CHRONOLOGY OF THE
VIVEKANANDA ROCK MEMORIAL
A short report of the Meeting between Sri M. Bhaktavatsalam, Chief Minister, Madras State and Sri Eknath Ranade, at Madras on 23-2-1964.
Sri Ranade : Let me first express my gratitude for your having generously permitted a statue on the rock.
Sri Bhaktavatsalam : That is all unnecessary.
In the beginning I had objected to it for two reasons. Firstly, safeguarding such a statue was difficult as there were worst Christian fanatics in that area. Secondly, the statue, however big in size, could not have been visible from the shore.
Swami Chidbhavananda also had requested permission for statue on that Rock. When it was refused he sought permission for erecting it on a nearer rock stating that that was the real Vivekananda Rock. When he was told that all that was not proper on his part he accepted my suggestion to install the statue on the shore at the site originally proposed to the Committee. I saw that statue during my last visit to Kanyakumari. He has installed it within a shrine. I really wanted it in the open. Because, on the shore there is no danger of its being damaged by hooligans.
The Committee people, on the other hand, insisted on having the statue on the Rock. First they also had agreed to installing it on the shore. But they did it with mental reservations.
This time when I had been to Kanyakumari, some deputations met me. One of those (reference to a deputation on behalf of Haindava Sevaka Sangham) had submitted a memorandum. In it there was written at one place that if the Government did not do such and such things, independence of our country would be lost. I told them that they should not have threatened the Government like that. I said that a person whose hand could write such a sentence could hardly be considered a patriot.
It was during my talk with those deputationists that I said that if the statue was proposed to be placed within a shrine-like enclosure the Government would consider such a proposal and allow a statue on the Rock.
Thereafter I went to Coimbatore. There press men asked me about this question. There, first, I told my idea. I told them that the Government would be willing to permit the statue on the Rock if, firstly, it was enclosed in a shrine and secondly, the shrine was small in size with space inside for some ten-fifteen persons to meditate; others might meditate even in the open.
Sri Ranade : Yes, I have read that statement. Personally speaking, it has satisfied me. It has satisfied me for two reasons. Firstly, because you have generously agreed to the basic or the primary thing, namely, that the statue should be on the Rock. Whether the statue should be in the open or it should be enclosed in a shrine, and again, whether the shrine should be small or large in size, were all secondary things. Secondly, because this marks the end of my tussle with you - a tussle which was most artificial in so far as it was a sort of fighting on the same side. Had you been anti-Hindu or anti- Vivekananda, there would have been some point in the struggle. But to be required to come in conflict with a devout Hindu and a devotee of Vivekananda was really something very painful.
Sri Bhaktavatsalam : I thought that you were again going to agitate for something or the other.
Sri Ranade : No Sir, the question of agitating does not arise at all. On the contrary, now that the principal issue has been solved, I have come to you in a spirit of surrender. I am here to discuss with you your idea and to have a clear picture of the same so that a fresh plan may be prepared and implemented under your guidance. From the letters I have received from some of our Committee members, that appears to be the consensus of opinion of the Committee also.
Sri Bhaktavatsalam : I have already explained my idea in my statement.
.....To be continued