Online Petition to Save Padmanabha Swami Temple and its Properties


 

This is an online petition related to saving the Sripadmanabhaswami temple properties.

http://www.petitiononline.com/save_pad/petition.html

 

The  appeal is made to The Prime Minister of India, The Chief Minister of Kerala, Cabinet Minsiters Govt.of India, Ministers of State Govt.of India, Ministers Kerala State to take steps to entrust the treasure to Lord Padmanabha swamy temple and also to free all Hindu temples from Government  control. Readers are requested to read the petition and sign it and also spread word to others.

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One thought on “Online Petition to Save Padmanabha Swami Temple and its Properties

  1. For the inf of your readers, I wish to reproduce the following. Hope you can host it in your site. Regards. SR Sankaran
    —————————————————————————–

    Most unfortunate our media would never publish this / give coverage.
    Amazing views. Must read

    Subject: Fw: An interview with the present 90 YEAR old Raja of
    Thiruvithaamkoor (Kerala).

    Please take time to read and circulate.Thanks.

    Subject: Re: An interview with the present 90 YEAR old Raja of
    Thiruvithaamkoor (Kerala).

    Fantastic ! This is what the crazy media-electronic and print-should
    widely publicise …..

    The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family’
    The head of a former royal family renounced any personal claim to
    billions of dollars’ worth of ancient treasure discovered in a temple in
    Thiruvanantharam, the kingdom his ancestors once ruled. Padma Rao
    Sundarji speaks to Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Verma, the former King of
    Tranvancore.
    PRS: What is your family’s connection with the Padmanabhaswamy temple?
    Varma: We are the Cheras, one of the four erstwhile royal families of
    South India and have a long and dynastic family tree. By 1750 Travancore
    had
    become rich and big. So my ancestor, the then king, made a unique
    spiritual and historical contribution. He decided to surrender all his
    riches to
    the temple – Padmanabhaswamy is also our family deity. He said our
    family would look after that wealth, the temple and the kingdom forever.
    But he
    did want the ego that comes with possessing it. He was influenced by
    Emperor Ashoka’s catharsis in the killing fields of Kalinga. So he
    declared
    our family to be Padmanabha’s ‘dasas’, devotees. A servant can resign
    his job, but a dasa can do so only when he dies.

    PRS: You are one of the wealthiest families in India and yet, you live
    in a spartan way, unlike many other ex-royals. Why?
    Varma: I have to go back a bit in time, to explain why. Everybody
    thinks that we Indians first rose against British colonial rule in 1857.
    Wrong.
    In 1741, Travancore was the only Asian power to defeat the Dutch when
    they arrived here. After the battle, all the Dutch soldiers kneeled
    before my
    ancestors. One Dutchman, Benedictus Eustachius, even joined our army.
    We called him the Great Kapitan. Later, I learned that he was [US
    president]
    Franklin Roosevelt’s ancestor when the latter’s grandson came to look
    at our historical records.
    Then in 1839, almost two decades before the mutiny, we rose against
    the British. Our punishment was severe. They disbanded our police and
    army of
    50,000, transferred our capital to Kollam, dumped two British
    regiments on us, and ordered us to pay for their upkeep. Thomas Munroe
    named himself
    Diwan of Travancore. When our spirit still did not flag, they brought
    in missionaries. But we did not get gobbled up by Western thought. We
    travel
    abroad occasionally, but it has not affected or changed our simple way
    of life. Why am I telling you this? So that you get an idea of how much
    our
    life has revolved around our faith, despite so many outside influences
    and kept us going.

    PRS: How do you feel about what is happening around the temple right
    now – its cellars being opened up, your donations being discussed around
    the
    world, the criticism, the furore?
    Varma: Sorry, I cannot comment on what is happening there – the matter
    is sub-judice. But this much I will say. I have no problem with the
    inventory and additional security being provided by the state to the
    temple. But please don’t remove those objects from the temple. They
    belong to
    nobody, certainly not to our family. They belong to god and our law
    permits that. All these debates swirling around the riches is
    unfortunate.
    That’s all I can say – I have to listen to my doctor, lawyer and
    auditor. Our family has been donating objects to the temple for
    centuries. As
    chief patron of the temple, I go there every day. If I miss a day, I
    am fined Rs 166.35 – an old Travancore tradition.

    PRS: But you cannot deny that such wealth could be put to better use
    for the poor.
    Varma: We Indians are more educated now. But this reaction to
    donations inside a temple is anything but progressive. We are slowly
    losing our
    Indian identity. Money has become everything. But I am not surprised.
    I would rather be philosophical than disillusioned because I can’t
    change the
    world.

    PRS: Then there is the rationalist argument that this is blind faith.
    Varma: Please think of England’s Henry VIII in the late 1500s. He had
    two passions. Wives and money. So he pillaged churches. Finally, he ran
    into
    a problem because he wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The
    church refused, because she was a zealous Spanish Catholic. His cardinal
    advised him to invent his own church. So he did that – just to get a
    divorce. Is that rational?
    It is rather difficult to explain our faith to the new world where
    people have none anymore. When selfishness grows, everything you do
    seems right,
    and everything others do seems wrong. It’s all about what do I get,
    not about what do I do. I like the memory of my trip to a game reserve
    South
    Africa. After seeing many wild animals, I asked the guide which was
    the most rapacious and fearsome. He showed me a mirror.

    PRS: What is your source of income? What does your family live off ?
    Varma: We have travel and hotel businesses. I am chairman of a former
    British company that exports various items from Kerala – but no, not
    pepper
    to Buckingham Palace, as reported. We also run seven trusts. We spend
    R5-8 lakh a year on education, health and housing for the poor. We pay
    good
    salaries. And the family itself contributes money every month. No
    government has acknowledged our work but that is all right. We do it
    because we
    want to do it.

    PRS: Gold statues studded with rubies and diamonds, saphhires, gold
    coins of the Napoleonic era and the East India Company. Is all that
    true?
    Varma: I have never been inside those cellars. Our philosophy has
    always been not to look at such objects and get tempted. But of course I
    know
    what is inside them.

    PRS: Are the younger members of your family angrier than you about the
    heated public debate?
    Varma: I am the most hot-blooded in this family but on this matter, we
    all feel the same. I was a soldier – a colonel for 15 years in the
    Madras
    Regiment. I would like to ask those criticizing us for donating these
    objects: why are they bothered about what someone else has done? What
    are
    they doing in the name of faith themselves ? Why the hot gossip over a
    donation to God?

    PRS: At 90, you don’t even use a walking stick. What is your daily
    routine ?
    Varma: We have all been brought up very strictly and frugally. My day
    starts at 4 am with yoga. I only drink milk, I am a vegetarian and a
    teetotaler. I read the Vedas everyday. I go the temple for a
    ten-minute private audience with the deity every morning. After that, I
    indulge in one
    of my hobbies – “media surgery.” I read the newspapers and clip
    articles over breakfast. I have a collection of the past 30 years. I
    will give
    those to the Trust because my children may not be interested. People
    come to meet me, they invite me to inaugurate functions. I speak
    extempore. I
    go from vertical to horizontal for about 20 minutes in the afternoon.
    I am in bed by 945. I have always slept well. Since there is nothing on
    my
    conscience, sleep comes swiftly.

    PRS: Are you now thinking of insuring those treasures, now that the
    whole world is talking about them, or are they already insured ?
    Varma: (laughs) I am least worried that they will be stolen. If that
    happens, then it was the Lord’s will.

    PRS: Among your ancestors were famous Carnatic musician Swati Thirunal
    and painter Raja Ravi Varma. What are your passions?
    Varma: Those two ancestors gave music and art divinity and humanity
    respectively. That continues. I love art. I once saw a piece of
    exquisite china
    in Venice. It was a girl on a swing with the sand looking worn just
    where her feet touched the ground each time. It cost 100 pounds, I could
    only
    afford 40, as foreign exchange was limited those days. So I went away.
    The dealer called me back and gave it to me. He said he could tell that
    I
    was not one of those who ordered 200 pieces of one kind, that I valued
    minute details.

    PRS: Kerala has been a Communist bastion for more than 50 years. Don’t
    you find it peculiar that people here still flurry around you, they
    respect
    you, they still call you Your Highness.
    Varma: Yes, that is quite amazing because I am a simple man, I don’t
    expect it at all. At religious gatherings in Haridwar where one of my
    two
    gurus lives, I always sit in the last row and am always dressed like
    this – mundu and bush-shirt. People who don’t know me come looking for
    the
    Raja of the South. When I raise my hand, they don’t believe me.

    PRS: How wealthy is your family, compared to the other – and
    internationally more famous – royals of Rajasthan and elsewhere?
    Varma: That is a mere technicality and has never been relevant to me.
    But I’ll tell you a story which will give you an idea. There used to be
    a
    British gun salute for the princely states of India: 21, the highest
    for the richest ruler, 11 for the poorest. When Tranvancore refused to
    contribute soldiers to the British Army in World War I, our slipped
    from 21 to 19.

    PRS: Who is your heir?
    Varma: We have a matriarchal system of inheritance. I have a daughter
    and a son but it is my sister’s son who will be king after me. I
    remember a
    European lady visiting us. I explained this complicated law of
    succession to her. When she went back, she told her friends that she had
    not
    understood a word, but only knew that whatever it was, it was good for
    women. Kerala is slowly turning patriarchal again. That is not good.
    Overall
    in our country, we treat women as second-class citizens. When you look
    at a man, you are looking at a human being, when you look at a woman,
    you
    are looking at a family.

    PRS: What is the feeling you get, when you spend those ten minutes at
    the Padmanabha shrine ? The daily communion between ruler and master, as
    you
    put it ?
    Varma: Gooseflesh. Everything is surrendered. It is a great, elating
    feeling. My hair stands on end with joy. Each and every time.
    (Padma Rao Sundarji is South Asia bureau chief of Der Spiegel)

    ._,___

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