TN CM is full of karuna and nidhi for temples

via Swati Das | Chennai - Daily Pioneer published on September 19, 2010

When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced the 1000th year celebrations of the Brahadheeswarar Temple (Big Temple) in Thanjavur in July, two comments of his took people by surprise.

One — after the car festival of the Sri Thyagarajaswamy Temple, he said: “When I was young, I raised an issue whether a car festival was necessary for Lord Thyagaraja when farmers were in poverty. Later, when I came to power, I took steps for the conduct of the festival because I thought the economic condition of farmers had improved. I think my views were correct if we consider the situation that prevailed in those times.”

Two – apart from announcing the millennium celebrations of the Big Temple as a salute to King Rajaraja Chola, Karunanidhi declared that he was not against Brahmins, but only against Brahmanism. “Brahmanism practised by people of any caste will be opposed by me and my party.”

Karunanidhi, also the DMK chief, who was an integral part of the Dravidian movement that was involved in tearing of sacred threads of Brahmins, breaking Hindu idols and protesting against religious activities, seem to have changed his views. In fact, in his current regime, he has done a lot more for the temples than any of his predecessors had done, by way of renovations.

Earlier this month, the 2000-year-old hilltop Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple in Sholinghur in Vellore district found a new life as the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE)

Department of the Tamil Nadu Government got it renovated at the cost of Rs 25 crore.

This is just a part of the Rs 420 crore spent by his Government.

He has not turned religious, but a champion of Tamil language and preserver of Tamil culture, he says. And, he is showing it by renovating temples of the State and initiating various welfare schemes for the temple priests, employees, patrons and institutions connected to temples.

In this regime, Karunanidhi has shown great interest in the HR&CE Department and strengthened it with more budgetary allocations. So HR&CE Minister KR Periyakaruppan is perhaps one of the most important Ministers in Karunanidhi’s Cabinet and has been a busy man.

“The phrase Ondre kulam oruvane daivam meaning ‘one God and one community’ reveals the egalitarian society of life led by the ancient Tamils, who built temples which still remain more than mere worshipping places and religious institutions; these are as the treasure of our culture. Temple constructed by kings and philanthropists stand as the archaeological and historical symbols, which reveal the culture, history and the sense of art among ancient Tamils. Temples are the treasure trove of literature, music, dance, architecture, sculpture and painting,” explains the HR&CE policy note of the current year.

Returning to power in 2006, Karunanidhi met many religious gurus, including Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamayi, Jaggi Vasudev, etc. When eyebrows were raised, Karunanidhi explained that he found nothing wrong in coordinating with religious persons willing to contribute towards the welfare of the people.

In fact, Sai Baba had donated funds for irrigation projects and Jaggi Vasudev conducted a State-wide programme of planting trees, which began with planting of a sapling at the CM’s own house.

It was the HR&CE department which organised the rupees multi-crore Worlds Classical Tamil Conference in Coimbatore in June and currently the Karunanidhi Government is all engrossed in the millennium celebrations of the Big Temple in Thanjavur to be held later this month. Karunanidhi has even roped in the Centre to contribute towards the renovations of the Big Temple. A total of Rs 50 crore are being spent on the celebrations.

Temple renovations are part of the main agenda of the Government. According to the policy note, funds are mobilised from various sources, including public donations, surplus from affluent temples, Government grants, common good fund, temple development fund, village temple renovation fund and temple renovation and charitable fund. In the 2009-10 fiscal, the Karunanidhi Government gave permission for renovations and kumbabishekams of 4,020 temples, costing Rs 387 crore.

A key venture in renovating the temples is promoting tourism, as temples are a key source of income for the tourism department. The HR&CE department in collaboration with the tourism department is providing all kinds of facility to devotees and tourists at various temples to promote temple tourism. The two departments together put in Rs 25.20 crore to provide facilities to 54 temples.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

ten − ten =


Latest Articles from Bharath Focus

Did You Know?