India is a country with a rich culture and an enthralling heritage. The land is known for its mythology and beautiful tales of the many gods as it is known for its spices. Adding to the already long list of gods and temples that are dedicated to them, India now has people worshipping the lesser mortals. Now, although it is not uncommon to see people hanging on to every word of India’s many god men, this would however stand out from all such cases.
Here, a ‘god’ in Kerala has people coming to him for respite from legal hassles. The deity in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple here is a lawyer! And he is popularly called ‘Judge Uncle’ or Judge Ammavan in Malayalam.
The main deity at a famous Devi temple in Kottayam’s Punkunnam district, Judge Uncle, is worshipped by people who wanted ‘innocents’ to be saved from getting trapped in legal hassles.
According to The News Minute, the 18th century witnessed the life of a brutally honest lawyer — Govinda Pillai. The popular lore here is that the lawyer lived during the time of King Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma and was looked up to for his impartial and just judgments; respected by the royals and masses both. Such was his fairness, that he even apparently pronounced a death sentence against his own nephew when he was accused. By the time he had realised his nephew’s innocence, it was too late. Overwhelmed with guilt, he passed a judgment to punish himself, after the King refused to do so. He ordered that he be hanged from a tree with both his legs cut off, so he could die a slow and painful death. Such was the fierceness with which he abided by the law.
The story only gets more interesting from here. According to the report, Pillai’s soul was seen wandering over the sea and thereafter, the soul was confined to a stone in a 1,100-year old shrine. The shrine now sees a large mass of people thronging it to seek the blessings of Judge Ammavan.
According to the temple administration, even bureaucrats have tried to seek solace in the ‘god’. Even cricketer Sreesanth – when he was infamously accused in the IPL scam – headed to the temple in Kottayam to pray for justice.