Via Media

Via Media

Odd but nice

Big old statue of JP2 in…India

Hussaini said the statue’s dimensions make it “one of the largest statues dedicated to the Pontiff in the world.”  He explained that statue rests on “three great steps that represent the three phases of the life of the Pope: the first when he was Karol Wojtyla, the second when he was John Paul II, and third represents the path towards sainthood. 

In addition, there are another 26 smaller steps, one for each year of his pontificate,” he said.

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posted April 5, 2006 at 11:18 pm

Very Indian this need to have unique stuff … and really, only in India (well not really, one hopes) could one have a city (with strong socialist leanings in the local government — I cannot recall who’s in power right now. The DMK? The AIADMK? Someone else?) with a Hindu majority sponsor a statue of a Catholic Pontiff sculpted by a Muslim sculptor!

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posted April 6, 2006 at 7:45 am

Chennai apparently has tons and tons of statues of various famous folks lining their marina. Here’s an old news story about one getting removed. I was really intrigued by this epic poem’s plot, as it sounds like the poet grafted a nuclear option onto a tiny touching folktale.
“…from Ilango Adigal’s third century epic Cilappatikaram (“The Jewelled Anklet”), which has Kannagi as one of the major characters. He scripted the screenplay for Poompukar, a film based on the epic.
In Cilappatikaram, Kovalan, a young merchant from Poompukar, the capital of the Chola kingdom, develops a romantic relationship with Madhavi, a courtesan, and leaves his wife Kannagi, an epitome of virtue. He loses his wealth and returns to Kannagi. They migrate to Madurai, the capital of the Pandya kingdom. Kovalan tries to sell his wife’s anklet to a goldsmith. The goldsmith, who had stolen the queen’s anklet, puts the blame on Kovalan, passing Kannagi’s anklet off as the queen’s. The king executes Kovalan. Kannagi proves the king wrong. Stricken by remorse, the king and the queen fall down dead. Kannagi’s rage reduces Madurai to ashes.”

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posted April 6, 2006 at 7:52 am

A longer story about the Pope statue, including the sculptor’s rationale:
“Sculptor Shihan Hussaini, a post graduate student of the Government College Of Fine Arts, Chennai, who shot to fame with his theme statues of Kalpana Chawla, Brigand Veerappans capture and the Jailed Shankaracharya Jeyandra Saraswati, said it is a personal tribute to the miraculous powers of the Pope which saved his life on three occasions.
‘It is a personal tribute of mine to the holy pontiff, who saved my life through his miraculous powers thrice. I am a black belt expert and it first time during one of my karate shows. I poured 140 litres of petrol on my self and set my self on fire. A nun gave me photograph of St. Paul and asked me to keep it near the chest. I attribute my living after the blessing of St. Paul’s spirit. On the second occasion, I got my self bitten by four poison cobras after which I had to break 200 tiles. Following this I went in semi-coma for two days and again somebody put photograph of St. Paul near my chest and I was saved. On the third time, when all the doctors who used to back me said ‘you can’t do it’. I had to smash 1060 kgs of heavy rods on the chest for 12 hours. I put a photograph of Pope John Paul near my chest, and completed my task successfully. I attribute the entire success of the show to the miraculous power of Pope John Paul,’ said Hussaini.”
Tribute to Bruce Lee! … Er, JP! :)
Also, it’s worth noting that the area is apparently currently having large numbers of hugemongous Hindu god statues installed (a giant Hanuman, for instance). So this may be an attempt by locals to balance the big Hindu temple statues with non-Hindu statues. But probably they just really, really like public art and statues. I find it kinda refreshing, actually.

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posted April 6, 2006 at 7:57 am

Oh, and Chennai is apparently where St. Thomas is supposed to be buried! How cool!
Scroll down to Santhome Cathedral Basilica.

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posted April 6, 2006 at 8:04 am

Aha. Pope John Paul II visited Chennai. There’s the connection.

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posted April 6, 2006 at 9:38 am

Maureen O'Brien

posted April 6, 2006 at 12:15 pm

Your search fu surpasses mine, Centlivre….

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posted April 6, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Leute! Kauft Rosen,
liebt euch… Macht die Welt ein klein wenig lebenswerter!

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Ray from MN

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:16 pm

“Kauft Rosen” means “Buy Roses” – German SPAM.
That’s the first Spam I’ve seen on a blog since I first started frequenting them several years ago or whenever they became “hot.”

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Ray from MN

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:25 pm

Leute! Kauft Rosen,
liebt euch… Macht die Welt ein klein wenig lebenswerter!
“People!” Buy Roses, love you, makes the world a small little worth living. (Doesn’t really make sense Probably a high school student showing off 9th grade German knoweldge).
There is a link to a German florist.

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Christine G

posted April 6, 2006 at 3:44 pm

I visited the Basilica about 4 years ago. It is a magnificently traditional Church building. It has the altar rail, and EVERYONE at Mass knelt down outside the rail to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. Just in front of the altar are a series of steps leading down to St. Thomas’ burial place. People usually leave their footwear on the top of the stairs before going down for the veneration. A must-see for all Catholics visiting Chennai.

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Toyz Shop

posted May 26, 2006 at 12:48 am


Customers want to shop the leader – a store that has a proven record with thousands of customers across the nation. Wireless Toyz represents almost every …

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