Chennai - Sandesh

An Eerie Kind Of Holy Hills Piracy: “Mountain Evangelism”

Sholingar Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple atop a hill in Vellore distirict, may soon become out of bounds for devout Hindus. Hillside paths leading to the temple, one of the 108 divya desams (sacred Vaishnavite shrines), have been increasingly subjected to plastering of non Hindu symbols. Repeated representations by Hindus led by Hindu Munnani are being neglected by authorities including the district administration. Hindus apprehend violence breaking out as conversions are reported in the holy town. Sholingar is not certainly an isolated instance. Achirupakkam hills on the outskirts of Chennai has been virtually taken over by evangelising outfits that have planted the Cross all over the holy hill held sacred by Shaivite devotees. Connivance of corrupt officials with church groups had resulted in Hindus losing hold on their sacred hill. A third victim of the ‘mountain evangelism’ is the Parvatha hill close to the silk-loom town of Arni, again in Vellore district. Here too protest by devout Hindus was of no avail. In all such cases of religious piracy, crowd engineering by church follows, depriving Hindus access to their ancient holy hills. The land grab pattern of the notorious East India Company is unmistakably visible at  several such pockets in Tamil Nadu.

When Castelessness Was Cast On Roadside

Thousands of candidates who visit Chennai TNPSC office from other parts of the State will benefit from the change of name from Frazer Bridge Road in George Town to TNPSC Road. Montieth Road at Egmore has been renamed Red Cross Road keeping in mind the presence of the Red Cross office on it. Looks sensible. But this renaming spree had thrown up many a hilarious fall out when MGR regime in the 80’s sought to eliminate caste by erasing caste suffix from street name boards. In the process, “Chetty Street” became “Street”. When the anti caste knife fell on “Kutty Pillai Street”, people had a hearty laugh on finding the name board with just “Kutty Street” meaning kid street. But residents of “Venkatachala Mudali Street” in Mylapore managed to quickly popularise “V M Street” thus sidestepping awkward name changes. Many streets use such first letter technique to minimise confusion. At the end of it all, castelessness finds itself orphaned on the roadside! Comparatively recent layouts across the state display well organised bunching of national leaders on street name boards: Nila Mangai Nagar in Chennai boasts of who is who of freedom struggle as street names. Nearby Kesari Nagar chose pan Indian literary greats for their street names. Bharati, Tagore, Valmiki, Vyasa, Kamban, et al. Change, by the way, is permanent.   

Not Mere Collector, Kandasamy Is A Jiladeesh

At a prize distribution event for toppers of Class 10 public exam,  Monisha told Tiruvannamalai District Collector KS Kandasamy that her ambition was to become an IAS officer like him. After the function he invited the girl, now studying in Class 11, to sit in his official car and stood outside the vehicle with folded hands and a photograph was taken. Giving her a copy of the picture later, he told Monisha that she should be motivated further to vigorously pursue her dream of becoming a bureaucrat whenever she looked at the photo. Overwhelmed by the gesture, the girl studying in a government school at Cheyyar thanked him. That was exactly an year ago, in December 2017, to be precise. Kandasamy has done it again recently. In August 2018, one Anandhi petitioned the Tiruvannamalai District Collector KS Kandasamy, narrating her heart rending story. She had lost her parents one by one recently. Her grandma who took care of her and her two siblings was bedridden now. She had to work in the fields to feed the family. She requested that, on compassionate ground, she be given the job of anganwadi help in place of her late mother. Kandasamy considered her request and appointed her as a midday meal centre help in a panchayat school. Not only that, he got Anandhi’s sister Amudha in a college to pursue her education and enabled her brother too to continue his studies. “Collector” is a British ‘legacy’ that simply means to collect revenue for the alien ruler. Many Indian languages have adopted a more relevant name for the post: Maavatta Atchiyar (Tamil) to mean district administrator; Jiladeesh (Hindi) and Jiladhikari in Kannada, Malayalam etc.  

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