Hindu temples: now golden goose, now street dog – I
by Radha Rajan on 03 Dec 2010 7 Comments

Trifling with Tirupati

‘Sankaralayam’, the Chennai abode of Pujya Acharyas of Kanchi Kamakoti Matham, hosted an emergency dharma sadas comprising over twenty mathathipathis, acharyas and sanyasis from Andhra Pradesh on Monday, 29 November 2010. The sadas was convened by Pujya Kanchi Acharya upon learning that the dharmacharya sadassu scheduled to be held on Tirumala Hills on 29 & 30 November 2010 had been abruptly called off by the Specified Authority which currently administers the Tirumala Venkateswara (Tirupati Balaji) Temple.


The dharmacharya sadassu scheduled for 2009 was also cancelled, not once but twice. After announcing the dates for the dharmacharya sadassu the first time, it was cancelled by the TTD Board headed by Chairman Adikesavulu Naidu without explanation; announcing new dates for the sadassu for the second time, it was cancelled again. The tenure of the TTD Board headed by Adikesavulu Naidu ended in August 2010 and in the wake of serious allegations of corruption involving TTD funds and abuse of schemes and tickets for ‘Arjitha Seva’, the then Chief Minister K Rosiah dissolved the Board and constituted the Specified Authority to cleanse the administration of all corruption and malpractices.


Shri Rosiah, a good and decent man and a devout Hindu, also constituted a two-member commission of the Vigilance and Enforcement department comprising two senior IPS officers to investigate every charge and allegation of corruption and abuse of power leveled against not just the 15 member TTD Board, but the entire TTD administration. It is not surprising that, forced to cancel the dharmacharya sadassu for the third time, a wounded Rosiah, unable to deal with the pressure being brought to bear upon him by Christians and other minorities in the state and in Delhi, chose to step down as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh rather than endure being constantly undermined and humiliated by the anti-Hindu elements in his party.  

The Specified Authority TTD comprises three IAS officers - Dr. J. Satyanarayana, Special Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, as Chairman TTD Board; I.Y.R. Krishna Rao as Executive Officer; and V. Nagireddy, Managing Director of AP Industrial Development Corporation (APIDC) as the third member; the last two are IAS officers of the rank of Principal Secretary. The writer has it on excellent authority that all three officers are fine and decent officers who however are not being allowed to function in the best interests of the temple and the temple’s bhaktas. While the TTD Board is a willing and happy puppet body manipulated by the President of the Congress party, the Specified Authority is a helpless entity subject to enormous pressure to do the bidding of Madam and all Madam’s men.

The Specified Authority was ordered to cancel the dharmacharya sadassu scheduled to take place on 29 & 30 November 2010 by the same forces that compelled Shri Rosiah to step down as Chief Minister. The writer’s source claimed that one of the three officers requested in total despair that the dharma sadas to be held in Chennai should sharply rebuke all of them for canceling the scheduled sadassu in Tirupati.     

The presence of revered acharyas Pujya Viswesha Teertha Swamiji of Udipi Pejawara Matha, Pujya Vidya Narasimha Bharati Swamiji of Pushpagiri Matham and Pujya Dayananda Saraswati Swamiji, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, at the dharma sadas in Chennai is an indication of the nature of the outrage. Lest any Hindu fails to comprehend the enormity of this adharmic action, India’s anti-Hindu polity which controls our temples in several states, including Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, decided that Hindu Dharmacharyas cannot be allowed to meet in the Tirupati Balaji Temple, the richest temple and historically one of the most important Hindu temples in the country.


A small group belonging to the Congress party in Delhi (one, allegedly a person close to the party president and the other, a Congress functionary in charge of Andhra Pradesh) arrogated to itself the extraordinary and asuric power to cancel the dharma sadassu. Sonia Gandhi effectively rubbed the Hindu nose in the dirt, for the nth time, when she and her minions in the Congress demonstrated their control over Hindu temples. 


It must be added that the Congress in its entirety and shameless Hindus belonging to political parties which have prided themselves at one time or other in being allies of the Italian Roman Catholic-led Congress party, must try playing this game with the Catholic Bishops Conference or the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board or even the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. Hindus for their part must ask themselves how Muslims, Christians and Sikhs would have reacted under similar circumstances. The root of the problem of repeated slight offered to Hindu sensibilities by India’s politics of minority-ism lies in the answer to this last question.


Tirupati Balaji temple is administered by the all-powerful Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board. The functioning of the Board is governed by the TTD Constitution which is a separate chapter in the Andhra Pradesh Hindu Religious, Charitable Institutions and Temples Act. The TTD Board is supposedly an autonomous board; a patently false and laughable claim considering the fact that the Board with a tenure of two years, comprises 15 members whose Chairman, like the CJI, CEC, CVC, NSA, CBI and PM, is directly appointed by Sonia Gandhi; and also considering the antecedents of past Chairmen of the TTD Board thus hand-picked by Madam.


The TTD Board, besides the Chairman, who is a political appointee, comprises 11 members chosen from different walks of life and three members who are MLAs belonging to the ruling party in the state. This corrupt political body wears a virtuous fig-leaf of mandatory inclusion of a SC, ST and woman member in the team. The 11 members are like some members of the Rajya Sabha who, although they may represent a diverse non-political segment of civil society, nevertheless require political backing to become members of parliament in the Rajya Sabha. All members of the TTD Board are thus political appointees, no less. The TTD Board is therefore not an autonomous entity owing allegiance to the presiding deity; it is a political body owing allegiance to the Chief Minister of the State and if the state is ruled by the Congress, to Sonia Gandhi.


In recent years the choice of two persons as Chairman TTD Board deserves special mention – Bhumanna Karunakara Reddy and Adikesavulu Naidu; both were given the golden goose called TTD as reward for services rendered: Bhumanna Karunakara Reddy was rewarded by Y Samuel Rajasekhara Reddy (hereafter Samuel Reddy) for Bhumanna’s devotion to Samuel Reddy’s father Raja Reddy who lived a chequered and violent life until 1998 when he was allegedly murdered by workers belonging to the Telugu Desam Party.


In the late 1970s decade, both Karunakara Reddy and Samuel Reddy’s late father Raja Reddy were serving sentences for different crimes in the same prison. Karunakara Reddy’s initiation into Samuel Reddy’s family began then. After his release from prison, Bhumanna Karunakara Reddy hitched his wagon to the rising star of the politically ambitious Samuel Reddy family. One of Samuel Reddy’s first acts as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 2004 was to make Bhumanna Subramanya Reddy, Karunakara Reddy’s older brother, Director of Sri Venkateswara Employees’ Training Academy or SVETA. Karunakara Reddy was made Chairman Tirupati Urban Development Authority or TUDA.


Through a Government Order (GO) Samuel Reddy introduced a new custom by which the Chairman of TUDA would now be an ex-officio member of the TTD Board; this unprecedented move was effected only to place both family minions within the TTD empire as an interim measure in some capacity before presenting younger brother and family faithful par exemplar Karunakara Reddy with the prestigious Chairman TTD Board Golden Goose Award in 2006. Karunakara Reddy succeeded Subbarami Reddy, Congress MP Rajya Sabha to the post. Subbarami Reddy in TTD was akin to Sharad Pawar in the BCCI, now ICC, and that should say it all. Political power driven by money power bestows more power to the same individual enabling the making of more money. It is a dichotomous self-perpetuating creature.    


It is not mere coincidence that during the tenure of the three Reddys – Samuel, Subramanya and Karunakara as Chief Minister Andhra Pradesh, Director SVETA and Chairman TTD Board respectively – that Christian missionary activities in the TTD administered universities in Tirupati and missionary activities on Tirumala Hills gathered unchecked momentum culminating in a situation where Christians were employees of the TTD on Tirumala Hills! Whether the Christians used SVETA to infiltrate the Tirumala Hills or whether Samuel Reddy politely looked the other way as evangelists climbed the seven hills to convert TTD employees to Christianity is not clear, but what was established beyond dispute was that evangelism and Christian missionary activities had not only begun but were visibly increasing in Tirupati-Tirumala courtesy Samuel, Subramanya and Karunakara Reddy.


The story of how Adikesavulu Naidu, the liquor baron with huge assets in Andhra and Karnataka, was presented the Chairman TTD Board Golden Goose Award first in 2003 and again in 2008, is even more enthralling. Adikesavulu Naidu was Treasurer, AICC, when P.V.  Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister. Quitting the Congress party like rats abandoning a sinking ship, Adikesavulu Naidu joined the politically ascendant Telugu Desam Party; gratified that the phenomenally rich and powerful liquor baron who also owned sugar factories in Andhra Pradesh chose to throw away the Congress Party in favour of the TDP, party president Chandrababu Naidu presented Adikesavulu Naidu the Chairman TTD Board Golden Goose Award for the first time in 2003. From one Naidu to another Naidu in 2003, from one Reddy to another Reddy in 2006, from one Reddy to another Naidu, both Madam’s men in 2008, the stench of corruption and vice from within the TTD resembled the Augean Stables in 2010. 


In 2004, after completing his first tenure as Chairman TTD Board, Adikesavulu Naidu contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 as TDP candidate from Chitoor. In 2008, when the UPA faced its first real crisis in Parliament over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, Adikesavulu Naidu once again played rat-in-a-sinking-ship, turned back on the party which elected him MP to the Lok Sabha, violated the party whip and voted for the UPA in favour of the Nuclear Deal. Notwithstanding the fact that his vote was invalidated by the Speaker, Sonia Gandhi and Samuel Reddy, as wages for betrayal, bestowed upon Adikesavulu Naidu the TTD Chairman Golden Goose award for the second time in 2008.


The TTD had thus become a prestigious parking place for unworthy, undeserving moneybags and even scumbag sycophants of the state’s ruling political class. With Sonia’s Congress as the ruling party in the state and in Delhi, the defiling of Tirupati had fallen to new depths. The V&E department recommended filing criminal and civil cases against three members of the TTD Board, eight superintendents, fifteen senior assistants, five junior assistants, twelve attendants and two other persons employed as personal assistants of members of the TTD Board.


The V&E probing the multi-crore Srivari Arjitha Seva Ticket scam, charged the TTD Board and administration of colluding with hoteliers and travel agents in a network of deep and well-entrenched racket where seva and darshan tickets were sold to the management of these hotels and travel agencies for a higher price which in turn sold them to bhaktas for an even higher price. There was also talk of missing jewellery from the TTD coffers. The V&E found former Chairman TTD Board and Congress MP Subbarami Reddy guilty of having booked in 2008 seva tickets worth several lakhs of rupees in the name of several members of his family until the year 2060!


Expressing deep sorrow at the unfortunate state of affairs within the TTD Board, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati speaking at the dharma sadas on 29 November in Chennai observed that it was extremely unfortunate that the Specified Authority had cancelled the dharmacharya sadassu in Tirumala. Dharmacharyas have historically and for centuries gathered at such dharma sadas in different temple towns and teertha-kshetras to deliberate upon issues pertaining to Hindu dharma and dharmi. Administrative bodies like the TTD must not interfere in the religious affairs of temples, Swamiji added.


Pujya Kanchi Acharya while deploring the decision of the Specified Authority to cancel the dharmacharya sadassu, referred to the general and pervasive maladministration of Hindu temples. Pujya Kanchi Acharya called upon Hindus to find ways to ensure that the revenue earned by our temples was used only to serve Hindu dharmic interests – upkeep and maintenance of small temples, maintenance of ancient temples located deep in the hearts of our villages, for gau samrakshana and for dharma pravachan. All sanyasis, acharyas and mathathipathis at the dharma sadas agreed that religious conversion powered by foreign money to Abrahamic faiths constituted the biggest threat to Hindu dharma.


Concluding the day-long dharma sadas with a resolution condemning the TTD for cancelling the dharmacharya sadassu for the third time, it was decided that the resolution would be sent to the Specified Authority TTD, to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and to the Prime Minister in Delhi.


-        The Acharyas present have noted with distress the development in Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam in cancelling the Dharma Prachara Sadassu, scheduled to be conducted on the 29th and 30th November, 2010.


-        It is obvious that the secular government has once again interfered with this Hindu religious body committed to sanatana dharma and Hindu dharma pracharam. Also the act of cancellation of dharmacharya sadassu is tantamount to interfering in the spiritual and religious functioning of Hindus as also the functioning of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.


-        This conference expresses its displeasure at the casual manner of dealing with Hindu religious leaders and advises the government not to exert political pressure on Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam or on any Hindu religious body carrying out its dharmic responsibilities and urges the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam to convene the Dharmacharya Sadassu every year without fail. (Excerpts from the resolution passed by Hindu Dharmacharyas at Chennai on 29 November 2010)              


Passing resolutions and sending them to the government, online petitions and angry or distressed letters to government officials about the state of Hindu temples, about the barely concealed disrespect for Hindu sensibilities demonstrated routinely by officials in government and administration, are but impotent expressions of a weak people. This was the path along which Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjea and Gopalkrishna Gokhale led the Indian National Congress; Gandhi modified this effete approach to dealing with the colonial government by making his brand of satyagraha the only instrument with which to deal with the British; by and by Hindus had allowed their martial limbs to atrophy with disuse and today Hindus cannot think beyond sitting the whole day lamenting their fate, and passing resolutions of condemnation.


The issue is not corruption or maladministration of our temples; the issue is Hindus have allowed and continue to allow anti-Hindu governments to control temple administration, temple revenue and actively intervene in the religious affairs of Hindu temples, eroding the very sanctity of our temples. Temple affairs are today subjected to the political whims and caprices of Nehruvian secular Indian polity. This cannot be ended by resolutions drafted by Hindu bhaktas or Hindu dharmacharyas. This can be ended the day Hindu dharmacharyas collectively threaten to launch sustained and intense mass protests calling upon governments to surrender their control of Hindu temples.


Arguments about which body will administer the temples, resulting chaos and instability do not hold water because these were the same arguments that the British government used when asked to quit India. Hindus have managed their temples centuries before the HR&CE, TTD, Congress, TDP, DMK or AIADMK were even conceived of. Chaos and instability are poor excuses for looting temple money and plundering temple wealth and property.


Hindus must emerge from their cocoon of self-interest and cowardice to see how the Abrahamic religions twist hardened Indian politicians around their fingers, tie them up in knots and lead them down the garden path of de-Hinduising the nation with a ring around their nose. Hindus and Hindus alone can end this terrible state of affairs in our temples and this can be ended only forcefully.


(To be continued…)

The author is editor, www.vigilonline.com

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