A retired social science professor has built a unique shrine in Kerala that worships the Indian Constitution. Sivadasan Pillai (71) built the temple in the state capital where the main deity is the Constitution of India and an ever flickering oil lamp adds to the deity like in any other Hindu shrine.
This story is all the more relevant as it comes at a time when Kerala’s Culture Minister, Saji Cherian lost his job on Wednesday for allegedly denigrating the Constitution.
The regular devotees of the temple are students who go there almost daily.
“For me, my lord is the Constitution and I adore it. It is the basis of our country, our brotherhood, our diversity and our future. I want to nurture the ideals of my god, so I built one,” said Pillai who built the shrine called “Bharanaghatana Skhetram (Constitution Temple) next to his house in Kodapanakunnu a year ago.
Read also: Saji Cheriyan steps down as Kerala minister amid outrage over Constitution remarks
He also gives ‘prasad’ to people who visit the temple. He distributes a sticker written in Malayalam whose English translation is “The Constitution is lord and it is the prosperity of this house”.
The small sanctuary covers three hundred of land (one hundred is 436 square feet). The temple bears pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, BR Ambedkar and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and the preamble of the Constitution is engraved on the wall of the temple.
“The new generation has no idea of our Constitution. For them, Independence Day or Republic Day are just leaves. My little effort is to instill the spirit of the Constitution and hold them accountable. Personally, I think if we support the Lord, there can be no conflicts or problems in the country,” said the teacher who has been teaching for three decades.
“I think our kids really miss the inquisitive nature. They’re afraid to ask questions and go by what the teachers say. We need to make better citizens and I think our constitution is biblical. That’s the ‘one of the best constitutions in the world,” he said, adding that he often explains the importance and salient features of the Constitution to children. He regularly reads the Constitution and explains to children in simple terms.
His students also praised their teacher.
“He is a committed teacher who likes to pass on his knowledge. He avoids publicity but is committed to his cause,” said one of his students, P Suresh.
Meanwhile, nine complaints have been filed in various police stations against former minister Cherian who was forced to resign after allegedly insulting the Constitution. Denouncing the Constitution, he said “it was reduced to an instrument of plunder by the working class”.