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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Idols stolen from Temple - this time at Vedaranyam

A major concern for the devotees is the pathetic condition of the temples in Tamilnadu as also the security for the idols and other valuables of the temple.  It is sad that people read about the Temples  only when some unfortunate incidents occur and now one more incident has been reported.

Vedaranyam, named after the Vedaranyeswarar Temple shot into prominence more than 8 decades ago, when Chakravarthi C Rajagopalachari picked up a fistful of salt at Agasthyampalli in  defiance of the British Raj and  shouted  “Vande Mataram”.  As it was the ‘dandi march’ to Gandhi, it was Vedaranyam in the South.  Now this place is part of Nagapattinam District.  Vedaranyam was earlier known as "Thirumarikaadu" – Saivaite legend has it that it was here that Appar and Sundarar sang to open the main gate. 

In ancient times, people reverred their elders and built Temples at their own villages and in important places.  Socially, these Temples served many other purposes like – storage of produce (granary); providing water (huge water tanks and ponds); providing employment opportunity (building structures); place of rest; feeding the poor; place of communion and social service.  As people shifted their bases and started moving towards urban places, some villages lost their prominence. 

There still exists some beautiful temples in obscure places (turned obscure for lack of patronage now) – where exquisitely carved and decorated idols of Lord are there.  Extremely unfortunate that the Presiding deities, especially the Uthsava Vigrahams have been taken away from these temples and kept elsewhere under custody of Govt officials, in the garb of providing security.  In a country, even a small time politician or a person worthy of some asset, moves around with personal bodyguards and Govt provided Policemen, shame that, idols are taken away and kept elsewhere where proper rituals are not taking place.  This is how we honour our traditions, follow our rituals and respect our ancestors who had toiled to make these Temples

…..  -  the sad part is that the idols of Lords are not safe here also.  There are reports that, Bronze icons from Elumeshwaramudayar temple at Vedaranyam  were found stolen on 2nd of April 2012.  Newspapers report that -  Six icons, including Seetha, Lakshmanan, Sridevi, Boodevi, Perumal and Guruvayurappan were found missing from the temple  at Ayakaranpulam Nalam Sethi Koil Kulam in Vedaranyam.

The icons were among the ten icons that were kept in the temple custody, after they were unearthed from a paddy field 18 years ago.  Four other icons of Chakarathazhwar, Narthana Krishnar, Ramar, and Hanuman that were kept locked along with the stolen icons were found intact barring minor damages implying a failed attempt at their loot.  The icons were kept in a sanctorum guarded by a grill cage that was never opened and all offerings and rituals were carried out from outside the sanctum sanctorum, say sources. However, the locks remained intact, while the grill has been tampered with. The worth of the icons could not be estimated. The temple had already suffered a burglary once in the 1980s, when four bronze icons were stolen from its premises.

On Monday, a forensic team accompanied by a sniffer dog arrived at the scene for investigation.  – none of us will every care and eventually, this file also would be closed without any action.

What is the Temple Protection Force doing ?  What would the Police do ?  Would Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments which gets so much of wealth from Temple do anything ? – and would some of us do anything ever !!

With profound sorrow – S. Sampathkumar.

Source of News :  The Hindu, Dinamalar, Malai Malar.

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