Hindu Religious & Cultural Meet At Guruvayoor

published on October 5, 2008

Click Here for Images of the Meet

he three day Hindu Religious & Cultural meet organized by Samastha Nayar Samajam (SNS) at Gurvayoor, aimed at forging Hindu unity in the state started at Mannam Nagar (Priyadarshini Hall at Kizhakke Nada) at 10.30 a.m on 01 October 2008. SNS President Manjeri Bhaskara Pillai presided the function. Swami Poornamrithanada Puri, Secretary of Amrithananda Mayi Madhom, inaugurated the meet and SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Nadesan was the Chief Guest. Former MLA and Dheevara Sabha General Secretary V. Dinakaran, SC/ST Federation General Secretary K.K. Krishnan Kutty and Kanyakumari District NSS President Advocate V. Sreekumaran Nair gave felicitation speech on the occasion. The evening session that started at 2.30 p.m was a Seminar on the subject `Secular Government and Temple Administration ’. The seminar was chaired by eminent poet Vishnu Narayanan Nampoothiri and inaugurated by Shri. Kummanam Rajasekharan.  Swamy Chidananda Puri of Kulathoor Ashram gave the main speech on the subject.


The Hindu Religious & Cultural meet that started at Guruvayoor in fact has been only the resuscitation of such meets that the Guruvayoor Devasom had conducted from 1949 to 1964 continuously. In 1964 while the meet was in progress, then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru passed away; thereby the meet was closed on that day. For unknown reasons, the meet did not take place since then. Eminent persons like Dr.S. Radhakrishnan, Mannathu Padmanabhan, P. Panoly, Pattom S.Thanu Pillai, Swami Chinmayananda, G. Sankara Kurup, N.V. Krishna Varier, Puthezhathu Raman Menon, Ravi Varma and Dr.Sukumar Azhikkodu were among those who attended the meets during that period. Such meets used to be a unique experience to the devotees who throng the Guruvayoor temple and helped to enhance their knowledge on Vedas, Upanishads  and the Hindu Dharma in particular. So, the SNS has in fact embarked on a very laudable effort when they decided to re-commence the meet after a lapse of 44 years.


In his inaugural speech,  Manjeri Bhaskara Pillai who was in the NSS Director Board and had the opportunity to work with Mannathu Padmanabhan and Kidangoor Gopalakrishna Pillai for many years, outlined the reasons for starting SNS from Guruvayoor and why he agreed to work for the Samajam at such an advanced age. Like majority Nairs in the country, they were pained by the inaction of NSS on issues which has direct relevance to the community; thereby decided to adopt possible ways to apprise the community about the stalemate they are in and to mute ways and means to tide over the situation. He reiterated the goals of SNS and the intention to work according to the teachings of Mannathu Padmanabhan who urged the community members first to become a Nair, then a Hindu  and then a Human. He praised the changes that have taken place in the performance of SNDP after Vellappally Natesan has taken over its governance and the manner in which he has started reacting to issues that matters to Hindus in the state. He declared that in Vellappally he sees the rare acumen and a strong desire to change the fate of Hindus in the state who are fast getting depleted to minority status in the state. Thereby all Hindus falling under different categories ranging from `Nayadi’ to `Nampoothiri’ should join together and march ahead lead by an able leader like Vellappally.


Mr.Vellappally Natesan in his speech explained the efforts made from his side for improving  relations with NSS and SNDP and how he was betrayed by the NSS leadership when they abruptly turned away from any joint efforts. SNDP suggested for a unity among all Hindu sects from Adivassi to Namppothiri; whereas the NSS wanted an alliance first between NSS and SNDP and at a later stage with others. He reiterated that such a union alone shall not serve any purpose since the Hindus in general are being ill treated and ignored by both central and state governments. Recently, crores of rupees have been given away as educational grant to the children of minority communities based on recommendation of the Sachchar Committee reports. Even though various factions among the Christians do have in fights and difference in opinions, in common issues they stand together. Even after watching all such things happening around them, the Hindus fail to react simply because of their laziness. With regard to the recent turmoil within the Devaswom Board, only the NSS to be blamed, he pointed out. He apprised the audience about the way governments in the state have been competing to appease the minority, whether it happens to be LDF or UDF. But latest results show that by 2010, the population of the minorities shall be over 50% of the population in the state and they shall still enjoying minority status guaranteed by statute. He reminded the audience that Mannathu Padmanabhan and R.Shankar were almost successful in forming the Hindu Maha Mandal and they knew that Hindu Unity is need of the time. He expressed the hope that the Hindu Religious & Cultural meet now going on at Guruvayoor could pave the way for it.


Mr.V Dinakaran, EX-MLA and General Secretary of Dheevara Sabha fully endorsed the views expressed by Vellappally. He mentioned that, there are 78 backward communities of which 73 are Hindu communities. Unity between NSS and SNDP is vital in the state, but that shall not be total Hindu unity without keeping together the backward communities as well. There are about 82 Muslim factions but they stand as one when it comes to their common issues. He explained that Kerala has reached a level that no political party could win in the elections without support from the minorities. To bring changes to the established political equations in the state,  all the Hindu sects must come together based on a common minimum programme. He observed that, by establishing and maintaining such a relation, the menace of fast spreading conversions could be stopped. Recollecting his MLA memories, Mr.Dinankaran mentioned that when Kindangoor Gopalakrishna Pillai was NSS General Secretary and Mr.K.Karunakaran the Chief Minister, NSS had the last say in important issues of the State, but now see where they stand.


Mr. K.K. Krishnan Kutty, General Secretary of the SC/ST Federation lauded the initiative from SNS for initiating such a move and extended their full hearted support. He revealed that the SC/ST is fighting a case in the Supreme Court against conversions going on in the country and for support in this regard they knocked at many doors in the state. It was Amma (Mata Amritananda Mayi) who extended all out support and even provided a panel of 7 Advocates who are now fighting the case. He enlightened the audience that about 123 members in the Parliament are from SC/ST and the agenda behind conversion is to Christianize those many seats in Parliament through such covert and avert methods. The World Council of Churches that spearhead conversion globally is concerned about the slow pace of conversion in India when compared to Africa . The reason they found out has been that the SC/ST in India when converted loose the benefit conferred on them by statute. That is the reason why the Churches are now raising hue and cry to restore reservation and other benefits even to those who got converted to Christianity.


Most interesting revelation about the plight of Nairs came from Advocate Sreekumaran Nair, President of Kanyakumari District Nair Service Society. Though a major part of Travancore history and its remnant exist in Kanyakumari District, Nairs in that district are now a lot without identity. Until 1 November 1956 they were proud Nairs of Kerala, but the formation of Kerala left them almost in a no man’s land. The Tamilians and the Government still see them as Malayalis and the Malayalis treat them as `Paandees’. They have no school now to learn Malayalam and cannot use their original mother tongue for any purpose.  Their children too are the victims of such a differential treatment at various levels. He lauded Mr.Vellappaly for having cared about Kanyakumari where thousands of SNDP Unions are functioning smoothly under his able guidance. But, to their utter dismay, the NSS did not bother to care about their vows. They have pledged their support to SNS and the Hindu unity efforts.


The evening session
that started at 2.30 p.m chaired by Vishnu Narayanan Nampoothiri was devoted to a seminar on `Secular Government and Temple Administration ’.  Mr.Nampoothiri enlightened the audience about the folly in the world secularism. Like many other things,  this too was imported to India . Conversion, he said, is the greatest threat faced by Hindus and the westerners have eliminated many cultures from the face of globe through conversion. But in India , they could not succeed in that direction due to the rich heritage that we nurture.


Mr.Kummanam Rajasekharan  in his speech said that the word `secular government’ and `temple administration’ are contradictory because secular has nothing to do with temples. Moreover, the interesting reality of this issue is that, it is only the Hindu temples that the government wishes to administer. Churches and Mosques are left out. The recent interesting changes brought into the Devaswom Board Administration have been  that the President and Members of the Board should take oath in front of a Secretary of the Government, state of the Board’s accounts must be submitted to the Government and all appointments to the Board must be by the government. About 1000 crores of rupees goes to the government from Sabarimala every year. The police every year are being paid about 75 lakhs for their services in Sabarimala, the water authority earn about 95 lakhs from there every year a similarly amount by the Electricity Board as well. Last year due to lack of facilities, thousands of devotees could not have darshan and thousands could not get the Prasadam `Aravana’. This situation must change he reiterated and for that we must have our representatives in the government. Similarly, the temples must be released from the clutches of the government and politicians and handed over to representatives of the  devotees to administer its affairs.


Swamy Chidananada Puri from Kulathoor Ashram reminded the audience that when India gained independence, it was a Socialist Democratic Republic. But Indira Gandhi during her time through a constitutional amendment declared India as Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. In reality, when the country was divided into majority and minority, then itself it lost its citizens. What is vital for a nation is citizens and we ignored that aspect when we opted the other way for political conveniences. India all along has been a shelter for all who sought refuge here, no matter to what religion they belonged to. India was divided and Pakistan was formed based on religion. Later, through the works of British Missionaries and the Education system that the British introduced in the country suppressed the Indian heritage in different ways. The connivance of Col. Manroe brought the temples under government control while the missionaries were provided all assistance at state expense to spread Christianity in the country.They were also assigned with vast areas of tax free land where they developed plantations. Subsequently when the Communists came in power, by provisions of the then introduced land revenue act, acres of landed property of the temples were taken over by the government. When on one hand the temples,  its property and income were taken away from Hindus by the government, the Christian and Muslim places of worship flourished without any kind of taboos and from the income generated they started hospitals, schools, colleges and similar institutions. Same time, what happened with the income from Hindu temples? Part of that went to Hajj pilgrims where last year alone about 1,10,000 people received an average of Rs.30,000/- each in the Hajj Subsidy form,  another part went to Government’s Madrassa development plans, Minoirity children’s scholarships and for revamping the Madrassa education and bringing it in par with CBSE.In a survey conducted in 1984, government has identified 40 districts in the country dominated by Muslims. Recently our Prime Minister has declared a plan to provide special funding to villages which has over 90% Muslim population. Ironically, the government has not bothered about thousands of villages which has over 90% or even 100% Hindu population and are struggling without basic amenities. In reality, the meaning of secularism in India has become anti-Hindu. From time immemorial, the Hinduism remained as a way of life and not as a religion. That needs to be changed now.


In conclusion, the Hindu Cultural and Religious meet provided a new dimension to Hindu Unity in the state and unanimously acknowledged that Vellappally is the right person to lead the Hindus. SNS deserve the credit for having set the stage for such a convention at a place like Guruvayoor.  In days ahead when elections are around the corner, this new development could herald the advent of a challenging political equation. SNS will have to put in every effort to muster support of community members from within and outside the country.

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