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Archive | October, 2005

The Oldest Temple in Tamil Nadu

Now we are able to piece together the history of the oldest temple discovered in Tamil Nadu which is located near Mahabalipuram. The original temple made of brick and dedicated to Muruga was built during the Sangam era (200 BCE to 300 CE). This temple was destroyed and the Pallava kings rebuilt it as a granite temple during 800 – 900 CE. This temple was destroyed as well. What is discovered now is remains of that temple.

The Frontline article describes the discovery in detail and has numerous pictures. It also talks about the various scripts and languages found at the site.

There are bilingual inscriptions in Pallava-Grantha and Nagari scripts in Sanskrit language on the walls of this temple. On the floor are found inscriptions in Tamil belonging to Raja Raja Chola, who built the Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur around 1,000 A.D.

ON the beach, about 300 metres to the north of the cave temple is a rock with three inscriptions on its sides. The inscriptions in Tamil on the western and southern sides belong to Parantaka Chola and Kulotunga Chola. The inscription on the eastern side was revealed after the tsunami washed away the sand around it.

S. Rajavelu, Epigraphist, ASI, found that the inscription in Tamil belonging to Rashtrakuta king Krishna III who ruled the area in 9th century A.D. praised him as the “conqueror of Kachi and Thanjai”, that is Kancheepuram and Thanjavur, and spoke about the existence of a Subrahmanya temple at Thiruvizhchil in “Aroor kottam (division)”.[Another surprise in Mamallapuram]

If Karunanidhi was alive in 800 CE, he would be walking with a bucket of cow dung, flinging it on the Sanskrit inscriptions. But he would find that it was already blackened by the enlightened folks running the Tamil Protection Movement.

This new temple has a vimana (tower) like the Shore Temple and it has been suggested that this temple was part of the seven pagodas which existed in that area

THE discovery of the temple complex has strengthened the arguments of those who believe that a string of Seven Pagodas (temples with vimanas) existed on the Mamallapuram coast. Although many dismiss it as a fanciful imagination, the discovery in February 2005 of the remains of a massive temple, dedicated to Siva, close to the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram, revived the debate about whether the Seven Pagodas did exist after all. After last year’s tsunami washed away the beach sand and revealed dressed rock in a square area close to the Shore Temple, the ASI excavated the spot and ran into the remains of a temple, which would have rivalled the Shore Temple in size and grandeur (Frontline, May 7, 2005). The Shore Temple, which is on the fringes of the sea, is said to be one of the Seven Pagodas and it is the only one that exists.[Another surprise in Mamallapuram]

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Natwar Singh and Oil Money

The Oil-for-Food programme was a scheme under which Iraq, which was facing export sanctions, was authorized to sell oil to people of their choosing. Iraq, naturally chose to sell oil to nations and people who were sympathetic to their view. There is nothing illegal in this. But one source of illegal income was from something called “surcharges” paid on crude oil contracts and Iraq made about 228 million dollars through this.

Besides established companies, Iraq also awarded contracts to individuals in positions of influence as well and the selected people were ones who were influential in their countries, and produced pro-Iraq, anti-sanction views. Political parties and organizations too received allocations and familiarity with the oil trading market was not required. Individuals and entities other than the named contracting party are called “non-contractual beneficieries” in the Volker Report . Natwar Singh, Congress Party, and Bhim Singh are listed under this category.

The Indian Express has more

While Natwar has called these allegations ‘‘baseless and untrue’’, the fact is his son Jagat was involved in promoting M/s Hamdan Trading, which is owned by his friend Andy Sehgal, for cornering contracts in Iraq between 2000-2002. Indian diplomats posted in west Asia in that period confirm that Jagat Singh paid at least two visits to Iraq, one of them just days before Saddam’s ‘‘referendum’’ of October 15, 2002.

On condition of anonymity, these officials alleged Jagat, who is now Congress MLA from Lachchmangarh, Rajasthan, used the offices of the Indian Embassy in Baghdad to push his business interests. [Cong Saddamed by Natwar & his son]

Natwar Singh also alleged that Paul Volker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, of having political designs and suggested that the commission of targetting opponents of the war. At this point the whole anti-war crowd draw caricatures of themselves. Just look at Table III of the report and you can find Americans, British, Italian and Spanish people mentioned among the list of beneficieries and these are countries involved in the invasion. If Natwar was right in his conspiracy theory, then none of these people would be there.

Here is another gem

India’s External Affairs Minister wanted to know why Mr. Volcker had headed the Committee and not “some independent person from the developing world.”

We will let that pass, but here is a gem from the ever hilarious Communists. CPI(M) senior leader Dipankar Mukherjee said

“One thing is certain that in this era of liberalisation, corruption is a component of the system itself,” he said.[Volcker report allegations baseless: Natwar]

So it is the fault of liberalization of the economy. I remember that wonderful time when India was under socialism and milk and honey were flowing on the streets and Govt. officials were walking around threatening to help public.

Both the Communists and Congressmen seem to be caught off-guard with this and are trying all possible tricks from their book to get this off their back. Instead of using the old and crude techniques (like blame Paul Volker, blame liberalization, blame Darth Vader), it would be great if Natwar Singh can explain to us the role of Jagat Singh and his relation with Masefield AG, the contracting company. That would have more credibility. But that is too much to expect.

Related Links: The Acorn builds the case for why Natwar Singh must resign.

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More on Mahabalipuram temple

Post-tsunami excavations in Mahabalipuram has revealed a new temple suspected to be built about 2000 years back. Here is the detailed explanation of how the temple was discovered by the ASI.

“The tsunami exposed inscriptions on a huge rock that had previously been protected as a site of importance,” said T Satyamurthy of the ASI.

“These inscriptions dated back to 935 AD and said that Krishna the Third, from the Rashtrakuda Dynasty in Karnataka, had given gold to a temple to pay for keeping an eternal flame alight.

“This led us to dig further. Near the surface we found coins, pottery, stucco figurines and bronze lamps and so we knew there must be something more. Soon we discovered the remains of the 9th century Pallava temple.”

As they continued to excavate they came across the earlier Sangam temple. The distinctive shift from courses of brickwork to large granite slabs indicates the different periods.

“The Pallavas just built on the brick foundations left behind after the Sangam temple was levelled. The two periods are there, clear to see,” said Dr Satyamurthy. [ Tsunami reveals ancient temple sites]

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Headline of the day

Understanding with DIC(K) has helped CPI(M): Pinarayi

I am sure it did.

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Iran's simple wish

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for “Israel to be wiped off the map”. He hopes that the Palestinian terror attacks would achieve that goal.

This has to be the the most outrageous statement of the century, and that too coming from a democratically elected leader. During a war like situation even a man like Musharraf has not made such statements. If the statement alone was given and asked to guess who said it, probably you would have said Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but never the President of a country. Even though most of Israel’s neighbours desire what was mentioned by Ahmadinejad, no one has the audacity to make such public statements. This speaks volumes about the direction Iran is taking under the leadership of Ahmadinejad.

Today in an interview with Terry Gross, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations, Richard A. Clarke spoke about the relation between Iran and terrorist organizations. Many Al-Qaeda operatives, like the members of the Shura and bin Laden’s oldest son, were captured by Iran and placed under house arrest which must be like how Pakistanis keep terrorists under house arrest. Iran has refused to hand them over to United States and this raises questions about the relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda. Besides this there is the Iranian support for Hezbollah

India does not seem to mind this terrorist connection and has even embarked on a project to build a pipeline to bring gas from Iran via Pakistan. Besides business relations, there are contacts at the level of Parliamentarians. But this does not mean that we remain silent on this statement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Israel is one nation which has come to our help during times of need. Right from the 1962 war with China to the Kargil war in 1999, Israel has supported India even though we have always publicly kissed Arafat. When such calls for genocide are being made by the Iran, India should not use diplomatic channels to convey displeasure, but instead borrow a leaf from Musharraf’s book and use megaphone diplomacy.

Footnote: Ahmadinejad also mentioned that

“Anybody who recognises Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury, [while] any [Islamic leader] who recognises the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world,” Ahmadinejad said.[‘Israel must be wiped off the map’]

This is going to be a serious burn for Musharraf.

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