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 Tirthankara sculptures return to Kolapakkam 

  CHENNA, August 9, 2009: Two beautiful sculptures of Jaina tirthankaras, which “disappeared” from Kolapakkam near Chennai about a month ago, have come back to the village, and thereby hangs a tale. The panchayat leaders have resolved to build a shrine for the sculptures.
  The Hindu published a news item on February 12, 2006, about the discovery of two “Buddha sculptures” and ornamental pillars at Kolapakkam, near Ramavaram, about 20 km from Chennai. The artefacts were lying on a piece of land adjacent to a house. Several readers wrote to say they were not sculptures of the Buddha but those of Jaina tirthankaras, and a debate broke out. The presence of three umbrellas above the head of one tirthankara was a clear indication that he was a Jaina tirthankara and not a Buddha, some readers said. The tirthankaras were depicted in the dhyana (meditation) pose. There were fly-whisk bearers behind them. Statues returned 
  About a month ago, the two sculptures disappeared. But they mysteriously returned to the village 10 days ago. They are now kept on the premises of the Vembuli Amman temple at Kolapakkam.

 Two beautiful sculptures of Jaina tirthankaras
 Photo: R. Shivaji Rao 
 The two sculptures of Jaina tirthankaras found at Kolapakkam, near Chennai, were given away to a Jain temple, but were brought back following protests from the Kolapakkam villagers. 

  When a team from The Hindu visited Kolapakkam on Friday, Uma, living in the house adjacent to the plot where the sculptures were lying for decades, said four men came to the spot a month ago and carted them away in a van. When she confronted them , they replied that they had the “permission” to do so. The disappearance of the sculptures created a furore in the village, and dark rumours did the rounds on the possible role of an idol-lifting gang.
  V. Paranthaman, vice-president of the Kolapakkam panchayat, and D. Revathy and K.P. Yesupadham, ward councillors, said the news item in The Hindu attracted the attention of officials of Shree Munisuwrat Swami Swetambar Jain Temple at Karambakkam in Porur, near Kolapakkam. They approached the panchayat leaders to give away the sculptures to the temple, where they could be installed and worshipped. For where they lay in the open ground, they were being desecrated. So Mr. Paranthaman said he agreed to give away the sculptures to the Jain temple. But the local people kicked up a row and made “politics” out of this decision, which he said was made in good faith for the maintenance of the sculptures. So he spoke to the Jain temple officials and they readily returned the sculptures. 
  Navrathanmull Jain, managing trustee of the Jain temple, said a female Jain monk, Chitra of the Digambara sect, after reading the news item, suggested that the sculptures be brought to the Karambakkam Jain temple. So he approached Mr. Paranthaman, who gave the sculptures to the temple. He returned them because the villagers wanted them back.
Source: The Hindu


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