NEW DELHI: It is not clear whether it is a case of changing political equation or real concern for preserving heritage.
The Culture Ministry has finally rejected a proposal forwarded by the previous DMK Government to install a statue of King Raja Raja Chola on the Big Temple premises in Thanjavur.
The Tamil Nadu Government had written to the Culture Ministry in 2009 seeking its permission to instal a statue of Raja Raja Chola on the Brihadeshwara Temple premises.“The Ministry, which has been sitting on the Karunanidhi Government’s proposal for quite some time, has finally said no to the statue proposal citing the fact that the temple is a UNESCO site and any addition will hurt its heritage value,” said a source in the Culture Ministry.
According to him, the Ministry has taken the position that any intrusion into the temple complex could create problems to the structure of the heritage site. “We have got clear directions from the top that there is no need to budge to the alliance partner. If we agree to one proposal, more are bound to come our way and we don’t want to open the flood gates,” said an ASI official.According to the official, many also see impropriety in installing the statue of a mortal within the sanctum sanctorum. “But more than that, it is the disharmony that a new structure can pose that has made us take this position,” the official clarified.
He said, the ASI had earlier also pointed out that there already exists a statue of the Raja Raja Chola in an adjacent park called Rajaraja Cholan Manimandapam constructed during the World Tamil conference held in the past. But the DMK Government wanted to shift the statue as part of celebrating the 1000th year of the temple.The Tamil Nadu Government has also sought permission to have a light and sound show on the premises. The Culture Ministry, however, has not said “no” to this proposal.
“We have asked the National Physical Lab, Delhi, to ascertain whether the intensity of the proposed light and sound show will affect the structure. A decision in this regard will be taken only after we get the report,” said the Ministry official.