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Friday, June 2, 2023

Dindigul temple inscription defaced by Christian evangelist

Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu has a unique temple where devotees seek the approval of the presiding deity to conduct the annual festival. Muthalamman temple in the village of Agaram (அகரம்) is considered to be the first-ever temple for Muthalamman in TN.

The village derives its name from the first letter of Tamil alphabets, அ, as it is said to house the first-ever temple for the deity. The uniqueness of this temple is that to conduct the annual festival, a grand affair for a week, devotees, and the pujari ask for the approval of the goddess.

It is said that the goddess takes the form of a lizard and makes sound near the Bhutha Raja statute, where this ritual is performed. If the lizard makes sound elsewhere then it is taken that the goddess is angry and does not want the festival to be conducted. In this manner, the festival was dropped for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.

Along with such unique background and rituals, the temple also has a stone inscription describing the origin and specialties of the temple and the presiding deity. This stone, revered so far as a treasure, was defaced by a fanatical evangelist who pasted a poster on it. The poster had the verses of the old and new testaments beginning with “In the name of the father, son and the holy ghost” and stating, “I’m the lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no other god; I’ll strengthen you though you have not acknowledged me” from the verses of Esaya. 

Another verse on the right side taken from the new testament has the verses of John saying “You call me `Teacher’ and `Lord,’ and rightly so, for I am your ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord'”. It is apparent that these verses were carefully and deliberately chosen to degrade the devas of Sanatana Dharma. The poster further says, “There is no God except Jesus Christ. It is a sin to not believe him as the only God. This sin earns you hell”.

Hindu Munnani took cognizance of this and filed a complaint with the local police. However, no action was forthcoming and the pastor pasted the same poster again on the inscription after the previous one was torn down by the devotees.

This time Hindu Munnani threatened protest citing police inaction. Now the police have obliged and arrested one Antony Bhaskar Raj who pasted the posters intentionally. That someone can so brazenly put out such a poster denouncing someone else’s faith in their own place of worship has created discontent among the Hindus of the locality.

(Featured Image Source: Mission Kali Twitter Page)

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