A Temple for Bharat Mata: Pioneering Tamilnadu To Get The Mandir At Last!

A Temple for Bharat Mata:
Pioneering Tamilnadu To Get The Mandir At Last!

S S Mahadevan
In the entire Bharat, Tamilnadu has the unique honour of taking the first initiative to build a Bharat Mata Mandir. This is with reference to the laying of foundation stone for the temple by Deshbandhu CR Das at the instance of freedom fighter Subramania Siva on June 22, 1923 at Papparapatti in Dharmapuri District. When the Tamilnadu Information Minister Kadambur Raju on June 25, 2018 announced in the Assembly that this temple would come up at an expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore at Papparapatti, it seemed Subramania Siva’s dream would come true at last.
Subramania Siva, who led freedom stuggle in Tamilnadu along with V.O.Chidambaram Pillai and Subramania Bharati, was born at Vathalagundu near Dindigul. He was jailed several times and his health deteriorated. The British did not allow Siva to travel in train because of his leprosy status. In 1921, Subramania Siva managed to reach Papparapatti and stayed in the house of Chinnamuthu, a strong supporter of India’s freedom movement. Here, Subramania Siva had planned to construct a fitting temple for 'Bharat Mata' for which Chinnamuthu had gifted six acres of his land, according to one version. Though the foundation stone was also in 1923 for the temple, the work was stopped because of Subramania Siva’s death in 1925. Subramania Siva had purchased a half-acre land in Papparapatti for building this temple but he died before his dream materialised, according to another version. Siva named that area of Papparapatti as ‘Bharatapuram’ with the support of the villagers. The State government has already constructed a memorial at Papparapatti in honour of Siva. 

While the dream of Subramania Siva is all set to become a reality nearly after a century with the Tamilnadu governmant’s announcement, Tamilnadu is thrilled to see an inspiring discourse on Bharat Mata. 

“The announcement in the Assembly that Bharat Mata mandir will come up is welcome. I congratulate the state government”, said former Rajya Sabha member La. Ganesan of BJP.

Former TNCC president Kumari Ananthan, who has been demanding for a long time a Bharat Mata temple at Paparapatti, welcomed this announcement, and thanked the government for the same. Tamil Maanila Congress leader BS Gnanadesikan has a special connection with this because Subramania Siva was born in Batlagundu in Dindigul district, which happens to be the native place of Gnanadesikan. He had this to say: “Bharat Mata mandir is not a religious symbol. It is a symbol of national unity. For anyone who feels proud about India, this temple will be a place to visit.”

That brings to one’s mind what V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (who founded the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company to break British monopoly on Indian seas) said about the hardship he underwent in jail (He was sentenced to double life term). Yoked in the place of a bull, VOC was forced to go round and round the oil press to extract oil. For an advocate like him it would have been nothing short of hell. But VOC quietly described that ordeal as follows: “All the while I was imagining that I was performing pradakshinam of Bharat Mata as I walked around the oil press”, revealing the depth of patriotism in him. 

Nationalist poet Subramania Bharati sought to raise Bharat Mata to the level of Shiva and Vishnu so that people would adore the nation in the form of mother. With that intent he composed and sang ‘Bharata Mata Thirupalli Ezhuchi’. The five Tamil poems are in tune with the wake up hymn recited in Shiva / Vishnu temples in Tamilnadu. 

It is well known that thousands of daily RSS shakhas nationwide conclude with the mantra “Bharat Mata Ki jai”, a 90 plus year practice. RSS keeps growing from strength to strength and Sri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, gave this advice on March 3, 2016: “Now the time had come when we have to tell the new generation to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. It should be real, spontaneous.” 
Old timers in Tamilnadu who were witness to the pre 1947 freedom struggle, use to exclaim, “In free India, we are once again elated to hear “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” only at the gatherings of Swayamsevaks”. That goes to prove how Bharat Mata always inspires the people of Bharat to dedicate their lives to the motherland. 
RSS inspired organisations such as the Hindu Munnani, Samskrita Bharati, etc., hold solemn Bharat Mata poojas frequently to offer an opportunity to the general public to worship mother India. 

Nationalists in Tamilnadu have not forgotten the ultimate sacrifice of Tiruppur Kumaran in 1931; he was clubbed to death by brutal British police for raising the slogans Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai. They also remember how Veer Vanchinathan executed British Sub Collector Ashe in Maniyachi near Tirunelveli i 1911to avenge ruthless suppression of freedom struggle and how he shot himself dead soon after. Vanchinathan had been inspired by a revolutionary association by name “Bharata Mata Sangam” active in southern Tamilnadu during the first two decades of 20th century. 
A quick list of places where Bharat Mata mandirs have been built shows the pan India appeal that Bharat Mata wields. 

** The Bharat Mata Mandir constructed by stormy patriot Shivprasad Gupta at Varanasi in the 1930s was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself. 

** A Bharat Mata temple is located in Michael Nagar on Jessore Road, barely 2 km away from the Kolkata Airport. Here, Bharat Mata (the Mother Land) is portrayed through the image of 'Jagattarini Durga'. This was inaugurated in 2015 by Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, the Governor of West Bengal to mark the 140th Anniversary of 'Vande Mataram', the hymn to the Mother Land.
** The Bharat Mata statue was unveiled by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat at Ujjain in January 2018. RSS General Secretary Shri Suresh Bhaiyya Joshi was present.

** The Bharat Mata temple in Haridwar has 8 floors and is 180 feet tall. It was founded by Swami Satyamitranand Giri on the banks of Ganga. It was inaugurated by Indira Gandhi in 1983. Floors are dedicated to Itihasas and Puranas, religious deities, freedom fighters and leaders.
** At the southern tip of the land, in Kanyakumari, there stands a temple for Bharat Mata on a plot of 6,000 sq.ft. It was constructed by the Vivekananda Kendra.
So, all Indians always venerate and love Bharat Mata.

No wonder the mantra “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” is chanted with full fervour at any gathering of NRIs anywhere around the globe, be it the USA, Saudi Arabia or Australia. But do those of our brothers and sisters living in such countries at least know that Tamilnadu is due to get its Bharat Mata mandir after a wait of nearly a century? They ought to know.

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