomas have been significant to note in the context of myth-making. Sarah Enright[16] gives these details,

“St. Thomas, who went east to ‘the Indies’, seemed to be the only Apostle that could have reached the New World. When priests looked through Mesoamerican mythology for a figure that resembled a prophet, Quetzalcoatl stood out as the most likely candidate.”

Lafaye[17] gave a detailed history of how St. Thomas was chosen through a process of elimination as the most likely candidate for having been the Apostle of the Americas…. Among the missionaries, the Jesuits, who arrived to the New World in 1572, in particular supported the Quetzalcoatl-St. Thomas version of the story. They tried many ways to protect the indigenous peoples from being enslaved, and developing the Quetzalcoatl-St. Thomas myth was convenient for this objective. Had he been chosen for the New World, as per the “divine plan”, his myth need not have been transferred to Chennai (Madras).

Jesuits spread the Thomas myth, wherever they went

The Apostle of the Americas gained popularity in the mid 1600s, when priests were searching for more proof to support the story about the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, to Juan Diego in 1532. In 1662, there was an initiative to ask the Pope to recognize the growing cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and while a majority of priests focused on gathering details about the miracle of Juan Diego’s vision of the Virgin Mary, some apparently believed that the appearance of an apostle in the Americas would further validate the story. Thus, the Vatican intervention and support were found in promoting such myths. Again, the Jesuits were especially interested in the apostle. How then, other groups of Jesuits were engaged in manufacturing evidences to plant the Thomas myth is not known. Whether they did not have co-ordination or co-opt, collaborate and collude to produce such myths, wherever, they went.


Fr. Anthony Vieira SJ


Doubting Thomas in Brazil

They wrote often about traces of St. Thomas in the New World, which include a set of footprints he left in a rock in Brazil. The Jesuits discovered the presence of Thomas in Mexico and as well in Brazil separated by a distance of 6920 kms. In the case of Quetzalcoatl myth, his presence at Mexico was dealt with by equating him to Jesus first and then to Thomas. In Brazil, he was identified with footsteps found at Etaoca. The appearance of St. Thomas was important because it showed that Christianity had a history in the New World prior to the conquest, which meant that the Americas had always been spiritually equal to Spain. Lafaye says,[18]

“… the creoles preferred Saint Thomas, who redeemed their American patria from the stigma of having lain in darkness for sixteen centuries, isolated from revelation.”

About the footprints, Robert Southey[19] gives the details,

“We came to a place called Etaoca, that is to say, the stone-house; as strong a thing I never saw, for it was a great huge rock, and it hath an entrance like a great door within it as any hall in England. The Indians say, that St. Thomas did preach to their forefathers there. Hard by standeth a stone as big as four great cannons, and it standeth upon the ground upon four stones, little bigger than a man’s finger, like sticks. The Indians say that it was a miracle which the Saint shewed them, and that that stone had been wood. Likewise, by sea-side there are great rocks, upon them I saw great stone of prints of the footing of bare foot; all which prints were one bigness. They say that Saint called flashes of the sea and they heard him.”

Now, in 2014 / 2017, Nagy[20] mentions it. Thus, the myth has been perpetuated from 19th to 20th centuries without any concern about archaeological dating, verification of evidences and the historicity attached to them.  However, historians like Francisco Javier Clavijero[21] refuted these myths, as they had no evidences. In any case, such myths have no history, but are hagiographical notes, recordings and writing of Christians. One quotes the narrative and the other quotes the first as authority. Then comes, the third to quote the second as authority. Thus, the quoted quote is carried on and finalized as established fact. This has been the methodology of the Christians to write histories for the apostles.

Myth-making activities went on with the blessings of the Vatican

Incidentally, the whole Christian research has been based on Codex Vaticanus documents preserved at Vatican. Both the early priests and the conquistadores believed that the indigenous religions were heretical. While Juan de Zumárraga, the Apostolic Inquisitor of Mexico in 1535, ordered the destruction of all of the pictorial manuscripts in Texcoco, Cortez and his troops defaced all of the religious monuments, idols, and images that they encountered on their way to Tenochtitlan.[22] In the same way, there have been the documents about the Thomas myth manufacturers. However, when the Portuguese demolished the Kapaleeswarar Temple on the seashore, there were no records about the quantum of destruction of temples and manuscripts. When Acharya Paul met the Pope[23] along with the Madras Catholic delegation in 1977, and made his claims about the early Christian origins in Tamil Nadu, evidently, the Pope had already verified and thus did not show any interest. Here the point is that such activities had the blessings of the Vatican, though other non-Christian researchers could not have access to the Vatican documents and the transactions of the Madras Archbishop Arulappa. As Arulappa went to court, some documents came out in public and thus, people came to know about the fraud of creating myth, manufacture of fake palm leaves, copper plates and other documents.[24] The illegal excavations carried out at the Parangi Malai (St. Thomas Mount) were also revealed through the book of Arulappa. The contrast has been, while the natives were asked to reproduce the destroyed ones in Brazil, here in Madras, forged documents were ordered to be produced.

Jesus-Quetzalcoatl Myth

There have been researchers who held that Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl are the same individual.[25] Probably, as they wanted to insist on their “Jesus in America” theory, such works continued. The supporters of the myth pointed out that,[26]

“Among those mentioned in post–Spanish conquest manuscripts were that Quetzalcoatl was the Creator, that he was born of a virgin, that he was a god of the air and earth (in his manifestation as the Feathered Serpent), that he was white and bearded, that he came from heaven and was associated with the planet Venus, that he raised the dead, and that he promised to return.”

However, they realized the weakness of myth and manipulation of records during more than 1000 years leading to many mismatches. The physical evidences available for Quetzalcoatl have been specific and historical, whereas, for Jesus, they are unhistorical. However, because of discrepancies, the hypotheses and theories were changed and thus, instead of Jesus, Doubting Thomas was brought in.  Yet, the Jesuits were playing tricks in India also.

South Indian myths expose the Christian manipulations and forgeries

Indian myth started with Vasco de Gama in 1503, because of his mistaking of “Mari”, the Hindu goddess, with “Mary”. In the Mylapore or Cranganore myth, there was no Mary or Guadalupe. In 1599, Claudius Buchanan came to verify the “evidences” for the Thomas myth, but he found that all were fake. After his visit to Diamper, the books not favourable to Christianity were reportedly burnt.  However, Buchanan recorded that he deposited some copper plates, though fake, with the Cambridge University (see below for details). Later, they tried to exploit Mari / Bhagwati Amman, the Indian goddess and even tried to equate her with Mary, but utterly failed as the Indian Christian theologians and Church historians did not bother about any historical and archaeological evidences.[27] Ironically, whatever evidences they did produce to support their floated myth turned out to be fake and forgeries dated to medieval and even 17th-19th centuries. But their shocking attitude has been to use and quote such forgeries. Incidentally, in India, they could not produce any twin to satisfy the Didymus story! The European Christologists, historians and experts started proving that Jesus was a myth, that Christ, a legendary character copied and derived from eastern gods, and JesusChrist was a creation later involving and accommodating many myths. It is intriguing to note why they were / have been engaged in equating the Quetzalcoatl myth with that of Jesus and then Thomas. Had they been satisfied with the Acts of Thomas and the tomb located in Mesopotamia, then their myths could have been developed and tallied to some extent. The Acts of Thomas says the following:[28]

  1. And when he had thus prayed he said unto the soldiers; Come hither and accomplish the commandments of him that sent you. And the four came and pierced him with their spears, and he fell down and died.
  1. And all the brethren wept; and they brought beautiful robes and much and fair linen, and buried him in a royal sepulchre wherein the former (first) kings were laid.
  1. And he went and opened the sepulchre, but found not the apostle there, for one of the brethren had stolen him away and taken him unto Mesopotamia.

And thus, the Mesopotamian legends would help them to fix the Thomas myth and settle it once for all. Of course, they have Thomas tombs at Edessa, Ortona and Patmos venerated by the respective believers.


St. Thomas Cathedral at Ortona.

St. Thomas's Skeleton


The relics of Thomas were in Italy only

In the pursuit of truth and the Doubting Thomas in the art of early modern Italy, Erin Benay[29] gives many interesting details. Thomas’s relics were later transported to the Isle of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Although the details of this transfer are mysterious, it is clear that in 1258 the Prince of Taranto raided Chios and had the relics brought to the small port of Ortona, Italy. Thereafter most of St. Thomas’s body has remained in the Ortona Cathedral, although there are notable exceptions: Thomas’s jawbone is preserved in the Scuola dei Mureri at San Samuele, Venice, where the guild of builders commissioned Cima da Conegliano’s Incredulity of St. Thomas to adorn their chapel altar. In addition, Cardinal Tisserant arranged for Thomas’s arm bone to be brought to Cranganore (Kodungallur) in 1952; Although Ortona was a major port until its destruction by the Venetians in the 15th century, the interior of the 12th century cathedral is largely ruined today due to bombings during World War II. Emilia Polidoro and Paula Pasquini,[30] contributors to the volume cited above, both suggest that Marco Polo and his contemporaries’ accounts of Thomas’s tomb in India are fictitious and instead favor the Latin version of the Acts of Thomas which describes the transfer to Edessa. Pasquini notes the account of Guglielmo di Tiro who reports that Thomas’s relics were in Edessa as late as 1142, but it is unclear why this traveler’s observations would have any more validity than Marco and his fellow explorers.


Skull of St. Thomas , Patmos, Greece


Suppression of facts, excessive negationism, and bias

Even after the Arulappa vs Acharya Paul case, the Church writers have been unrelenting and still engaged in bringing out unblushing stories on doubting and doubtful Thomas. The thesis of Thomas Charles Nagy has been the recent glaring example. Vedaprakash[31] has been the first researcher to bring out the facts of Christian manipulations in a book in 1989 in Tamil. This was necessitated when they printed such myths in the state text books. Then, Ishwar Sharan brought out his book in 1991 in English drawing the attention of many. Nagy mentions S. Muthiah, Sita Ram Goel and Ishwar Sharan but, does not mention Arulappa, Ganesh Iyer, Vedaprakash, etc. Though, he has friends in Chennai, and interacted with many Catholic bishops, pastors and historians, he could not access them or their documents. Therefore, the suppression of facts, excessive negationism, and bias could be noted in their attitude and writings. As far as Henry Jenne is concerned, he wrote like a traveller but without compromising with the myth of Thomas in both countries.


Claudius Buchanan

Tharisappalli Copper Plates (849 CE): Alleged oldest documents to attest the presence of Christians in India.


The copper plates and what Claudius Buchanan noted

To explain and expose the position of doubting and doubtful Thomas and his researchers in India, the following example is cited just for illustrative purposes. As the Kerala Christians make much fuss about the copper plates, what Claudius Buchanan recorded about them are noted here. They are as follows:[32]

“But there are other ancient documents in Malabar, not less interesting than the Syrian Manuscripts. The old Portuguese historians relate, that soon after the arrival of their countrymen in India, about 300 years ago, the Syrian Bishop of Angamalee (the place where I now am) deposited in the Fort of Cochin, for safe custody, certain tablets of brass, on which were engraved rights of nobility, and other privileges granted by a Prince of a former age ; and that while these Tablets were under the charge of the Portuguese, they had been unaccountably lost, and were never after heard of. Adrian Moens, a Governor of Cochin, in 1770 who published some account of the Jews of Malabar, informs us that he used every means in his power, for many years, to obtain a sight of the famed Christian Plates; and was at length satisfied that they were irrecoverably lost, or rather, he adds, that they never existed. The Learned in general, and the Antiquarian in particular, will be glad to hear that these ancient Tablets have been recovered within this last month by the exertions of Lieutenant Colonel Macauley, the British Resident in Travancore, and are now officially deposited with that Officer.”

Copper plates script engraved later and none could read it in India

Buchanan continued,[33]

“The Christian Tablets are six in number. They are composed of a mixed metal. The engraving on the largest plate is thirteen inches long, by about four broad. They are closely written, four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all eleven pages. On the plate reputed to be the oldest, there is writing perspicuously engraved in nail-headed or triangular-headed letters, resembling the Persepolitan or Babylonish. On the same plate there is writing in another character, which is supposed to have no affinity with any existing character in Hindoostan. The grant on this plate appears to be witnessed by four Jews of rank, whose names are distinctly engraved in an old Hebrew character, resembling the alphabet called the Palmyrene: and to each name is prefixed the title of ‘Alagen’, or Chief, as the Jews translated it.

“It may be doubted, whether there exist in the world many documents of so great length, which are of equal antiquity, and in such faultless preservation, as the Christian Tablets of Malabar.

“The Jews of Cochin indeed contest the palm of antiquity: for they also produce two Tablets, containing privileges granted at a remote period; of which they presented to me a Hebrew translation. As no person can be found in this country who is able to translate the Christian Tablets, I have directed an engraver at Cochin to execute a copper-plate facsimile of the whole, for the purpose of transmitting copies to the learned Societies in Asia and Europe. The Christian and Jewish plates together make fourteen pages. A copy was sent in the first instance to the Pundits of the Sanskrit College at Trichiar, by direction of the Rajah of Cochin; but they could not read the character.

“From this place I proceed to Cande-nad, to visit the Bishop once more before I return to Bengal.”

Analysis of Buchanan’s notings of the copper plates

A careful reading of Buchanan proves the following facts:

  1. Even during 16th century, manufacturers of copper plate inscriptions were available.
  2. They could manufacture the required copper plates even if they could not read the script they inscribed. In other words, they engrave as pictures and not as script or other details.
  3. Who suddenly produced the copper plates for Buchanan is intriguing?
  4. Buchanan made copies and circulated them for getting translation.
  5. He also sent copies to London.
  6. Original copper plates were not available.
  7. Therefore, the Portuguese must have manufactured the copper plates.

About the claimed relics throughout the world

About Thomas everything has been doubtful and doubting only, as none knew or knows specifically anything about him.

  1. His birth and death are not known.
  2. How he died: Not known.
  3. Whether he was killed or died: Not known.
  4. If killed by sword, lance, spear, staff or any such thing: Not known.
  5. Where died: Not known.
  6. How many bodies and skeletons: Not known.

As he was having many bodies, skeletons and tombs, he must not have been a human being, just a myth. As there has not been any specific day or date for the death of Thomas, Christians celebrate him on various designated days:

  1. First Sunday after Easter,
  2. October 6,
  3. June 30,
  4. July 3,
  5. December 21,

and so on, as none knew him or his whereabouts. Archeologists could easily date the relics and find out the truth. Here, in Chennai (Madras), from the writings of the Europeans, it has been proved that all relics, paintings and sculptures belong to the medieval period and thereafter. As the Portuguese demolished the original Kapaleeswarar Temple at the seashore in 1523, the dates tally. To add a tail piece, before concluding, the following is quoted,[34]

“The relics enclosed in some of them comprised a portion of the milk of the Virgin Mary, parts of the skulls of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas the Apostle. … A shirt of St. Thomas the Martyr, a white girdle given by St. John the Evangelist to St. Mary, and a small part of the skull of St. Thomas the Apostle, and a candle end of the Virgin Mary.”

Forced propaganda carried on

As I have been attending hundreds of conferences being a life member, executive member of IHC, SIHC, APHC, TNHC, AIOC and “scientific and secular history” is always claimed, it is a wonder as to how this type of mythistory, biased historiography and historiographical methodology could go on in spite of exposures of fakes, forgery and frauds. Ironically, no historian, archaeology or connected expert questions such myth-making, fake relic manufacturing and subversive forcing of such stuff on the students and public. All this proves that something is wrong somewhere and the involved do not bother for anything, as they want to do only propaganda at any cost. As the propaganda should continue for years, they think that such myths, myth-making, fake manufactures and bogus archaeology get legitimised by force and thrust. Only there would be few to expose the truth, but they can be suppressed and people forget soon. Before another finds out and cries, already there would be more relics, more fake evidences and books.


Martyrdom of St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens


Conclusion

Actually, Indians do not care about the belief system of others, as they respect all considered as “divine”. Nowadays, as non-Hindus and such categories have started criticizing and attacking Hindu belief systems, Hindus started analyzing the non-Hindu belief systems. Ironically, the non-Hindus have only been joining with atheists and anti-Hindus, and started attacking Hindu belief systems. Thus, in the context, the following observations are made as a conclusion:

    1. Historically, whether Jesus existed or not is not an issue for Indians or Hindus.  In fact, only European and non-Indian historians, archaeologists and researchers have proved that such a personality never existed.
    2. Jesus, Christ and Jesus Christ have been three different concepts and thus they are mythical. It is not a problem for Indians.
    3. Therefore, whether such a mythical character had 12 apostles or many more is also left for them to decide as to whether it is myth or otherwise.
    4. The Acts of Thomas claims that Thomas was killed by the soldiers of Ghondoporus and buried in Mesopotamia and therefore his burial of the body at another place or places is ruled out.
    5. A human being, if he at all existed, could have only one body and skeleton and therefore, discovering many tombs, skeletons, and more than one skull proves that many forgeries, fakes and duplicates have been created or the skeletons and bones belong to other unknown persons.
    6. Thus, the many narratives and stories show that one myth is created based on another myth and so on. Thus, the myth-making has led to lies, forgeries, and frauds and that is what has been happening till today.
    7. The writers involved have not been bothered about history, historicity, historical evidences, or cross-checking the evidences claimed.
    8. As far as Chennai (Madras) is concerned, the case of R. Arulappa vs Acharya Paul alias Ganesh Iyer has exposed the Church, the archbishop and others involved directly in the manufacture of evidences for a Thomas myth, and all have been caught red-handed.
    9. The involved persons have become desperate and controversial, indulging in divisive communal politics to hide their ugly practices.
    10. Above all, the Church and the clergy of different levels — from pope to ordinary pastor  have been involved in spiritual fraud, financial crimes, land scams, pedophilia and rape of nuns, even murder. In India itself it has become the order of the day. Therefore, it is better for the “holy” men of Christ to keep their houses clean and stop falsifying Indian history.

1. Fowler, Don D., “Uses of the Past: Archaeology in the Service of the State”, American Antiquity, CUP, Cambridge, April 1987.

2. Hrudhayam, Ignatius; Francis, T. Dayananda; Kulandai, Swami; Carvalho, Selvaraj; et al in connection with inculturation as well as the St. Thomas myth in Mylapore.

3. Mudaliar, N. Murugesan & Mudaliar, Arunai Vadivelu. The former taught me Saiva Siddhanta and later wrote the rebuttal against the Deivanayagam book. See news item.

4. Deivanayagam, N., He wrote and published Viviliyam, Thirukkural, Saiva Siddhantham inviting challenge from the Saivite scholars. Arunai Vadivelu Mudaliar wrote the rebuttal book.

5. Nagy, Thomas Charles, Catholic Shrines in Chennai, India: The politics of renewal and apostolic legacy, Routledge, New York, 2017. Read thesis online.

6. Jenne, Henry,  Entre Trilhos e Estrelas, Chiado Books, 2017 and the English version is published as Between Rails and Stars, United Verlag, 2019.

7. Sharan, Ishwar, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, Voice of India, New Delhi, 2019. Earlier editions in 1991, 1995, 2010. Read fourth revised edition online.

8. The New World is the name used for North and South America including the islands of the West Indies and Bermuda, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and Oceania.

9. Rendino, Stéphanie, Our Lady of Ocotlán and our Lady of Guadalupe: Investigation into the origins of parallel virgins, University of Montreal, Canada, 2008.

10. Cruz, Joan Carroll, Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Portraits and Statues, Tan Books, USA, 1993.

11. Defouri, J. H., “Was the Apostle St. Thomas in Mexico?”, Catholic World, December 1881. Read article online.

12. Brading, David A., “Myth and Images in Mexican History: Foundations and Legitimacy,” Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Mexico City, 2011.

13. Murray, Tim & Evans, Christopher (Ed), Histories of Archaeology: A Reader in the History of Archaeology, OUP, New York, 2008.

14. Martínez, Rubén Torres, St. Thomas and Quetzalcoatl. An attempt to construct an identity from the rewriting of the myth. See also Gardener, Brant, The Christianization of Quetzalcoatl. Read article online.

15. Kelley, David H., “Astronomical Identities of Mesoamerican Gods”, Archaeoastronomy (supplement of Journal for the History of Astronomy), 1980.

16. Enright, Sara, “Quetzalcoatl: A Mestizo Myth,” Undergraduate Research Journal, 2006.

17. Lafaye, Jacques, Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness 1531-1813, UCP, Chicago, 1976,

18. Lafaye, Jacques & Keen, Benjamin (Tr), Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness 1531-1813, UCP, Chicago, 1976.

19. Southey, Robert, History of Brazil, London, 1822.

20. Nagy, Thomas Charles, Catholic Shrines in Chennai, India: The politics of renewal and apostolic legacy, Routledge, New York, 2017. Read thesis online.

21. Clavijero, Francisco Javier, Historia Antigua de México, 1780.

22. Carrasco, Davíd, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophesies in the Aztec Tradition, UCP, Chicago, 1982. There are very few resources available that document Quetzalcoatl’s role in pre-conquest Mesoamerican civilization. By the time the Spaniards took an interest in the original culture and belief systems of the societies they conquered, they had already killed most of the indigenous priests and burned all but sixteen of their sacred books. Instead, the Spanish scholars relied on oral histories, on reproduced manuscripts, and on the analysis of the remaining picture codices—so there was a lot of room for misinterpretation, ethnocentric misunderstandings, and manipulation of the text.

23. Paul VI, Known as Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, Pope Paul VI died on August 6, 1978.

24. These details came out in local Tamil and English newspapers with photographs.

25. Taylor, John, “Mediation and Atonement,” Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 1882 (for a view that Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl are the same individual). H. Roberts came to a similar conclusion in his “New Witnesses for God,” Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 1909–11. See also the booklet by Mark E. Peterson, “Christ in America,” Deseret News, Sal Lake City, 1972.

26. Wirth, Diane E., “Quetzalcoatl, the Maya maize god, and Jesus Christ,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 1992–2007.

27. Bayly, Susan, Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society 1700-1900, CUP, Cambridge, 1989.

28. James, Montague Rhodes, The Apocryphal New Testament (including the Acts of Thomas), Oxford, 1924. Read Acts of Thomas online.

29. Benay, Erin. The pursuit of truth and the Doubting Thomas in the art of early modern Italy, Rutgers University, New Jersey, 2009.

30. Polidoro, Emilia & Pasquini, Polidoro, L’apostolo Tommaso è ad Ortona, Ortona, 2006. As quoted by Erin Benay.

31. Vedaprakash, Indiyavil Saint Thomas Kattukkathai (The Myth of Saint Thomas in India), Institute for the Study of Western Religions, Madras, 1989. Read book online (in Tamil).

32. Buchanan, Claudius, Two Discourses preached before the University of Cambridge, on the commencement of Sunday July 1, 1810 and a sermon before the Society of Missions to Africa and the East; at their tenth anniversary. June 12, 1810. To which added Christian Researches in Asia,  Cadell, T. & Davies, W., London and Deighton, J., Cambridge, 1811.

33. In a footnote, Buchanan recorded, “Most of the Manuscripts which I collected among the Syrian Christians, I have presented to the University of Cambridge; and (they are now deposited in the Public Library of that University, together with the copper-plate facsimiles of the Christian and Jewish Tablets.” Thus it is evident that there were no originals of the said copper plates and the available / claimed copper plates have no historical value.

34. Tighe, Robert Richard & Davis, James Edward, Annals of Windsor being A History of the castle and town; with some account of Eton and places adjacent, Longmans and Brown, London, 1858.

K.V. Ramakrishna Rao is a retired tax commissioner, author and historical researcher.  He blogs at https://kvramakrishnarao.wordpress.com/.


Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, eating a missionary.


 

Pope denies St. Thomas evangelised South India – Ishwar Sharan


Pope Benedict XVI’s statement on September 27, 2006 during a public audience, that the apostle St. Thomas only reached as far as North-West India—today’s Pakistan—was factually correct and reflected the statements of the Early Church Fathers and the geography of the Acts of Thomas. That the Pope’s minders changed his statement the next day on the Vatican website, to include South India in Thomas’s travels, is no surprise to us. Telling lies for Jesus and his Vicar in Rome are also very much part of Catholic Church tradition and history. – Ishwar Sharan


Pope Benedict overlooking St. Peter's Square.


On 27 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made a speech in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City in which he recalled an ancient St. Thomas tradition. He said that “Thomas first evangelised Syria and Persia and then penetrated as far as western India, from where Christianity also reached South India”.[1] This statement greatly upset the Indian bishops in Kerala, and as it was perceived to be a direct violation of the beliefs of many Indian Christians, it was brought to the attention of the Pope’s editors and amended the next day on the Vatican’s website to read that St. Thomas himself had reached South India. G. Ananthakrishnan’s article “Thomas’s visit under doubt” in the Times of India, 26 December 2006, reads:

His reluctance to believe what fellow disciples said about Jesus Christ’s resurrection earned him the name Doubting Thomas. Centuries later, St Thomas—believed to be the man who brought Christianity to India—finds himself in the shadow of ‘doubt’ with none other than the Pope contradicting his evangelical trek in the country, only to modify it a few days later. But far from dousing the fire, the Pope has rekindled a debate and given critics an issue on the platter.

Pope Benedict XVI made the statement at the Vatican on September 27, 2006. Addressing the faithful during the Wednesday catechises, he recalled that St. Thomas first evangelised Syria and Persia, and went on to western India from where Christianity reached Southern India. The import of the statement was that St. Thomas never travelled to south India, but rather evangelised the western front, mostly comprising today’s Pakistan.

Knowingly or unknowingly, he had in one stroke challenged the basis of Christianity in India and demolished long-held views of the Church here that St Thomas landed in Kerala, where he spread the gospel among Hindus. The comments were especially a letdown for the Syrian Christians of Kerala, who proudly trace their ancestry to upper-caste Hindus said to have been evangelized by St Thomas upon his arrival in 52 AD.

The comments went unnoticed until Sathya-Deepam, the official mouthpiece of the Syro-Malabar church, picked it up. Writing in it, George Nedungat, a member of the Oriental Pontifical Institute of Rome, conveyed the community’s anguish and claimed that previous popes had recognised St. Thomas’s work in south India.

The Pope’s original statement given out at St. Peter’s, before it was amended on the Vatican website, was factually correct and reflected the geography of the Acts of Thomas, i.e. Syria, Parthia (Persia/Iran) and Gandhara (Afghanistan, North-West Pakistan). There is no historical evidence to support the tradition that St. Thomas came to South India, and on 13 November 1952 Vatican officials sent a message to Kerala Christians stating that the landing of St. Thomas at Muziris (Cranganore now Kodungallur) on 21 November 52 AD was “unverified”. When this writer sought confirmation of the 1952 Vatican statement in 1996, the Vatican’s reply was disingenuous and non-committal. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints said that he needed more information and that the life of St. Thomas was the object of historical research and not within his congregation’s competence.[2]

Earlier, in 1729, the Bishop of Madras-Mylapore had doubted whether the tomb in San Thome Cathedral was that of St. Thomas and wrote to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Rome for clarification. Rome’s reply was never published and we may assume it was a negative reply. Again, in 1871 the Roman Catholic authorities at Madras were “strong in disparagement of the special sanctity of the localities [viz. San Thome, Little Mount, and Big Mount identified by the Portuguese after 1517] and the whole story connecting St. Thomas with Mailapur.” However, in 1886 Pope Leo XIII stated in an apostolic letter that St. Thomas “travelled to Ethiopia, Persia, Hyrcania and finally to the Peninsula beyond the Indus”, and in 1923 Pope Pius XI quoted Pope Leo’s letter and identified St. Thomas with “India”. These papal statements also reflect the geography of the Acts of Thomas, as does Pope Benedict’s statement, and make no reference to South India. In fact, the India they refer to is now Pakistan.


Parthian Empire


Pope John Paul II visited India twice in 1986 and 1999 and prayed at the alleged tomb of St. Thomas in San Thome Cathedral, but, like St. Francis Xavier before him, he had nothing to say about St. Thomas’s visit to South India or Mylapore in the first century. This is a curious omission on the Pope’s part in that he was an ardent missionary who openly promoted the evangelising of India and Asia, and a statement from him confirming a visit by St. Thomas to South India would have certainly supported his agenda and that of his Indian bishops.


JP-II & Arulappa


1. As quoted in Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, of 23 November 2006, under the title “Pope angers Christians in Kerala”.

2. Our letter to the Prefect, Sacred Congregation of Rites, Vatican City, dated 26 August 1996, read: “I am doing research on St. Thomas in India and have learned that your office issued a letter on November 13, 1952 which stated that the landing of St. Thomas at Cranganore in 53 AD is unverified. I would like to know if in fact the said letter was issued and, if that is not the case, whether you can confirm that St. Thomas was martyred and buried in Madras. I would be most grateful if you could direct me to any authentic evidence supporting the story of St. Thomas in India.” The reply from the Prefect, Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Rome, dated 11 September 1996, read: “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.). 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.” This reply was a brush off. The Prefect knew what we were asking for and could have located the 1952 Vatican letter in a few minutes if he wished to.


Dr. Nagaswamy refutes the St. Thomas myth from 11:30 mins …


 

St. Thomas: The making of an ‘Indian’ apostle – Sandhya Jain


“The claim that Christianity came to India before it went to Europe is a ploy to make it a sort of native religion, even if it came from West Asia. The origin is a Gnostic Syrian fable, Acts of Thomas, written by poet Bardesanes at Edessa around 201 CE. The text never mentions or describes the sub-continent, but says the apostle went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people are ‘Mazdei’ (Zoroastrian) and have Persian names. The term India in the Acts of Thomas is a synonym for Asia.” – Sandhya Jain


St. Thomas


As Christian evangelists intensify efforts to bring India under their sway, their brethren in the south are trying to (mis)use current excavations at Pattanam to revive the myth of Apostle Thomas arriving in the country in the first century AD and establishing a fledgling community. They are trying to link the ancient port of Muziris with Pattanam, where Thomas reputedly landed, though Muziris was more logically Kodungallur, where the river joins the sea. Dr. R. Nagaswamy, former director, Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey, debunks this mischief and avers that none of the literature on the life of St. Thomas claims that he came to India.


IS-SDS


Yet, so strenuously has the myth been perpetuated that Swami Devananda Saraswati (pen name Ishwar Sharan), a Canadian born into a Protestant family who became a Smarta Dashanami sannyasi at Prayag in 1977, decided to get to its historical roots. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple (Voice of India), is the fruit of his labours.

Sharan was intrigued by the story of the alleged murder of the apostle by a conniving Brahmin. In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI declared that Thomas never came to India, but Rome later fell silent after a nudge from the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. The myth includes the implausible conversion of Tiruvalluvar by the foreign evangelist, though Tamil scholars believe the sage lived around 100 BCE, perhaps even 200 BCE.

The claim that Christianity came to India before it went to Europe is a ploy to make it a sort of native religion, even if it came from West Asia. The origin is a Gnostic Syrian fable, Acts of Thomas, written by poet Bardesanes at Edessa around 201 CE. The text never mentions or describes the sub-continent, but says the apostle went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people are “Mazdei” (Zoroastrian) and have Persian names. The term India in the Acts of Thomas is a synonym for Asia.


Bardesanes or Bardaisan


The Acts of Thomas identifies St. Thomas as Judas, the look-alike twin of Jesus, who sells him into slavery. The slave travels to Andropolis where he makes newly-weds chaste, cheats a king, fights with Satan over a beautiful boy, persuades a talking donkey to confess the name of Jesus, and is finally executed by a Zoroastrian king for crimes against women. His body is buried on a royal mountain and later taken to Edessa, where a popular cult rises around his tomb.

One Thomas of Cana led a group of 400 Christians (from 7 tribes and 72 families) from Babylon and Nineveh, out of Persia in the 4th century, when Christianisation of the Roman Empire made the Persians view their Syriac-speaking Christian minority as a Roman fifth column. The “Thomas Christians” could originally have referred to this merchant. They reputedly landed at Cranganore in Malabar in 345 CE. Sharan warns this migration cannot be treated as historical fact, but says that Cosmas the Alexandrian, theologian, geographer and merchant who traded with Ethiopia and Ceylon, visited Malabar in 520-525CE and provided the first acceptable evidence of Christian communities there in his book Christian Topography. This Thomas was probably “converted” (metamorphosed) to St. Thomas.


Eusebius of Caesarea


Early Church Fathers like Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Eusebius are explicit that Apostle Thomas settled in “Parthia“, and established a church in Fars (Persia). This is supported by the 4th century priest Rufinus of Aquileia, who translated Greek theological texts into Latin, and the 5th century Byzantine church historian, Socrates of Constantinople, who wrote a book on ecclesiastical history, the second edition of which survives and is a valuable source of early church history. Nothing much is known about St. Thomas. He was called the Apostle of the East in West Asia and India until 1953, when the Church demoted him to Apostle of India, dislodging St. Francis Xavier.

Between the 4th and 16th centuries, the Syrian Christians of Malabar reinvented the tale several times, finally bringing St. Thomas to India to evangelise the heathen. In the 13th century, Marco Polo embellished the tale with a South Indian seashore tomb and in the 16th century the Portuguese transferred this seashore tomb to Mylapore. They created their own redactions of the Acts of Thomas and began destroying temples in the port city and building their St. Thomas churches, pretending these were the sites of Thomas’s martyrdom and burial.

The primary objective of the Thomas-in-India or Jesus-in-India stories is to vilify Brahmins and malign the Hindu religion and community. The second is to present Christianity as an indigenous religion—not a piece of Western imperialism. A deeper aim is to insinuate it as the “original” religion of the Tamil people. Finally, it is to help Syrian Christians maintain their caste identity, their claim to be Jews or Brahmins, descendants of Namboodiris converted by St. Thomas in the 1st century.

Ishwar Sharan cites a wealth of historical, textual and epigraphic material to prove how various authors and travellers like Marco Polo, mistakenly or deliberately, falsified evidence regarding St. Thomas. He traces Marco Polo’s mischief to a book the legendary explorer dictated to fellow prisoner and writer, Rustichello, when he was captured by Genoa. The book became a hit in Europe, and the myth of a St. Thomas’s tomb on a seashore was firmly planted.

German scholars, whose work remains to be translated into English, have consistently maintained that most 16th and 17th century churches in India contain temple rubble and are built on temple sites, just as in Europe they took over Pagan sites. In fact, at the end of the 19th century, a landslip on San Thome beach revealed carved stone pillars and broken stones of mandapam found only in Hindu temples.


San Thome Bishop's Museum


The Portuguese in the 16th century had one of their earliest settlements at Mylapore, and razed many Hindu temples to the ground. Vijayanagar’s ruler, Rama Raya, waged war on them in Mylapore and Goa simultaneously to save Hindu temples. After his victory, he exacted a tribute from them for their vandalism. But when Vijayanagar fell before the Muslim armies at the Battle of Talikota (1565), the Portuguese resumed their iconoclasm.

The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple is a treasure trove of information that an article cannot do justice to; it’s a must read for lovers of Hindu temples and history. — Vijayvaani & The Pioneer, September 13, 2011

› Sandhya Jain is an author, political analyst, independent researcher and fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.


Book Cover (2019)


The Fourth Revised Edition of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple is available in print from Voice of India and Amazon › Pages 451 › Price Rs 395 › ISBN 978-81-85990-11-8. Or read the book online in PDF format.


 

St. Thomas in India: Tiruvalluvar ‘baptised’ to betray Hindus – B.R. Haran


“History is always written by the victors and whoever controls the writing of history books control the past. Without doubt, the most consistently powerful force in the western world over the last two thousand years has been the Roman Catholic Church and consequently history has often been what it wanted it to be.” – George Orwell in 1984


Tiruvalluvar


As rightly expressed in the immortal words of George Orwell, the Indians have been fed with distorted history by the Western Christian elite before independence and the same has been continued even after independence, thanks to the takeover of the nation’s history by the Marxists and Christian stooges, who continued the dark and sinister legacy of Max Mueller and Macaulay. As an important part of the perverted history, which was planted by the Western scholars, the so-called St. Thomas’s arrival, life, and death were thrust on South India. This thrust gave a solid foundation to the Church to claim as if Christianity was also an indigenous religion.

Many attempts have been made at regular intervals to impose the concocted history of Thomas on the people, thereby removing the facts from their minds about the persecution of Hindus and destroying of Hindu temples by the Christian invaders (Portuguese, French, and British) from the fifteenth century onwards.


Dr. M. Deivanayagam


Arunai Vadivelu Mudaliar


One such attempt, in the line of Arulappa and Acharya Paul, was made by a writer by name Dr. M. Deivanayagam, who wrote a book titled, Vivliyam, Tirukkural, Shaiva Siddantham Oppu Ayvu (Bible, Tirukkural, Shaiva Siddhanta Comparative Research), which was published in 1985-86 by none other than the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Adyar, Madras, either without any application of mind, or, as a deliberate act of connivance. Shockingly Deivanayagam was also awarded a doctorate by the University of Madras. Deivanayagam had predetermined to conclude his book with a finding that Tiruvalluvar was a Christian and a disciple of the so-called St. Thomas and most of the Shaiva Siddantha and the vivid knowledge found in Tirukkural were nothing but the sayings of the Bible. In order to achieve this devious motive, he distorted and misinterpreted the verses of Kural and Shaivite philosophical works and completed the book. Later on, Tamil and Shaivite scholars protested against this and the Dharmapuram Adheenam, a famous Shaivite monastery, came out with a book of refutation written by Tamil Shaivite scholar Arunai Vadivelu Mudaliar and released it amongst a congregation of three hundred eminent scholars, who strongly criticised Deivanayagam for his perversion of history. This was done mainly to prevent the usage of such deceitful materials by the future generations for research activities.


Old Kapali Temple


The planting of the so-called St. Thomas story was not only to establish 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 Pondicherry, mainly because of the fact that the Kapaleeshwara Temple, Mylapore, Vel Ilankanni Amman Temple near Nagapattinam and Vedapureeshwara Temple, Pondicherry were destroyed and Santhome Basilica, Velankanni Church (Our Lady of Health Basilica) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Pondicherry were built on their remains respectively. Well known scholars of archaeology have established that, the details of the destruction of original Kapaleeshwara Temple could be found in Tamil inscriptions on the walls of the Marundeeswarar Temple in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai, even today!

But, the glorious religious tradition and cultural heritage of Sanatana Dharma had been so hugely established that, despite the cooperation from the Dravidian racists, Marxists and the English language media, the Catholic Church couldn’t expand beyond a certain limit. As a result, it started indulging in inculturation methods (dressing in Hindu ochre, pada yatra, calling Santhome Mary as “Thirumayilai Annai”, giving sugar-rice as prasad, etc.) to confuse and win over the gullible masses.

At this juncture, there fell on the Indian Catholic head like a bolt from the blue, the categorical statement from Pope Benedict that the so-called St. Thomas had never ever visited India! This resounding statement from the Papacy, which shocked the Catholic community, had shaken the very foundation of Christianity in South India. As the Papacy didn’t bother to listen to the Indian Catholic community and their protests, 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 so-called St. Thomas the Apostle of India, at a cost of Rs 50 crore under the banner of the St. Thomas Apostle of India Trust, which has Archbishop A.M. Chinnappa, Deputy Archbishop Lawrence Pius, Treasurer of the Diocese Mr. Ernest Paul and Script Writer Dr. Paulraj Lourdusamy as office bearers. The movie will be presenting the life and times of the so-called St. Thomas in South India in general and Madras in particular. The film will have certain supposedly important events like the alleged meeting between Thomas and Tamil sage Tiruvalluvar, the establishment of San Thome Cathedral and the alleged killing of Thomas by a Hindu Brahmin priest.


Rev. G.U. Pope


The story of Tirukkural containing biblical verses was first concocted by G.U. Pope, a Christian missionary who learnt Tamil and translated the Tamil literary works such as Tiruvachagam, Naaladiyaar and Tirukkural in English. Missionaries like G.U. Pope, Constantine Joseph Beschi (who took the Tamil name Veeramamunivar) and Robert Caldwell have a modus operandi of learning the native language with a motive of distorting history to suit their missionary agendas. The Dravidian racist political party, which always thrived on the bogus Aryan Invasion Theory, took immense satisfaction in glorifying these missionaries by erecting statues for them along the Marina Beach in Madras when it ruled Tamil Nadu in the late sixties and early seventies, thereby exhibiting its unholy connection with Christian missionaries. No wonder, the chief minister Karunanidhi inaugurated this Rs 50 crore movie-magnum on the so-called St. Thomas!



G.U. Pope lived up to the true tradition of Christian missionaries, by telling that Tiruvalluvar lived in Madras between 800 and 1000 years after the birth of Christ! The Tamils never bought this story and laughed at it. As per the available records it is believed that Tiruvalluvar could have lived during the second century based on the evidence that Tirukkural was included in the literary group called Pathinen Keezh Kanakku (Eighteen Literary Works) during the Kadai Sangam (Last Sangam) days. Those days, there was a literary-grammatical procedure by which the author would always make it a point to convey to the readers the identification of his guru and patron apart from his own personal details such as name, native place, worshipping deity, etc. But Tirukkural is without such details, and hence, the connection between Tiruvalluvar and Thomas is a mere figment of imagination.

Whereas, a look at many other literary works written after the second century, say for example Kamba Ramayanam, or Periya Puranam, could lead to the mentioning of Tirukkural or its philosophy in them and yet none of them would have any information about a religion called Christianity. The glorious rule of Raja Raja Chola was during the tenth century and there was no trace of Christianity then! Also the San Thome Cathedral had the inscriptions of Rajendra Chola of the eleventh century on its corridor walls! Then what meeting is the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese talking about between Tiruvalluvar and the so-called St. Thomas?\


Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi & San Thome Bishops: Karunanidhi receives an award from the Catholic bishops for his anti-Brahminism.


Even chief minister Karunanidhi during his speech at the inauguration function, has not mentioned anything about the alleged meeting between Thomas and Tiruvalluvar. It is a well-known fact that Karunanidhi, himself being a Tamil scholar and well versed with Tamil literary works, had written his masterpiece Kuraloviyam on Tirukkural. As he had not talked anything about the connection between the Bible and Tirukkural or Thomas and Tiruvalluvar at the inaugural function of the movie, it becomes obvious that the Thomas story is an absolute falsehood! But, he has waxed eloquent on the supposed killing of the so-called St. Thomas at the hands of a Hindu Brahmin priest and went on to say that the particular scene alone is enough for the success of the movie. But for this also, the Church doesn’t have even an iota of evidence.

At this juncture, it can be recalled that Karunanidhi had recently questioned the truth of Bhagwan Rama, historicity of Ramayana and existence of Rama Sethu [the causeway that joins India to Sri Lanka], despite the availability of so much of archaeological, literary, cultural, numismatic, geographical and historical evidences. But, he has not exhibited the courage to question the historicity of the so-called St. Thomas, despite being aware of the fact that there is absolutely no iota of evidence. The chief minister, who is a well-known expert in Tirukkural, has unfortunately not felt it important to ascertain the truth of the so-called meeting between Thomas and Tiruvalluvar, but conveniently left it untouched at the inauguration function. Though the people are aware of the chief minister’s hostile stand against the majority community, it doesn’t augur well for him to openly pander to the minority community accepting their devious machinations.

The Archdiocese talks of three vital places in Madras namely Santhome (Mylapore), Little Mount (Saidapet) and St. Thomas Mount (Brungi Malai). While San Thome Cathedral stands on the ruins of Kapali Temple, Little Mount was also built after demolishing a temple and the church on the Big Mount (St. Thomas Mount) was also built on the ruins of a Shiva temple. The Big Mount was called as Brungi Malai named after Brungi [Bhrigu] Maharishi, who sat in penance there invoking Bhagwan Shiva seeking his darshan and blessing. Ultimately Bhagwan Shiva appeared before Brungi Munivar as Nandeeshwara and as clear evidence the Avudai Nayaki Sametha Nandeeshwara Temple stands near the St. Thomas Railway Station, from where one could see the Brungi Malai clearly. This stala purana (temple record) can be found in the form of inscriptions on the walls of the Nandeeshwara Temple even today! Even while the Archdiocese has been attempting to establish the fallacy of St. Thomas over the years, it has not exhibited the courage so far to face a public debate despite invitations from learned Tamil Hindu scholars.

The Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese has the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion to propagate its faith, but it cannot be done at the cost of other religious faiths. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion cannot be used to distort history, or Christianise the icons of other religions, with a motive of belittling the other faith, which is native in all respects and which has a well-established glorious religious tradition and cultural heritage spanning thousands of years even before the birth of Christianity. Thrusting of falsehood on the gullible masses cannot be allowed. It is not too difficult to understand the aims and objectives of the Madras Archdiocese behind this movie project. So, it would be better for them to understand the sensitivity attached with this project, as they have a social responsibility. The government must also ensure that history is not distorted and the people are not repeatedly fed with fabrications and fallacies.


Dr. Subramanian Swamy


It would be appropriate to conclude with the sensible and courageous words of Dr. Subramanian Swamy, “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 civilised 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 realise that a religious tsunami will wash them away.”

Politics has always been interwoven with religion and history in our nation of diversity and in such a scenario, it would be better to leave this project untouched, for the sake of Unity![1]


1. This article was originally called “‘Baptising’ Thiruvalluvar to ‘besiege’ Hindus!” and appeared on the News Today website on 7 July 2008.


 

Left breeds intolerance by ravaging Ayodhya and eulogising Thomas – B.S. Harishankar


It is an absurdity to try to “prove” St. Thomas came to sub-continental India by linking him to various old Syrian and Persian crosses. Thomas—if he lived at all—was an orthodox Jew. He abhorred the Roman cross. He would not have made one or worn one. But even supposing that he had no objection to the cross, there remains the historical fact that early Christians never used a cross to identify themselves until after the third century. They used a fish symbol containing the letters ΙΧΘΥΣ to identify themselves and their buildings. Old stone crosses found in India were brought to India by Syrian and Persian Christian refugees long after the fourth century. – Ishwar Sharan


Taxila Cross


The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Lahore proudly exhibits a small cross in a glass case. It is known as the dubious “Taxila Cross”. When the cross was discovered in 1935, Cuthbert King, the British deputy commissioner of Rawalpindi, knew of the Acts of Thomas and seized upon this find as “proof” of the existence of Christianity in north-west India as early as the 1st century CE. His claims were vindicated by the fact that newly-excavated Sirkap did indeed date back to the 1st century. This cross was later presented to the Anglican Bishop of Lahore.

The “Taxila Cross” with four distinctive equal-length arms, was adopted as the symbol of the Church of Pakistan—a denomination resulting from a 1970 union of Anglicans, Lutherans, United Methodists and Presbyterians. The May 1988 symposium jointly sponsored by the Pakistan Christian History Project, the Rawalpindi Diocesan Pastoral Center and the Christian Study Center at Rawalpindi, showed much interest in the famed Buddhist shrine as the site of St. Thomas the Apostle’s visit and [claimed it] sacred to Christianity. Father Rahmat Hakim of the Diocesan Pastoral Center proposed to raise a suitable monument to St. Thomas near the archaeological site of Sirkap.

Renowned writer and fellow, Royal Geographical Society, Salman Rashid, wrote that when a cross was reported outside the ruins of Sirkap, the second city of Taxila, at Pakistan  in 1935, poor and not-so-educated local Christians went wild with the joy of discovering how long fellow believers had lived in this land; there was also no dearth of Raj officers who also foolishly fell into this trap. No notice was paid to the fact that the cross was not found in any datable stratum of the ruins, but by a farmer tilling a field outside the ruins of Sirkap, the second city of Taxila (Taxila Cross, The Express Tribune, Dec. 16, 2011).


Christian fish symbol


But India’s Left academicians accept the apocryphal Acts of Judas Thomas the Apostle, and propagate it in universities and major research centres. Three major Marxist historians—D.N. Jha, Romila Thapar and R.S. Sharma—have vehemently argued in their published works, the arrival of Apostle Thomas into India from Parthia (corresponding roughly to present-day north-eastern Iran). The Apostle entered Indo-Parthian regions of present Afghanistan and Pakistan, as argued by these Left historians.

The Left historians have vindicated the claims by Pope Benedict XVI, addressing a vast crowd at St. Peter’s Square, that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia and then penetrated as far as western India from where Christianity also reached south India (Controversy over Pope’s remarks among Kerala Christians, Outlook, Nov. 22, 2006). It was with this objective that the Left historians launched the Spice Route–Pattanam Project in Kerala. For vindicating the Vatican historiography, the Indian disciples of Marx do not require archaeological evidence, historical documents, or honesty.

D.N. Jha, in his two works, Ancient India: In Historical Outline and Early India: A Concise History, contends the historicity of Apostle Thomas at the end of first century BC. Jha argues that the apostle’s presence at the court of Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares, who controlled north western India, is historically documented and also Christianity in India. Jha debates that, according to later sources, the apostle achieved martyrdom at Mylapore, where he was assassinated. Romila Thapar in her work, The Penguin History of Early IndiaFrom the Origins to AD 1300, provides two missions for Apostle Thomas in India. Thapar attributes the first mission of the apostle through north-west India, associating the Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares. She provides the second occasion in AD 52 at Malabar in Kerala. Unlike the polemic of many Ramayanas which the Left historians often raise, Thapar has no doubt that there was only one Apostle Thomas. Both Jha and Thapar uphold the legend regarding the martyrdom of Apostle Thomas at Mylapore near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Thapar is also a supervisor of the Spice Route-Pattanam project for establishing the historicity of the Apostle in India. Noted Left historian R.S. Sharma in his work, India’s Ancient Past, gives credence to the arrival of Apostle Thomas in the Indo-Parthian region to propagate Christianity in India.

Marxist historians in India frequently quote A.K. Ramanujan’s essay Three Hundred Ramayanas to raise the issue of many Ramayanas, disparaging the original text. They dispute the historicity of Ayodhya and question its archaeology and tradition, but corroborate and confirm the legend of Apostle Thomas and Christianity in India in 52 AD. Depending on Indo-Parthian tradition and the dubious “Taxila Cross”, they articulate for the apotheosis of Apostle Thomas in India. Some of the self-styled independent and secular historians also appeared on behalf of the Babri Masjid Action Committee and Sunni Central Waqf Board as experts on the Ayodhya issue.

D.N. Jha was part of the four member team of Left historians, which included M. Athar Ali, Suraj Bhan and R.S. Sharma, who submitted a report in 1991 titled, Ramjanmabhoomi–Babri Masjid: A Historians Report to the Nation. The report concluded that no textual and archaeological evidence existed for any veneration being attached to any spot in Ayodhya. It argued that that the controversy was created by the Sangh Parivar for political gains.

The Allahabad High Court’s voluminous judgment on Ayodhya in September 2012 raised strong objections from Left historians. The court questioned the competence of various “expert” witnesses and cast doubts on their intellectual integrity, which provoked the Left.  Thereafter, 61 “intellectuals” led by Romila Thapar, from the Left-liberal establishment, attacked the judgment as “another blow to India’s secular fabric”. Eminent historian Meenakshi Jain’s recent work, Rama and Ayodhya exposes the Left agenda and duplicity.

In 2009, D.N. Jha argued that archaeological evidence becomes important in their context of physical relationship to the surroundings in a certain material culture and intellectuals should come out in the open and say that there was no Ram temple in Ayodhya (Frontline, Vol.  26, Issue 25, Dec. 05-18, 2009).

Later in an interview, Jha vehemently argued that faith should never be allowed to supersede historical evidence as it negates history (Frontline, Vol. 27, Issue 21, Oct. 09-22, 2010). On the Ayodhya issue, Jha has emphasized that if it is a case of “belief”, then it becomes an issue of theology, not archaeology (Historical evidence ignored, say historians, The Hindu, Oct. 01, 2010). Does this observation apply to the apotheosis given to Apostle Thomas by the Left trinity, Jha-Thapar-Sharma, without a single historical evidence in their published works? Is it Marxist theology as argued by Anglican clergymen, Robert Cummings, Conrad Noel, Hewlett Johnson and Alan Ecclestone? Does it vindicate Raphael Samuel who describes the commitment of Communists to “missionary” work and narrates how Communism is a “crusading order” and a complete scheme of social salvation?

Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos who is the Diocesan Bishop of Delhi for the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, observed that St. Thomas came to India to spread the gospel  in A.D. 52 (The government’s intention is suspicious, Frontline, Jan. 9, 2015). The same year, CPI(M) politburo member M.A. Baby said it is widely believed that Apostle Thomas came to Kodungalloor (near Pattanam) and through him Christianity reached Kerala even before it reached Europe (ASI Doubting Thomases Suspend Dubious KCHR St. Thomas Dig, The Telegraph, Oct. 1, 2015). The CPI(M) which vehemently questions the historicity of Ramayana and Ayodhya, openly marshals the case of Apostle Thomas.

The British Museum launches and coordinates many biblical archaeology projects across the world. It has many publications on biblical archaeology. Illustrations of Old Testament History by R.D. Barnnett, The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence by T.C. Mitchell, and Dual Heritage: The Bible and the British Museum by Norman S. Prescott, are only some examples. Hence, the British Museum’s interest is inherent in the Pattanam-Spice Route Project associated with the Apostle and sponsored by Left historians.

The British Museum has been involved from the beginning with establishing the historicity of Apostle Thomas in India. The British Museum supports KCHR sponsored Spice Route-Pattanam Project via Roberta Tomber. Tomber and P.J. Cherian, former director of the Left-controlled KCHR, jointly presented in March 2011 a paper titled Ports of the Periplus and the search for Muziris, at a seminar organized by British Museum on the theme “Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World”.

The museum also sponsored a three-day workshop in August 15-19, 2013 hosted by Prof. K. Rajan of Pondicherry University, who is also the administrator of the Left controlled KCHR. Rajan has raised much controversy as a major champion of Keezhadi archaeological site in Tamil Nadu (Digging up Madurai’s Sangam past, Frontline, Feb. 19, 2016). Keezhadi is dubiously linked with Pattanam. Keezhadi raised much controversy because of its excavator, Amarnath Ramakrishna’s, association with the Federation of Tamil Sangams in North America (FeTNA). FeTNA publicly supported the cause of ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils in the Sri Lankan civil war and the Catholic Church is accused of heavily associating with the LTTE.


Read: Keezhadi and Pattanam: Global plot to break India


Administrator-historian C. Achyuta Menon, who wrote the Cochin State Manual in 1911, makes an interesting observation on the church of Apostle Thomas at the Malayattur forest region in Ernakulam district. Menon observes that this Christian pilgrimage centre was once a Hindu temple, which was handed over to the Christian community of the region because a granite cross made an appearance “spontaneously” by the side of the idol. Interestingly, this church has direct access from the dubious Pattanam archaeological site excavated by Left historians.

With the launching of Spice Route-Pattanam Project by Left historians, the move to declare Malayattoor Church a global pilgrim centre was swift and rapid. The Roman Catholic Church declared the St. Thomas Church at Malayattoor an international pilgrim centre (International pilgrim centre status for Malayattoor church, The Hindu, April 25, 2004). The same year, the Catholics of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II, installed the holy relics of St. Thomas at the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church at Niranom near Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala (Holy relics of St. Thomas installed, The Hindu, Dec. 22, 2004). The Malayattoor shrine was inaugurated by Pedro Lopez Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio in India (Malayattoor Kurisumudi inauguration tomorrow, The Hindu, Feb. 12, 2005).

Rev. Father P.J. Lawrence Raj, an assistant priest in Chennai, communicates with the bishops of the Catholic world seeking brand recognition for St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and the man largely credited with bringing Christianity to India through the Malabar coast in 52 AD. He says it is believed that the Apostle Thomas was murdered by a group of Hindus who did not fancy his proselytizing. (An apostle returns: Bringing St. Thomas back to Chennai, The Hindu, Oct. 27, 2018) Jha and Thapar vindicate this church myth regarding the martyrdom of Apostle Thomas at Mylapore, for which they require hardly any proof. The Left historians breed intolerance and religious chauvinism in India by incriminating Hindu society for the alleged martyrdom of Apostle Thomas.Vijayvaani, 11 May 2019


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


San Thome Cathedral cover-up uncovered – G.P. Srinivasan


“There were some broken pillar lengths, and bottom portion of Shiva lingam, and a round stone kept atop the bottom avudayar of Shiva lingam. In the few feet gap between the church’s backside and the chapel, there was a broken Tamil inscription on granite stone piece peculiar to Hindu temples.” – G.P. Srinivasan


Martyrdom of St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens (1636-38)


Chennai’s self-styled historian S. Muthiah has been propagating the fable of Thomas’s visit to India promoted by the Portuguese over 500 years ago. The Catholic establishment has generously supported this fable. Elders used to mention to their children about the presence of an old Shiva temple on the sea coast. After publication of the book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple by Ishwar Sharan, in 1991, the public were aware of the dangers of the theory of the visit of Thomas to India. The Church was trying to make Hindus villains, like what they have done to the Jews for 2000 years.

By 1990 eminent citizens of Madras installed a 15 feet by 4 feet high marble memorial plaque on the eastern gopuram of the Kapaleeswara Temple, Mylapore, Chennai, whereon they inscribed that the Portuguese destroyed the original temple on the beach side in the 16th century.[1] Though the mischief of S. Muthiah and his colleagues like Archbishop Arulappa, Deivanayagam and Ganesh Ayer were exposed in Ishwar Sharan’s the book, S. Muthiah was in no mood to give up. In an article in The Hindu of 7 January 2004, S. Muthiah had revised his theory. He modified his article, this time without the prefix ‘Saint’ before Thomas, and the title “The Mount of Thomas” was given. But within the article he made a sarcastic remark about Ishwar Sharan. We brought it to the notice of Ishwar Sharan and also Veda Prakash who had done much of the research, and requested them to send a detailed rejoinder to S. Muthiah and The Hindu. Immediately they both sent their rejoinders to The Hindu and to S. Muthiah. And as usual, their replies were not published by The Hindu.[2]


Pseudo-historian S. Muthiah & Comrade N. Ram: Neither have the courage to tell the truth about the Portuguese in Mylapore and the destruction of the original Kapali Temple.


In his rejoinder, Ishwar Sharan wrote:

“My quarrel with Mr. Muthiah and the English-language media that promote the St. Thomas legend, is that the legend does indeed intrude on and demean the Hindu community. It falsely implicates a Hindu king and his priests in the persecution and murder of a Christian apostle and saint, and there is good reason to believe that this maligning of the Hindu community is exactly what is intended today when the legend is repeated and promoted ad nauseam by the Catholic Church and her agents in the press. In fact, the Hindu community is doubly wronged. It not only did not kill the fictional St. Thomas but for the saint’s cause it lost a number of important temples to the aggressive religious bigotry of the Portuguese. It took more than fifty years for the Portuguese to bring down the original Kapaleeswara Temple and build a St. Thomas Church in its place. I wonder how many Indian lives were lost in defence of the Great God Shiva and His house on the Mylapore beach.”

His reply exposes how the Roman Catholic Church has written and is writing and trying to perpetuate pseudo history in South India.

Here, I would also like to share my experience with your readers. I came across the book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple by Ishwar Sharan and Indiavil Saint Thomas Katukkadai by Veda Prakash, in 2001, and decided to visit the spots mentioned in the book.


https://ishwarsharan.com/the-myth-of-saint-thomas-and-the-mylapore-shiva-temple/Bones pieces in the San Thome Cathedral museum.


In July 2001 when I went to the Mylapore St. Thomas Church, the stone pillar from the remains of the old Hindu temple, which was mentioned by Ishwar Sharan, was exactly there near the compound wall, as mentioned in the book. I took a walk around the church. In an area  between the main church and a chapel on the backside [viz. a lane from Santhome High Road to the beach, the church on the left and the bishop’s house on the right], there was a board in English announcing “Museum”. It was locked but I saw that there were some broken pillar lengths, and bottom portion of Shiva lingam, and a round stone kept atop the bottom avudayar of Shiva lingam. In the few feet gap between the church’s backside and the chapel, there was a broken Tamil inscription on granite stone piece peculiar to Hindu temples. Subsequently I took some Hindu friends to show these temple remains, and we had to do it discretely. This was to create eyewitness evidence. We made a couple of visits, and found the remains intact.

Sometime later, I was driving along the Santhome High Road, and found some construction going on in the church. A new grotto with water fountain and a Christ-like figure standing in the cave’s entrance had come up. I checked up for the original pillar from the temple measuring 12 to 14 feet. It was not there. I was perturbed. At least these remnants from the original temple should be preserved.


Lorry disposing of rubble and other 'waste' from the San Thome Cathedral some place in the Chennai area without authority from the ASI (photo for illustrative purpose only).


On a visit in December 2001, I found there was a big celebration going on the church grounds. The pastor was speaking. Some parts of his talk drew my attention.

He said that he was worried whether the function would go at all. And so lorry loads of building waste material had to be removed. And one Kumar lorry operator or contractor, obviously close to the church, has done a fine job. He was appreciated and honored by the pastor who spoke on the dais on 31 December 2001. He said that he was greatly relieved, for that building waste removal has not attracted any unwanted attention. I presumed that what he meant was that the new stage was constructed after the removal of the old mandapam from the compound, and the pastor was worried about the consequences of this illegal removal.

It is not known whether San Thome Church authorities took permission from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to remove the ancient Shiva temple rubble? Secondly, they should not have dumped the lorry loads of the old dilapidated mandapam, completely removed from the compound and clandestinely taken to some waste yard. Did they take permission to do it from the Archeological Survey of India?[3]


1. In part the plaque reads: “Ptolomey the Greek geographer has referred to Mylapore in his books as ‘Maillarpha’, a well known seaport town with a flourishing trade. Saint Thiruvalluvar, the celebrated author of Thirukkural, the world famous ethical treatise, lived in Mylapore nearly 2000 years ago. The Shaivite saints of the 7th century, Saint Sambandar and Saint Appar, have sung about this shrine in their hymns. St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus, is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd century (sic) AD. Mylapore fell into the hands of the Portuguese in 1566, when the temple suffered demolition. The present temple was rebuilt about 300 years ago. There are some fragmentary inscriptions from the old temple, still found in the present shrine and in St. Thomas Cathedral.”

2. The Hindu immediately put a copyright notice on the article on its online edition so that it could not be reproduced for comment by Ishwar Sharan in 2004. The notice has since been removed and the article has been made available for comment.

3. The Archeological Survey of India is deeply involved in the cover-up at San Thome Cathedral. It is a government department and therefore subject to the dictates of the politicians in power and their policy of minority appeasement. Even former directors of the Tamil Nadu Department of Archeology like Dr. R. Nagaswamy, who have all the details of the destruction of the Kapaleeswara Temple by the Portuguese and the building of San Thome Cathedral on the ancient temple site, are not willing to speak out.

References

  • S. Muthiah’s article “The Mount of Thomas” in The Hindu, Chennai.
  • Ishwar Sharan’s rejoinder to  Muthiah’s article “The Mount of Thomas” in The Hindu, Chennai.

Dr. Nagaswamy refutes the St. Thomas myth from 11:30 mins … 


Archaeology: Sectarian and divisive politics in Tamil Nadu – G. Sreedathan 


There are serious allegations that the linking of Tamil Nadu archaeological sites with Pattanam is designed to provide a Dravidian Christian identity for Southern India and help the Church raise political claims. The Left historians have always been the aggressive promoters of the Aryan-Dravidian binary. They propagated the theory of British linguists Francis Ellis and Alexander Campbell that South Indian languages fell into a different category far removed from the Aryan languages. – G. Sreedathan


Thomas Cross & Sickle


Archaeology as a tool for evangelization and balkanization of India

In an interview to Malayalam weekly Madhyamam on October 15, 2018, Prof. Vasanth Shinde, veteran archaeologist and Vice Chancellor of Deccan College, Pune, premier institution of archaeological research in India, has dismissed excavations carried out at Pattanam in Kerala by Kerala Council of Historical Research (KCHR) as “dubious”. He completely rejected the claims made by the excavators—some of them lacked professional or academic expertise to carry out such an excavation. He was not alone. Eminent historians and archeologists such as Prof Dilip Chakrabarti, A. Sundara, M.G.S. Narayanan, R. Nagaswamy and T. Satyamurti have also severely criticized the excavation sponsored and launched by the Left political parties and supported by dubious foreign Christian organisations.

Experts pointed out that the methodology used was dubious and reports false. Its links with questionable Church organizations in India and abroad and funding thereof had raised many eyebrows in the academic circles. Istvan Perczel from Hungary, one of the patrons of Pattanam, lauded it as the site where Apostle Thomas landed in India and established Indian Christianity. The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia based in New York supported Pattanam excavator P.J. Cherian in his historical studies. The Liturgical Research Centre of the Syro-Malabar Church organized national seminars in 2005 at Kochi, and in 2011 at Kalyan in Mumbai, for corroborating Pattanam and Christianity.  Federico de Romanis, Biblical scholar from University of Rome was invited in 2009 by KCHR to conduct classes in Latin and Greece. Dr. N.M. Mathew, member of KCHR, is also historian of the Malankara Marthoma Church.

The Ministry of Home Affairs identified the unbridled foreign funds received by KCHR and cancelled its license under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010. The KCHR was accused of creating fake government documents, illegal appointments and financial irregularities running into crores. It is also alleged that the KCHR obtained the licence for the Pattanam excavation after submitting fake documents to the Archaeological Survey of India (see “Rampant irregularities detected at KCHR“).


K. Rajan


Prof. K. Rajan of Pondicherry University enters the scene

Of late, one of the foremost propagandists of Pattanam is Prof. K. Rajan of Pondicherry University who is currently member of the KCHR administration. Prof. Rajan and Cherian jointly promote Pattanam. They link Pattanam with Kodumanal, Thandikudi, Porunthal Keezhadi and other archaeological sites in Tamil Nadu.  When Rajan ignores serious allegations on duplicity on Pattanam and its Biblical agenda by eminent scholarship, it also raises serious doubts on sites in Tamil Nadu which he excavated and constantly associates Pattanam. R. Sivanantham, deputy director, Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology, officially arranged  a lecture on Pattanam by Cherian on October 30, 2018. The programme was chaired by T. Udhayachandran, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu. The programme has been severely criticized by archaeologists.

Archaeological Survey of India conducted an inquiry into dubious methodologies adopted by the KCHR at Pattanam which was taken up by  Amarnath Ramakrishna, the then superintendent archaeologist of the ASI, Bengaluru centre. His investigation has been suppressed, but later Amarnath Ramakrishna also took up the Keezhadi excavation. The CPI(M) which launched Pattanam has openly supported Amarnath Ramakrishna who supervised Keezhadi which shows the notorious nexus between Church and Left historians. It is alleged that Amarnath submitted a favourable report for Pattanam excavations.

The carbon dating conducted at Pattanam, Keezhadi and Palani by Cherian, K. Rajan and Amarnath Ramakrishna has been done by Beta Analytic Inc., Florida, USA which has raised eyebrows. These sites have been presently interlinked by these excavators. Archeologists say that the interlinking of Keezhadi and Pattanam sites has “strong undercurrents of secessionism”.

Marxists and their missionary position

There are serious allegations that the linking of these Tamil Nadu sites with Pattanam is designed to provide a Dravidian Christian identity for Southern India and help the Church raise political claims. The Left historians have always been the aggressive promoters of the Aryan-Dravidian binary. They propagated the theory of British linguists Francis Ellis and Alexander Campbell that South Indian languages fell into a different category far removed from the Aryan languages.

Brian Houghton Hodgson promoted the term “Tamulian” as a racial construct, describing the so-called aborigines of India as primitive and uncivilized compared to the invading Aryans. Bishop Robert Caldwell launched the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, carried forward by Bishop G.U. Pope,” says Dr. B.S. Harishankar in his article “Keezadi and Pattanam: Global plot to break India”

A few years ago, a prominent western evangelical portal carried an article which said how archeology can be an effective tool in evangelization. When the British set up the Archaeological Survey of India, they too had similar motives. Author and archaeologist Michel Danino, in an article, Digging into the Human Mindwrites the motives of Alexander Cunningham, the first director-general of ASI, “were not wholly disinterested”. Cunningham hoped to “show that Brahminism … was of comparatively modern origin, and had been constantly receiving additions and alterations; facts which prove that the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed” (Muziris: Attimariyude Reethisasthram). – Indus Scrolls, 2018 


P. J. Cherian & Robert Eisenman


P.J. Cherian's CV : No equipped for archaeological studies! AG's report on Cherian's foreign tour conducted without government approval.AG's report on misappropriated funds


 

Archaeology: Politics of the past in Tamil Nadu and Kerala – B.S. Harishankar


“If the cooperation between politicians and historians is too close, it might be harmful since the relationship between history and politics can develop into a fatal friendship offering the reward of public attention and moral esteem whilst destroying the radical independence of historical research and its disposition to rethink history.” – Dr. Martin Sabrow


KCHR


Martin Sabrow, Professor of History at the University of Potsdam, Germany,  warned  in 2009  that, if the cooperation between politicians and historians is too close, it might be harmful since the relationship between history and politics can develop into a fatal friendship offering the reward of public attention and moral esteem whilst destroying the radical independence of historical research and its disposition to rethink history.

Sabrow’s views have relevance currently, when there is  an orchestrated campaign to establish a  hoax  identity of  the past to raise divisive political and religious claims in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The ongoing manoeuvres to associate the disputed  Pattanam site in Kerala with Kodumanal, Keezhadi, Porunthal and other unearthed spots in Tamilnadu, has already  sparked  controversies. But few are aware of  the fact that,  the very integrity of Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) which unearthed Pattanam, was seriously questioned by the Kerala state government and historians  much before the current  excavations.

Following serious complaints on KCHR about “procedural and financial irregularities” and its “approach to the writing of history”, the former Congress government led by Chief Minister A.K. Antony decided to dissolve it on September 22, 2001. Vindicating the government decision, Prof. M.G.S. Narayanan, former chairman of the ICHR, charged that the formation of the KCHR was “a Marxist party conspiracy to hijack history for its destructive, sectarian purpose of party propaganda” and welcomed the government’s move to dissolve it (Frontline, Oct. 13 – 26, 2001).

Left lobbies protested against the Congress government decision to  dismiss the KCHR. On September 25, 2001, the Safdar  Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) a Left cultural forum, called  upon the Kerala Government to immediately reinstate the KCHR. It was signed by Left historians such as  R.S. Sharma, Irfan Habib, K.M. Shrimali, D.N. Jha,  and  Sumit Sarkar.


P. J. Cherian


Upholding the state government’s decision, the Kerala High Court dismissed a writ petition challenging the dissolution of KCHR. Justice G. Sivarajan held that the petition filed by P.J. Cherian, director of KCHR and its three members was without merits (The Times of India, Dec. 20, 2001).

But following immense pressure jointly launched by Church and Left lobbies, the Congress high command directed Chief Minister A.K. Antony who was  ultimately forced to reinstate the KCHR.

The leading patrons of Pattanam which was claimed as the ancient trading port of  Muziris, were Euro-American scholars. Istvan Perczel from Hungary, one of the patrons of Pattanam, and also a  scholar in Early Christianity and Byzantine history, solicited that it provides much potential for research as the site where Apostle Thomas landed in India and established Indian Christianity (Muziris Heritage Project: Pattanam Excavations, KCHR,  2008). He also delivered a lecture at KCHR, on history of Kerala Christianity, along with  Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregorios, and theologian Ninan Koshy (The Hindu, Feb. 12, 2008).

The Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology and the Pontifical Academy of Archaeology, both at Vatican, functions for the purpose of promoting and directing excavations in the catacombs of Rome and on other sites of Christian antiquarian interest, and for safeguarding the objects found during such excavations. Consequently, the Liturgical Research Centre of the Syro-Malabar Church invited the KCHR, for its national seminars in 2005 at Kochi, and in 2011 at Kalyan in Mumbai, to present papers corroborating Pattanam and Christianity. The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia based in New York supported Pattanam excavator P.J. Cherian in his historical studies (The New Indian Express, Feb. 17, 2011). Eleven students from the University of Georgia visited Pattanam to learn the historical, theological and sociological aspects of the ancient trading port of Muziris and Christianity in the state (The Hindu, Dec. 25, 2011). It was a global campaign that an ancient biblical site has been finally unearthed in India.


Pattanam dig and St Thomas


Orthodox churches also  took a genuine interest in Pattanam. Keynote address by Fr. Dr. K.M. George at the public meeting of Malankara Orthodox Church at the reception for Bishop Catholicos Marthoma Paulose II, on March 13, 2011, in  Tyagaraja Stadium, New Delhi, lauded Pattanam for  finally establishing the two millennium old history of apostle Thomas in India.


Prof. K. Rajan


Following escalating controversies on KCHR and Pattanam, archaeologists from major Indian institutes and universities kept away from the project. But despite serious charges of fake documentation, financial irregularities and transforming myth into history, it was Dr. K. Rajan of Pondicherry University who is one of the foremost patrons of Pattanam. He  associates Pattanam with various sites in Tamil Nadu, thus not only collaborating to establish a biblical myth as history, but also constructing a larger communal space for the Church to raise political claims in South India. Rajan observed that the cultural transformation from the Iron Age to the Early Historic Period discernible at Pattanam was unique to Peninsular India (The Hindu, May 12, 2009).

The Pattanam team acknowledges Rajan’s guidance in May 2012 for assistance to the Kongu Region, including Kodumanal, Kangayam, Arachalur and Arasampalayam. Seminars on Indian Ocean trade of Pattanam conducted by KCHR and British Museum  in August 2013 was hosted by Department of History, University of Pondicherry and chaired by Rajan. British Museum which collaborates with Pattanam is associated with biblical scholars such as Michael Jursa and Irvin Finkel. Pattanam Museum in Ernakulam was inaugurated by Finkel. Oxford which also collaborates with Pattanam,  has a long history in biblical archaeology with scholars such as  Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Roger Moorey, Andrew Sherratt, and Levantine Archaeology Laboratory as well as Ashmolean Museum.

Mario Seiglie, a missionary and columnist,  wrote that archaeology makes a believer, and abundance of archaeological evidence in support of the Bible can strengthen faith, and in some cases it has greatly contributed in giving birth to belief, where none existed before. This observation has much relevance in Pattanam and its linked sites in Tamil Nadu, in the Apostle Thomas context..

K. Rajan and P.J. Cherian jointly propagates presentations linking the Tamil Nadu-Kerala region in the backdrop of excavations at Kodumanal, Thandikudi, Porunthal and Pattanam  (Pattanam Fifth Season: Field Report, 2011, KCHR). Currently, Rajan is member of the KCHR administration. There are serious allegations that field reports on sites such as Kodumanal, Thandikudi and Porunthal are prepared for promoting Pattanam which has much political and religious connotations.

In this context, we are reminded of what the Bavarian Minister for Education and Cultural affairs, Hans Schemm, declared  in 1933, to lecturers at the University of Munich that, it is no longer their task to find out if something is true, but if it accords with the beliefs of the National Socialist government. In the present context it is the beliefs of the Left government in Kerala and church denominations in India that matters.

It is not that Prof. Rajan is ignorant of serious financial corruption and academic forgery accused on Pattanam. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) identified the unbridled foreign funds received by KCHR and cancelled its license along with Kerala Muslim Educational Association and Kerala United Theological Seminary under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (The New Indian Express, Dec. 8, 2016).

Earlier the accountant general detected the irregularities in the KCHR audit report of 2010-11 (The New Indian Express, July 22, 2012). Later in 2016, the KCHR was accused in creation of fake government documents, illegal appointments and financial irregularities worth crores. It is also alleged that the KCHR obtained the licence for the Pattanam excavation after submitting fake documents to the Archaeological Survey of India.

Following serious charges on Pattanam excavations, and unscientific approaches adopted by the KCHR, a  probe was conducted on the basis of complaints to the Union Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma.  Based on the complaints, a meeting of the central advisory panel of the ASI asked the KCHR to temporarily stop the excavations (Business Standard, Jan. 5, 2016).


Iravatham Mahadevan


Even, late Iravatham Mahadevan, who earlier applauded Pattanam as potentially important (The Hindu, Mar. 14, 2011), later declined to make any comments or observation on the site following widespread controversies.

The Pattanam site has been questioned not by activists, but by eminent south asian archaeologists and historians such as Profs. Dilip Chakrabarti, A. Sundara, Vasant Shinde, M.G.S. Narayanan, R. Nagaswamy and T. Satyamurti. When Rajan ignores serious allegations on Pattanam  by  eminent  scholarship,  it also raises serious doubts on sites in Tamil Nadu with which he constantly associates Pattanam. Already the Keezhadi site  has generated enough controversies.

The recent controversy on Pattanam erupted after R. Sivanantham, deputy director, Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology, officially facilitated a lecture on Pattanam by P.J. Cherian on Oct. 30, 2018. The programme was chaired by T. Udhayachandran, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu.

Archaeological Survey of India’s probe into alleged unscientific approaches adopted by the KCHR at Pattanam, was taken up by Amarnath Ramakrishna, the then superintendent archaeologist of the ASI, Bengaluru centre (Business Standard, Jan. 5, 2016). His findings are kept in the dark, but later Amarnath Ramakrishna also took up the Keezhadi excavation. The CPI(M) which launched Pattanam has openly supported Amarnath Ramakrishna who supervised Keezhadi (The Hindu, Oct. 6, 2018), which  shows  how  the Left  functions in manufacturing cultural data for church lobbies.

 ASI director general Rakesh Tewari said Amarnath Ramakrishna should publish a report on the Keezhadi excavation. Then only the ASI shall give him the license for the third year because he has got more than 4,000 artefacts (“More excavation only after report,” Frontline, Jan. 2, 2017).

Dating of all these interlinked sites including Pattanam, have been done at the same institution at USA. The carbon dating conducted on Keezhadi, has been done by Beta Analytic Inc., Florida, USA (The Hindu, Sept. 30, 2017). The carbon dating at Pattanam was also conducted at Beta Analytic Inc., despite the fact that India has premier dating laboratories. Accelerator mass spectrometry dating of the paddy from Palani site excavated by Prof. Rajan was also  done by Beta Analysis Inc. which assigned the paddy to 490 BCE (“Palani excavation triggers fresh debate,” The Hindu, Aug. 29, 2011). It has also much relevance since research by Cornell University archaeologists, Stuart Manning and colleagues shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark, thus calling historical timelines into question.

The 21st annual Tamil convention of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) was also held in Florida. The theme of the three day convention was “Preserve the Tamil race by protecting the language”. Florida is a major stronghold of FeTNA and the carbon dating of  both Keezhadi and Pattanam in Florida raises serious suspicion.


Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj


FeTNA in April, 2018, invited Amarnath Ramakrishna to deliver a lecture on the Keezhadi excavations. The ASI denied him permission to participate as guest of honor at this event, possibly because FeTNA publicly supported the cause of ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils in the Sri Lankan civil war. Time and again, the Sri Lanka Guardian has warned that the Catholic Church is heavily involved with the LTTE from the 1970s (“Catholic Church, an ally of Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka”, Guardian, April 4, 2009). The FeTNA has been a major campaigner and fund-raiser for the Tamil Chair at the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. George L. Hart, known for his Dravidian politics, was hired for the chair. FeTNA also honoured Jagath Gasper, Catholic propagandist for Christianizing Tamil culture.

Thillai Kumaran, the  former  president of FeTNA, represented it in the vicious 2006 California textbook campaign launched by FOIL, FOSA and many members of the CAG against Hindu groups who were advocating for an equitable treatment of Hinduism vis-a-vis other leading global religions in sixth grade textbooks. FeTNA’s testimony at the California Curriculum Commission made the dubious claim that the early Tamil texts clearly distinguish between Tamils and Aryans. The  co-founders of FOIL are two  Indian Leftists, Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad.

Harvard scholar Michael Witzel has admitted that he and his associates were in contact with FeTNA in the California textbook campaign. Thillai Kumaran, representing FeTNA, in their letter dated  Feb. 19, 2006, wrote  to Glee Johnson of California State Board of Education, thanking Witzel for the efforts in proposing edits in pursuance of the Colorado evangelical church agenda. Witzel’s supporters in the California textbook battle include two evangelical groups: Dalit Freedom Network and Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA. DFN president Joseph D’Souza also patronizes the All India Christian Council.

The Left–church syndicate at Pattanam and its current association with Tamil Nadu archaeological sites has to be understood in a global context. The fervor shown for propaganda and for dating them in one institution in America has also  generated questions regarding politics of the past in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. – Bharatkalyan, 9 December 2018

Dr. B. S. Harishankar is an author and senior archaeological researcher.


Syrian-style gold cross


Read more at:


 

Syrian Orthodox bishop doubts St. Thomas visited South India – Times News Network

“St. Thomas did not visit Kerala and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity.” – Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Jacobite Syrian Church


Geevarghese Mor Coorilos


The following remarkable news item appeared in The Times of India, Kochi edition, on 13 April 2018:

After the land scam, another controversy has erupted in the Syro-Malabar Church. This time around, the ruckus is over the historical validity of the claim that St. Thomas the apostle had visited Kerala.

Three days ago, Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church said St. Thomas hadn’t visited the state and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity.


Paul Thelekatt


Syro-Malabar Church official spokesperson and senior priest belonging to Enakulam-Angamali diocese Fr. Paul Thelekatt too agreed with the Niranam bishop: “There is no valid evidence to prove the visit of St. Thomas to Kerala. It is believed that he visited Kerala in the first century and converted Brahmins to Christianity. But the migration of Brahmins to Kerala began only in the 7th century,[1] indicating that such claims were false. The fact is that a group of people followed Christianity for several centuries in Kerala.”

Syrian Christians in Kerala believe that St. Thomas had visited Kerala and converted the upper caste Namboodiris to Christianity. They believe St. Thomas had also built eight churches (also known as 7.5 churches) in various parts of Kerala. The Syrian Christians are also known as St. Thomas Christians. “Even the Pope has made it clear that St. Thomas had not visited Kerala. But a certain section among Kerala Christians have been nursing a certain caste bias claiming to be descendants of upper caste Hindus who were converted to Christianity,” said Fr. Thelakkat. In fact, Syrian Christians in Changanacherry, Pala and Kanjirappally claim that they belong to upper caste Hindu families converted by St. Thomas. Most of the families in these areas reportedly claim they hail from “Athi Puratana Katholika Kudumbam”.

However, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) doesn’t seemed to be amused over the controversy.

“There is no need to discuss the issue now. Those who raised the issue should solve it,” said KCBC official spokesperson Fr. Varghese Vallikkatt. – The Times of India, 3 April 2018


St. Thomas makes the Sandhyavandanam water offering of the Namboothiri Brahmins stand in the air.


1. There is a record of Namboodiri Brahmins in Kerala in the middle of the fourth century CE, when the practice of the Vedic Shrauta traditions were revived. The sixth or seventh century dates for their appearance is a politically-coloured Marxist conjecture. But it is true that there is no record of Namboodiris in Kerala in the first three and a half centuries CE (as there is none for Christians).