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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keeping Temple precincts Sacred.... it is our foremost duty...

A news and a petition :    கொன்றை வேந்தன் அவ்வையார் இயற்றிய ஒரு தமிழ் நீதி நூல். அதில் இரண்டாம் வாக்கு "ஆலயம் தொழுவது சாலவும் நன்று "

We believe in God and we go to temples regularly, to have darshan of the Lord and surrender ourselves before the God.  For the Bakthas, a mere look at the Gopuram of the temple gives so much of satisfaction. We talk of God, try to engage ourselves in activities related to the temple, read religious scriptures, do pooja  ~ all in attempt to cleanse ourselves and provide some comfort to the soul.

There are Temples big and small; there are Divyadesams and there are other temples …. the great qualities of Lord remains as it is…  to us Sriman Narayanan is Supreme, the most benevolent, the only protector and to Him we surrender Ourselves.

But…… we go to temples ~ are we really true to Ourselves ? The temple premises be it the Garbagriham [sannathi]; inner precincts [prakarams]; the fortified wall [mathil suvargal] and the roads surrounding the street – all are of great sanctity, yet we litter them, keep them untidy and do our bit in spoiling it.  If you are to retort that you never do that….. fine, there is other form of neglect, not caring to correct the mistake / wrong acts of others and keeping silent on the wrongful sins that occur around the temple premises.  Here is an article reproduced as it is from “Deccan Chronicle” Chennai edition dated 27th May 13 titled “Temple precincts no more sacred”

Chennai: At a time when many councillors fight, sleep and heckle each other in the Chennai corporation council meetings, it is no wonder that their wards suffer from underperformance of the civic officials. Ward 47 in zone 4 area of Korukupet is a typical example where signs of neglect by civic officials and dejection among people is evident.

For long, the demands of the people have not been met. Even elderly persons who live in the area cannot recollect when was the last time a proper road was laid in Mint Subrayulu Naidu street, an arterial road of ward 47. “The roads have become completely unfit for motorists to ride and I urge the civic officials to re-lay the roads immediately. Recently, the roads were dug up for the stormwater drain project adding to the dusty environs,” said M. Manikandan, a resident.

Conservancy activity in ward 47 is badly affected. Moreover, garbage accumulating near the temples are not a sight for sore eyes. “The conservancy staff will come only if we pay them regular ‘cuts’. Otherwise the corporation staff and ward councillor never bother about us. The most disappointing thing is that even the garbage near the temples is not periodically cleared and we cannot even offer our prayers peacefully as the stench of decay disturbs everyone,” said M. Malathi, a resident.

Adding to the disappointment, the locals are angered by the fact that local civic staff had given permission to open a non-vegetarian stall right next to the temple in Ellaya street. “The hotel not just cooks non-vegetarian food, but the owner dumps all the leftovers right next to the temple. I even wonder how the mayor, clamping down on unhygienic food stalls, is allowing this eatery to function. The corporation should ban all the stalls selling non-vegetarian food near the place of worship,” lamented Jalagum Murali Krishna, a septuagenarian. Efforts to reach zone 4 officers proved futile, but, ward 47 representative Ra. Madhurai Veeran, promised action.

Korukkupet may be miles away nor you may carry for something happening there……….. but the fact is ~ Korukkupet is not alone… think of your locality and the Temple that is nearer you… the Temple that you frequent… don’t you find it unclean, wrong activities taking place around the temple… pan, jarda, cigarette and other things being sold in shops located in the temple compound…. nauseating but the average Hindu is tolerant on everything….

A friend of mine Shri Lakshmi Narasimhan Venkatapathy, an ardent devotee, has chosen to rise and start the campaign against these actitivies and has stated an Online petition to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu requesting the authorities to declare the Temple Zones as Litter, Liquor, Drug, Smoke and Meat Free zones. This devotee truly believes in what he says and is clear on what needs to be done; not a mere post on FB and then forgetting of that… it is time we supported such initiatives and people like him.

Temples form the heart of the our culture. It is utmost important that liquor shops, shops selling pan-masalas, cigarettes and other drugs be banned at least inside a 300 metre radius from temples. Also, keeping these places litter and smoke free is equally important as we see many smokers smoking right near the schools and temples without any guilt and many people throwing the garbage from their house in and around the temples. Discipline must begin from here immediately. All historical temples could have this implemented around them to begin with. New temples must be permitted only in such a banned surrounding and new shops around existing temples must be given licenses only under the premise that they will not sell such banned items.

It is unfortunate that thousands of people are witnessing the plight of temples that is surrounded by litter, people urinating on the temple walls, smokers and drinkers walking around and more so that even the temple shops are selling such banned items, a classical example being Sri Parthasarathy Swamy temple, Triplicane. A cool drink bar hosted on the premises of the temple can be witnessed to host smokers and pan-masala consumers all the time. All this in front of the Police patrol that is most of the time anchored right in front of that shop.

Also, many temples such as Sri Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple at Velachery which is 800+ years old are surrounded by Meat shops which hang the raw meat right on the streets of the temple. These shops have sprung up very recently (5 to 7 years). This spoils the entire sanctity of the Temple surroundings and makes it difficult to conduct the temple activities such as processions on these meat selling streets.

We seek the guidance, help and action by our most Hon'ble Chieft Minister of Tamilnadu, to punish such offenders, and enfore strict supervision and discipline by the already allotted police force and to relieve such historical temples of such negative elements and social ills thereby resurrecting the sanctity of the temples resulting in restoration of our culture. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. sad to read of these.. we must do something - Rajasulochana