Saturday, July 16, 2011

Padmanabhaswamy temple Vaults are full of tears and blood of masses

More than Rs 5,000 Cr Wealth
The huge wealth recovered from the vaults of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram is not only the donations from the devotees, but also has big contribution of the Royal family mainly king Marthanda Varma. The wealth was collected from the masses under the names of various taxes and penalties of  losing war to him.

In the middle of 18th century he proved his wittyness by winning over the conspirators and also he went on to fight and win many civil wars in Southern Indian states. Marthanda Varma collected huge fine from the loser kingdom. This went into the temple treasury. The wealth of the Travancore kingdom during his rule was found to be almost as much as that of the Bourbon Kings in France around the same period.

Going by the tales in the area the king did not spare even the cruellest way to impose taxes. He imposed incredibly high tax on lower castes. All the important events in the human life - marriages, childbirth and even death were taxed. During the period of Varma rule even a moustache and breast feeding were taxed. Local lords were collecting 'mulakaram' (breast-tax) from the families of newborns to grant permission for breast feeding.

It took a bloody revolution during the time when the Maathoor Panikkers were the landlords of Kuttanad to stop the breast-tax. The bloodiest story of the protest was of a young woman from Cherthala's Kapunthala family. She breast-fed her child without official sanction and the news reached the ears of the landlord. Enraged, he rushed to the Kapunthala house. The young woman faced him fearlessly, irking him further. He ordered her to pay the tax, and she agreed. She went into the house, and returned with her two breasts chopped. She threw them at the feet of the shocked landlord, collapsed and died.

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