This book is a revised and updated version of the 2010 edition of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. It includes everything in the last edition plus a number of new and important references. Veda Prakash, who in 1989 brought us the original data he had collected on the St. Thomas myth and destruction of the Kapaleeswara Temple in Mylapore, continues to share his research materials and Tamil translations. Sita Ram Goel, Koenraad Elst, K.P. Sunil and Ganesh Iyer, Leela Tampi, R.S. Narayanaswami, C.A. Simon, Khushwant Singh, G. Ananthakrishnan, B.R. Haran, G.P. Srinivasan, Rajiv Malhotra, V. Sundaram, S. Muthiah, A. Srivathsan, B.S. Hari Shankar, C.I. Issac, Swami Tapasyananda of the Sri Ramakrishna Math in Mylapore, and a number of Indian and foreign media organisations who report news without a byline, have all made valuable contributions.
Two important events have taken place since the publication of this book in 2010. One, the eminent archaeologist Dr. R. Nagaswamy has criticised the Pattinam archaeological dig and categorically stated that there is no evidence for St. Thomas’s visit to India, and two, a California production company, Dharlin Entertainment, is planning a major motion picture on St. Thomas’s alleged stay in Kerala and murder in Mylapore. They may succeed in cinematically perpetuating the blood libel of Thomas’s murder by Hindus where the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese failed in 2008. Added to this is the vast work and expense the Archdiocese has lavished on rebuilding the fake St. Thomas tomb in San Thome Cathedral and on the garish development around the old Portuguese church on St. Thomas Mount.
All this and more has happened in direct response to our books. So, we can say with some certainty that St. Thomas is here in India with us―if not in truth than in fiction and scholarly scandal.
We have traced the legend of St. Thomas in some detail, from its origin in third century Mesopotamia to its commercial and communal manifestation in Chennai today. It is a complicated story with many details and side issues attached, and the reader will have to pay close attention. What was originally an introductory essay to the study of the St. Thomas in India myth and the related issue of the destruction of a great Shiva temple on the Mylapore beach, has taken the shape of a broader investigation into the negative Christian presence in South India today.
Whatever Christian believers in Malabar and their ecclesiastical counterparts in Chennai may say, there is only one original source for the St. Thomas in India legend, the Acts of Thomas. It is a moral fable written by the Gnostic poet Bardesanes at Edessa about 210 CE, and it was brought to South India by Syrian Christian refugees in the fourth century CE. The ancient oral histories produced today by the descendants of these Christian refugees in Kerala, however dear they may be to the faithful, are church and family traditions that have no historical credibility and no bearing on real historical research. The fact that the Indian government and encyclopaedias like Britannica and Wikipedia accept these family tales as Indian history does not make them any more truthful or valid as history. This has to be recognised by Indian government officials and scholars alike if Indian history writing is to be taken seriously.
The first three editions of this book were received by the Indian public with great interest even though they were reviewed in only one newspaper, The Pioneer. This is very gratifying, and the fact that the book is going into a fourth edition is even more welcome. The brown sahibs who control the mainstream media will continue to do their distasteful St. Thomas propaganda and black out the opposing historical view because that is what they are paid to do, but we are sure of the interest and critical intelligence of the Indian reader and are satisfied that the work we set out to do in 1989 has borne fruit.
The irony―and the brown sahibs may take note―is that had the Indian Express published our response to C.A. Simon’s malafide Catholic propaganda piece, In Memory of a Slain Saint, in 1989, we would never have bothered following up the St. Thomas in India tale with an investigation. But because we were rudely obstructed, first by the Indian Express editor, then by The Hindu editor, and finally by Chennai’s own self-styled historian S. Muthiah, we decided to look deeper into this matter of Indian Thomases―and believe me there is more than one Thomas involved in this history swindle even as there is more than one tomb for him. So the moral of the story is this: don’t tell lies for Jesus―or in this case for his twin brother Thomas―and if you must tell lies let the historian reply to the lies so that the matter may die a quiet and noncontroversial death.
The brown sahibs and so-called secularists who make up the Indian media mafia have only themselves to blame for our continued interest in the St. Thomas in India fable and its modern political and wickedly communal manifestation in Tamil Nadu today.
1. The Archaeological Survey of India has found no evidence for Muziris (Muchiri in Tamil) in Kodungallur. But the village of Pattanam seven km south of city has produced some Roman beads and become the focus of Marxist and Christian excavators searching for St. Thomas proofs. Muziris was a known international trading entrepot from the sixth century BCE to the thirteenth century CE when it suddenly disappeared due to natural catastrophe. It may be the same place as the Murachipattanam found in the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
2. Dharlin Entertainment, Inc., Bonsall, California. Website at www.dharlin.com/thomas.html.
3. This writer once had the misfortune of meeting The Hindu editor, N. Ram. He arrived one morning in 1992 on our ashram doorstep with a Muslim friend. He did not identify himself except to say that his name was Ram, and was eager to push forward his companion. Finally, his manner radiating hostility, he asked us our opinion about the demolition of the disputed building called Babri Masjid in Ayodhya earlier in the year. We replied that we did not feel that Muslims had any vested interest or claim in Ayodhya. It was a Hindu pilgrimage town for many centuries and had no religious value to Muslims. The disputed building was a victory monument built by a foreign invader’s governor who had wished to subdue and intimidate the local Hindu inhabitants. We wondered how Indian Muslims, the citizens of a free and independent India whose religious rights were protected, could place any value on such a structure? There was a dead silence for a minute after this reply, while Ram glared at us menacingly (his Muslim companion had closed his eyes and sunk down in his chair). “No use talking to you,” he growled, and got up and stomped out of the room with his companion in tow.
“Who was that?” I asked the Mataji of the ashram later. “Oh, that was Ram of The Hindu,” she said, laughing. “You can be sure of a bad press from now on! You had better find another name to write under. The one Ram knows you by will be on every media black list by tomorrow.” And so it has come about. Jai Sri Ram!