Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Authorities have been forced by the heroic people of Orissa to impose a stay on construction of reported Jagannath temple by ISKCON in SriKshetra Puri. But the mischief has not died.
Political heavyweight Bijay Mohapatra, who could not be the President of BJP’s Orissa State Unit as he has no RSS origin, exposed an ISKCON design drawn up to vitiate Puri with a 2nd temple of SriJagannath. This instantly ignited massive public protests, wherein non-BJPans pursuing absolutely apolitical life were also seen most vociferous.
To us Oriyas, Sri Jagannath of Srikshetra Puri is not simply a deity. He is epitome of the history of our evolution. He is epitome of our collective wisdom. He is remembrancer of our ancient consciousness. He is the greatest son of our soil Buddha in an image we worship. He is the strongest alternative that Orissa had created against anti-people Vedic imperialism. He is the uniqueness of Oriya race. He is the last remnant of our unique MAHODADHI CIVILISATION. He is the first and the last phenomenon in Oriya life. Any transgression into His uniqueness was, therefore, not tolerable to Oriya race.
So, the plan of ISKCON has been dragged to the table for review.
But unseen possibility of danger the ISKCON project signals is more horrifying.
There is no reason not to apprehend that Orissa coast is attracting prying eyes of foreign spies. ITR to INS Chilka stand on our coast when the ARC, Charbatia is also in coastal Orissa.
An American namely Julian Parker has already constructed a Jagannath temple at Kuansa near Bhadrak, nearest to the ITR. Many Americans visit it and stay there. Who of them is not a foreign spy has never been verified. Now the America based ISKCON’s proposed temple at Puri has strong support from pro-American NROs who are in menacing wrath against the Jagannath system of Puri that has kept out the rabid fanatic of Brahmanyavad – the Puri Sankaracharya – from management of the temple. Agents of Brahminism are trying to use the Orissa High Court to subjugate SriMandira to hegemony of this religious revivalist. And, religious revivalists never feel any qualm in compromising with patriotism to reach their goal.
When, thus, the situation is quite worrisome, an ISKCON Temple with luxury suits to serve the foreigners can be a safe haven for Foreign Spies, who must be trying to keep eyes on the aforesaid centers of India’s defense network.
New temples not legal
A section of anglicized Oriyas, who, notwithstanding patriotism, love to stand with the right wingers, have come up with arguments that India being a secular country, building of a temple for Jagannath by ISKCON cannot be stopped.
The right viruses are playing havoc with India by contriving such arguments.
But the legal position is that nowhere the Indian Laws have given any right to any individual or group of individuals, belonging to any religious creed, to erect any new place of worship such as temples, masques, churches or monasteries in the Republic of India. Rather the very concept of Republic is opposite to creation of any sectarian place of worship. When land belongs to India, water belongs to India, air belongs to India, environment belongs to India and every iota thereof is of every Indian, there cannot be any right of any sectarian religious group to float a place of worship of its own in any public place.
Secularism does not encourage demolition of any place of worship that was in existence before adoption of our Constitution. They are historical monuments and deserve preservation for socio-anthropological studies. There is no problem in keeping them as living centers of religious practices within their premises in context of their followers.
But to assume that preservation of pre-independence places of worship automatically generates any right for followers of any faith to build up new places of worship in places within the environment of India is blatantly illegal and wrong. Every place of worship in a public place after independence is an affront to our Republic.
Fellows who have occupied India after the British left, have deliberately helped the right-wingers – the religious fanatics and social exploiters – to build new places of worship to keep the masses content with their fate by holding responsible their previous births for their present wretchedness. Therefore, they have also not objected to ISKCON building a new temple in Puri.
This nuisance deserves to be nullified.