KOCHI: The effort made by some interested quarters to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey of India R Nagaswamy.
"When looking at the literature on the life of St Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungalloor, " the former visiting professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Express.
In fact, the ancient Muzirs port must have been located in Kodungalloor and not in Pattanam because all major ports in ancient times were situated at river mouths. And so it is safe to assume that Muziris was at Kodungalloor, where the river joins the sea.
He felt there was a hidden agenda by certain sections to propagate the idea thatw Muziris was connected to Pattanam, where St Thomas is believed to have landed, and not with Kodungalloor. Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history, he said.
"There is no substantial evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western costs of the country," said Nagaswamy, who was here to participate in a seminar in connection with Muziris Heritage Protection.
Stating that it was too early to conclude that Pattanam is Muziris, he said that there was need for more excavations and concrete evidence.
The materials dug out from Pattanam have to be examined properly and scholars should have easy access to all the materials excavated, which are not now accessible.
Moreover, he asked what was the strongest evidence obtained till now to establish that Pattanam was Muziris. "If more acceptable evidence comes to light, the scholars would be happy to welcome what has been propagated now. But as far as excavation in Pattanam is concerned, we are not happy," he said.
The institutes of marine archaeology and oceanography have been kept aside in the course of Pattanam excavations. There is a need for more excavations in Kodungallur and let the findings of both Kodungallur and Pattanam be compared, he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council spokesperson Stephen Alathara said the visit of St Thomas to Kerala is the belief and tradition of the Church. One cannot negate the belief for want of proof. May be in those days, proper documentation was not made, he said. As history is a relative science, no definite conclusion can be reached, father Alatahra said. Some historians have concluded that St Thomas had come to Kerala and some others have denied it, he said.