How the visit by a Hindu seer turned the tables on Jihadi mischief in a Tamilnadu hamlet
Nagapattinam, August 3--
Nagapattinam, August 3--
The tiny sleepy, sylvan hamlet of Pazhangallikkadu, nudged between Thituththuraipoondi and Vedaranyam in the Nagappattinam District, has, for the last few days, gained prominence in the news for wrong reasons.Yes, there is a trumpeted importance given to devious and divisive forces trapping the unassuming inhabitants into artificially generated caste conflicts for the especial purpose of creating religious unrest and inducing the hapless villagers to convert to Islam on the specious reason of social injustice in Hindu society. Fortunately, better sense has dawned on the people and they have realized how they had allowed their unpretentiousness to be exploited by vested interests who are now repulsed and licking their woulds thanks to a good Samaritan.
There is a Kaliyamman Temple in the village. It comes under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Board of Tamil Nadu government. The village comprises people of many communities prominent among them being the Pillai . The festival in the Tamil month of Adi (July-August) is very famous there as it is elsewhere in the State. The people of the Pillai community have, for years, been conducting one of the three mandakappadis , a part of the the festival at Pazhangallikkadu in their age old traditional customary way; the other two are the prerogative of the HR & CE Board. The other communities like Mukkulathor , Vanniyar , Adi Dravidar (dalit) etc participate wholeheartedly in the other regular temple rituals like pal kudam etc . There has never been any objection whatsoever of all involving in the temple rituals or worship. If and when the government decides to offer its right to perform the mandakappadi to the Adidravidar community, whatever simmering remonstration that would arise occasionally , would be quelled by amicable means and temple festivities continued to everyone’s content.
But this year witnessed an unsavoury development. Aided and abetted by VCK (a dalit political party) , the Tamil Nadu Tavheed Jamaat (an Islamist outfit notorious for its virulent anti idol worship propoganda) created a rift among the communities citing non-existent religious intolerance and have managed to hoodwink the gullible villagers to go to the extent of converting to Islam . The activists of Hindu organisations have, for the last one month , been meeting people on both sides and striving their every nerve in order to unearth the root cause of all these troubles.
There is a good Samaritan in the nearby Mannarkudi. He is the head of a vaishnavite mutt. He is Sri Sendalankara Sampathkumara Ramanuja Jeeyar . Even after assuming the sanyasa ashram, He is in the habit of regularly visiting the most backward , and undeveloped interiors of villages of TamilNadu, visting the Adi Dravidar houses, meeting them, interacting with them etc. Every year He distributes school books and notebooks to students of the government schools including Adi Dravidar children and advise and encourage the parents to educate their children.
Two days back, the Jeer expressed his desire to visit any government school in the Pazhangallikkadu village. But there is a police order not to allow any person belonging to any religious organization or political party to visit the village. There is a valid reason for the promulgation of the ban since six persons belonging to the VCK with the support of Towheed Jamaat , were creating and maintaining a tense situation there, causing roadblocks to development of any constructive and conducive atmosphere. Finally there was an invitation to the Jeeyar from the village Panchayat elementary school for distribution of books and notebooks to the children of the school.
After the event at the Panchayat school, Hindu activists accompanied the Jeeyar on a casual stroll towards the problem streets. The police tried to stop the Jeeyar. The Jeeyar just told them He was going to the Mariyamman temple at the end of the street to worship the Goddess there. The DSP looked at the people quizzically. The residents in unison said they had no objection to the Swami worshipping.
Jeeyar went to the temple, promptly spread the things He had brought for performing a Mahalakshmi Homam in the temple premises. He graciously called one Senthil who was spearheading the revolt and goading the people to convert, and gently explained the purpose of the Homam as for universal peace and particularly in the village , honoured him to be the Head for the Homam and made him take the oath to be responsible for the smooth conduct.
After the successful conduct of the Homam, the Jeeyar distributed the Prasad to all as the benign grace of the Goddess . The Tavheed Jamaat volunteers were standing aside as mute spectators to the unfolding of events much to their chagrin and disbelief. It appeared that they did not have any clout at all in those streets where they thought they had created trouble.
The Jeeyar had brought with Him sufficient food. He not only distributed the variety of food items to the villagers but partook it along with them much to the surprised joy of the people. The Jeeyar quite freely mingled with the villagers, talked with them on all worldly matters , stayed with them till that evening. A woman politely enquired if Swami would have coffee or tea to which, much to her happiness, the Jeeyar asked for a cup of tea. Tea was served to one and all. It was a sight to see everyone waiting for his turn to receive blessings from the Jeeyar.
Some of the villagers came to the Jeeyar and wondered if they could also wear the poonool (sacred thread) like the Jeeyar. The Jeeyar unhesitatingly assured them that they could but advised them about following a code of practice and applauding them for their interest He even affirmed them that if they were very keen he would perform the ritual for them. An entirely different hue of conversion that!