Congress opted Hand Symbol from Hemambika Temple in Kerala

How did Congress get its Hand symbol? A look back at history and how Indira Gandhi chose it...

How did Congress get its Hand symbol? A look back at history and how Indira Gandhi chose it...
How did Congress get its Hand symbol? A look back at history and how Indira Gandhi chose it...

When you see Congress leaders rush to temples, you know it is Election Season! But curiously no Congress leader for the past three decades has visited a small temple in Kerala, where their leader Indira Gandhi visited during the Janata Party regime in 1977. Two hands are the deity of this small temple in Palakkad District and attracted by the beauty and tale of this curious deity, Indira Gandhi, then out of power, decided to select her party symbol – Hand, which brought her back to power in 1980.

In the 1980 elections, the Hand became the Congress symbol, which brought Indira back to power. After winning the election, Indira always remembered this temple and Karunakaran used to give an offering to the temple on her behalf till her death.

The Grand Old Party got it from a small temple called the Hemambika Temple in Palakkad district. This temple in the town of Palakkad is also known as Emoor Bhagavathy Temple and is also popularly known as Kaipathy (Hand) Temple. Here the deity is two hands, believed to be the hands of Goddess Parvathy, seeking help, while drowning in water. Parvathy jumped into the water fearing attacks from demons, and Lord Shiva came to rescue her seeing the hands, say the epic tales about the historic temple.

Before that, Indira’s Congress symbol was the Cow and Calf and the party lost the symbol after 1977 elections due to a split. The rebel leaders such as former Karnataka Chief Minister Devaraj Urs had also put a claim on the existing symbol.

While on a visit to Kerala, the former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran escorted Indira to the temple and the uniqueness of the deity ignited her creative mind. Priests of this temple say, Indira Gandhi was so curious and patiently listened to the story behind this deity of two hands of the Goddess seeking help, which she got from Lord Shiva.
Deity of Hemambika Temple
The visit to this non-descript temple was not pre-arranged and it was Karunakaran who took her to this temple when Indira landed in Palakkad town to address a rally. Senior leaders of Kerala say the epic behind the deity  – help-seeking Goddess Parvathy’s hands while drowning in water – fascinated Indira, who was in all kinds of difficulties from the then Janata Party government.

In the 1980 elections, the Hand became the Congress symbol, which brought Indira back to power. After winning the election, Indira always remembered this temple and Karunakaran used to give an offering to the temple on her behalf till her death.

It is a good question as to why the current generation of Congress leaders are not landing at this temple, where their party symbol originated. Some say they don’t want to provoke the pseudo secular culture being practiced currently in Kerala politics.

Team PGurus

1 COMMENT

  1. Let them not go there and ask goddess to help them. Being a benevolent mother, if she renders her help and they come back… My god. It will be a mayhem for india. I will not be surprised if they convert that temple to church or mosque. Ungrateful sloths!!

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