The controversy over Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan: Part One which depicts the life of king Raja Raja Chola deepens with BJP leaders joining the debate on whether Raja Raja Chola was a Hindu king. Telangana and Puducherry governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday said the Chola king built many temples and she was brought up in the vicinity of one such temple in Thanjavur. The attempts to conceal the identities of the Hindu cultural icons will not be accepted by people, she said amid the ongoing controversy.

Slamming director Vetrimaaran for his comment which found support from Kamal Haasan, the Governor said people will raise their voices against them. The concept of worship is ingrained in Tamils, and Shaivism and Vaishnavism are both identities of Hindus, she said. Soundararajan told reporters that she was brought up in the vicinity of the colossal Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur built during the reign of the Chola king.

What is the Raja Raja Chola controversy all about

A day after the release of Mani Ratnam’s PS-1, national award-winning Tamil director Vetrimaaran said Raja Raja Chola was not a Hindu – as portrayed in PS-1. Vetrimaaran said the BJP is trying to steal the Tamil identity. “They have already tried to saffronise Thiruvalluvar. We should never allow that.” Tamil Nadu remains a secular state, resisting external forces, Vetrimaaran said.

While these comments led to a furore on social media, Kamal Haasan supported Vetrimaaran’s statements and said there was no Hindu religion during Raja Raja Chola’s period. ” There was Vainavam, Shivam, and Samanam, and it was the British who coined the term Hindu since they didn’t know how to refer to it collectively. It is similar to how they changed Thuthukudi into Tuticorin,” Kamal Haasan said.

BJP’s H Raja said Raja Raja Chola was indeed a Hindu king, “I am not well versed with history like Vetrimaran, but let him point out two churches and mosques built by Raja Raja Cholan. He called himself Sivapadha Sekaran. Wasn’t he a Hindu then?”

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

By Shadab

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