[GHHF] Did Andhra Hindus wake up finally? Media, Politicians, Movie Actors, Singers and others join the campaign to Save Temples
August 5, 2010
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda
The idea that Hindus need to pursue and want to preserve is freedom – total freedom - from servitude, suppression, subjugation, repression, restraint, and oppression imposed mercilessly and ruthlessly by the central and state government bent on damaging and uprooting the Hindu Temples and Hindu civilization. They have been selling the Temples land, allowing the encroachment of Temple lands, allowing some Temples to be closed, misusing the Temple funds, promoting other religions at the expense of Hindu money, allowing the conversion tactics to continue unashamedly and uninterrupted, looking the other way of all the rampant corruption at all levels of Temple management, appointing corrupt unethical criminal and political people to the management of the Temples and even destroying the old dilapidated temples instead of renovating. The Temples belong to Hindus, not the government. Do they ever consult any local people of the Temple as to how to mange them? Do they ever consult any Vedic and Vastu experts when they try to demolish the Temples and auction Temple lands? Do they ever consult Hindu Religious leaders before make the decisions either to close, renovate or demolish the Temples? They have the audacity, nerve, guts and ruthlessness when it comes to the take over and management of Hindu Temples even if they have to use force to dive Hindu away. Does the government have the guts to take over Churches and Mosques? It is high time that Hindus take this issue of Hindu Temples as part of their own; think about them, dream about them and fight for them.
All the Hindus should wake up to the fact that 80 percent of the population has been denied to mange their temples. We have to realize the evil intent of the government. It is engaged in a number devious tactics to trap and induce certain segment of Hindu population with so many favors that these fellow Hindus are not realizing the potential damage they are causing to their own religion and how they have been denying the god given freedom to themselves and fellow Hindus. Once the freedom is lost, it would be difficult, hard and tough to regain. It would be a life long battle for many people. They may not enjoy their freedom in this life. By not taking active role in challenging the right of the government, special interest Hindus are denying the freedom to the future generations. It would not strike these special interest Hindus that their own children and grand children may be forced to do certain things against their will because they lost their freedom because of our selfish interests.
For the last four years Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) and Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi (HDPS) have been engaged in a number of activities such as demonstrations, protests, pada yatras, litigations, petitions, sit ins, and meeting with the political and religious leaders to make all Hindus aware of the plight of Hindu Temples, the potential danger to Hindu culture and the impending threat to the individual and collective freedom that is the hallmark of Hinduism.
All Hindus need to take up this idea of freedom to their heart, make it their own agenda to bring changes in the management of Hindu Temples, develop passion to preserve the only religion that has a history of nonviolence, and sacrifice their life, if they must, for the sake of human race.
The question is how do we do it? It is through patience, perseverance, persistence and passion Hindus have to preserve and protect their cherished and rich culture in spite of all the hurdles, obstacles, denials, insults, discouragements and neglects. Nothing is more important than the passion to preserve the idea of freedom as Swami Vivekananda mentioned.
Following the collapse of Srikalahasti Rajagopuram, the climate has changed. Many politicians, movie actors, singers, religious leaders and even media have taken up the task of rooting out the corruption and bring back the purity and sanctity of Hindu Temples. As many of you know that within few days after the collapse of Rajagopuram, we submitted 15 recommendations to protect the Hindu Temples. We know that it is difficult task to challenge the establishment. We tried our best refusing to give up our mission to free temples from the government control in face of numerous difficulties. We have been continuing our mission slowly and steadily with full faith. In fact there is no choice left for Hindus if they want to enjoy the freedom and independence.
It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to. ~George Santayana
Aftermath of Srikalahasti Rajagopuram collapse
The events that are taking place in Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) following the collapse of Srikalahasti Rajagopuram are disheartening, discouraging and demoralizing to every Hindu. It affected a number of people and organizations. We hope and trust that these efforts to clean up Tirumala are genuine. They are not for power, fame, vote bank politics and ratings. If their efforts are sincere and honest, we hope that the campaign to save TTD from corruption will spread to all the Hindu Temples across India. Campaign should be expanded to all Hindu Temples across Bharat. Following organizations and individuals have taken up this cause GHHF and HDPS have been advocating over the years with appropriate actions. It is better to be late than never.
1) Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi and GHHF – Sri Kamalkumar Swami
2) Tv 9 Campaign to “Savetirumala”
3) Chandra Babu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party
4) Chiranjeevi of Prajarajyam Party
5) Mohan Babu, Movie Actor
6) Ghazal Srinivas, Famous Ghazal Singer
7) Sri Guru Peetham, Hyderabad
8) Smt. Kondaveeti Jyothirmayi, Popular Singer
1) Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti (HDPS) and GHHF - Sri Kamal Kumar Swami
As many of are aware that Sri Kamal Kumar Swami went to Sri Kalahasti the day after the Rajagopuram collapsed and submitted 15 recommendations to improve the management of the Temples, to make them free from corruption, to provide adequate facilities to the pilgrims, to stop distributing lands for the employees for housing, to investigate all major temples structural integrity, to assign the Arjitha seva ticket scam to CBI for thorough investigation and to provide proper security for the temple premise to the state government, TTD executive officer and Commissioner.
Since then it appears that Andhra Pradesh has woken up from deep slumber. GHHF and HDPS have been advocating a number of improvements to maintain the sanctity of and purity in the Temples over the last four years with minimal response from the media and politicians. Many people were outraged, annoyed, angry, disheartened, dismayed and dejected at the total neglect of the 500-year-old Rajagopuram to be collapse, to hear the scandal after scandal in all the Temples and to total indifference and unresponsiveness to the requests for proper actions and responses. One wonders whether this sudden waking up from deep sleep is genuine and sincere or is it ploy to get the sympathy, votes and ratings. We only hope that this concern by all the parties involved is nonpolitical, spiritual and ethical.
Sri Kamal Kumar Swami has been trekking the state addressing a number of issues facing the Hindu Temples. He went to Madanapalli and nearby villages to investigate the status of temples and recommended to EO of TTD to adopt kondaveeti Rayudu Devalayam by TTD and also pointed out the irregularities in the management of Temple lands. On July 18, he went to Mantralayam to attend Archaka Purohita Sammelanam and spoke about the need to regularize their salaries and improve their working conditions. Of course, he also organized a group of people to oppose the sale of Thirumala Giri Sri Venkateswara Temple near Jaggayya Peta. On July 29, he also spoke at the rally organized by Sri Guru Peetham following their pada yatra from Hyderabad to Tirupathi.
He also visited Gollpalli village near Nuzividu and openly talked about Sri Raghunatha Temple lands that have been misused and under rented. Sri Swami also revealed the rental misuse of Temple lands belonging to Venkatachalam Temple in Nuzividu and Shobhanachalam Temple in Aagiripalli. As a result Endowment Minister visited these Temples and shocked to know that the rent being paid for leasing the land is 50 paise (little more than one penny). Minister was also surprised to find out that the Endowment Department can account for only 1600 acres of land out of 3405 acres belonging to these Temples. He immediately ordered the Department to survey the lands and submit a report within two months.
Sri Kamal Kumar Swami is participating in a number of discussions and appeared on many TV channels such as TV9, ETV 2, TV1, NTV, Studio One, HMTV, ABN Andhra Jyothi and others.
2) TV9 - "Save Tirumala" from Politicians and VIPs.
It started a campaign with title “savetirumala.” The main goal is to free TTD from apathy and mismanagement by corrupt officers and free TTD Board from unemployed politicians, businessmen, land and liquor barons etc. Similarly, the TTD Board is being used to rehabilitate influential and rich politicians and also to benefit the loyalists of the ruling party. As a result of the unscrupulous activities of the TTD Board, the common devotees becomes the worst suffers. Devotees who have no power, money and influence most often do not get Balaji's darshan. Even if they succeed to get a glimpse of the sanctum for a few seconds, it is after undergoing an agonizing ordeal on the hills. But the VIPs and VVIPs are always welcome and they get entry and darshan on priority. No rules apply to them. This kind of discrimination (in the name of God) cannot be tolerated in a democracy. It is our duty to put pressure on the Government to bring about democratic reforms in the formation of TTD Board. Nominating a fair and balanced apolitical person as the chairman is the need of the hour. The term of the present board will be over shortly. There cannot be a better opportunity to demand for revamping of the Board.
Join the hands with TV9 and support our campaign 'Save Tirumala' by mailing or sending email to Sonia Gandhi and Man Mohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India.
3) Chandra Babu Naidu and TDP to start demonstration
The TDP (Teulugu Desam Party) decided to hold a demonstration in front of the office of TTD executive officer in Tirupati on August 7. TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, accompanied by a few leaders would walk to Tirumala from Alipiri and offer prayers to Lord Venkateswara seeking his blessings to prevent ‘rampant corruption and irregularities' at Tirumala. They would visit other major temples like Kanipakam and Srikalahasti in Chittoor the next day in the light of complaints of “irregularities” being committed by the respective trust boards. Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, MLAs G. Muddukrishnam Naidu and B. Gopalakrishna Reddy expressed concern over the way the tickets of special sevas were being auctioned by the TTD board members and land of the Devasthanam being handed over to private parties. (Source: The Hindu; August 1, 2010).
Speaking on the issue, opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu said that in the last few years, allegations of corruption and discrimination against common pilgrims have vitiated the atmosphere of the temple. Even as chief minister, he said, he never entered the temple through the Mahadwaram except during the Brahmotsavams when the state government offers clothes to the lord as a ritual.
''Misdeeds of the Congress leaders had gone to such an extent'', he said adding the fresh scam in Arjitha Seva tickets had blotted the TTD's reputation and sanctity of the Tirumala temple.
''TTD has become a travel agent selling all kinds of tickets for a price and Tirumala has lost its sanctity under the Congress rule,'' Mr Naidu also alleged.
He urged the state government urged to scrap the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Trust Board and appoint "an apolitical, honest persons committed towards protection of Hinduism'' to restore the divinity of the place.
4) Chiranjeevi of Prajarajyam Party
Mega star Chiranjeevi talked about the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), a holy cow because it administers the world’s richest temple. Allegations of corruption have tarred the image of the TTD recently. Speaking in the Assembly, the Prajarajyam Party president protested against the special treatment given to VIPs at the temple through arrangement of out-of-turn darshans and poojas. He says the temple should stop discrimination and treat all pilgrims as equal. He also demanded a CBI or judicial probe into the allegations of ornaments and jewels going missing from the temple’s treasury. (The Indian Express, July 22, 2010).
"Some said that the jewels were melted and others said that they did not know anything about it. Why this confusion? This negligent attitude of the TTD and the state government towards the emperor’s jewels gave scope for many suspicions. If the jewels were melted, what happened to the valuable stones? All these doubts should be clarified immediately,” said Chiranjeevi.
His padayatra to Tirumala passed through main thoroughfares of the temple town (Tirupathi), before reaching Alipiri at the foot of Tirumala hills. From there, Chiranjeevi started trekking to Tirumala. His trek took more than six hours as opposed to the usual three to four hours.
5) Mohan Babu on TTD
Sri Mohan Babu, former Rajya Sabha member and a famous movie actor, lashed out at the TTD authorities for the lack of accountability and transparency in all of their departments. In particular he spoke on the deplorable conditions faced by the would-be priests around forty of them who were pigeon holed in a single room without proper civic facilities. Their dining room resembled a pig stall and their living room worse than a prison he added. He is only interested in eradication of corruption and restoring its' dignity.
Mohan Babu told the media that he was pained at the serious concern over the poor functioning and delivery of services provided to the devotees. “The TTD management is in chaos and all its departments are hit by lack of accountability and transparency, corruption, and vested interests of some of the officials,” he said. He deplored that the TTD’s slogan ‘Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha,’ had turned into a farce. “All the establishments, facilities and services offered to the devotees are ‘far below the minimum standards expected from the TTD. The Vedapatasala, which is training about 700 future priests, is in a very awkward, untidy and dilapidated condition. More than 40 students are dumped in a single room.
6) Dr. Ghazal Srinivas ‘Maha Padayatra’ Against TTD
Dr Ghazal Srinivas, popular Ghazal singer, Maha Padayatra from Hyderabad to Tirumala on July 12 by breaking a coconut. This nonstop walk was intended to educate the TTD officials to carry on their duties in the way that:
1) protects the sanctity of Tirumala
2) erases the social inequalities among the rich and poor devotees
3) felicitates the poor and middle class devotees with better facilities
4) maintains devotional fervor on the hills than the commercial fever.
Another popular singer, Ms. Kondaveeti Jyothirmayi and Soundara Rajan also participated in taking off this Maha Padayatra from TTD Office in Himayat Nagar.
Four devotees (Sri Guru Kula Peetam President Sri Venkateshwara Rao, Ayyapu Krishna Soodi, Bhagawati Srinivas and Ayyapu Sridhar) started this Padayatra to reach Tirumala Hills by the end of July.
GHHF talked to Dr. Ghazal Srinivas on August 4, 2010 about his mission and his views of TTD. He says that he met a number of TTD officials and also the Chief Minister and expressed his concern over the inadequate facilities at TTD.
He made the following observations:
1) The facilities need to be improved and make them available to all the pilgrims.
2) All major Temple should prepare the history documentary for pilgrims to watch so that all the pilgrims are ware of the history of the Temple, significance of the murties and Temple site, miracles pilgrims experienced; significance of the different gods and goddesses; when and who built the Temple, etc.
3) Special Committee should be appointed to oversee the assets (lands, bank accounts, jewelry) and safeguard them. There should be complete transparency.
4) Special Board should also be appointed to provide adequate salaries to the priest, provide retirement benefits, provide health benefits, and also provide education for their children.
5) Trust Board should be made free from unethical and corrupt people with criminal record. They should be free from political affiliations and should be a religious people who have abiding faith in their religion.
7) Sri Guru Peetham - ‘Save TTD' padayatra from Hyderabad reaches Tirumala
The 650 kilometers ‘padayatra' taken up by followers of ‘Sri Guru Peetham' from Hyderabad under the banner ‘Save Tirumala' reached the sacred hill shrine on Thursday (July 29) night.
The long march was taken up by the followers of Sri Guru Peetam to create awareness among the people and muster support from the public to expose the increased ‘political' interference in TTD affairs.
The organizers of the march accused the system which they alleged was creating a ‘gulf' between the devotees and the presiding deity - Lord Venkateswara to whom millions of devotees spread all across the globe have a great reverence. They pointed out at the business like attitude being followed by the temple management and the diminishing religious atmosphere atop the temple town.
One wonders as to what circumstances forced the TTD which is supposed to have non-politicians, the learned and respectful personalities including the religious leaders on its board of trustees enhancing its serene image has of late become a ‘haven' for the politically unemployed and unscrupulous elements.
They said that the inclusion of politicians on the board has not only lowered the image of the institution but also has contributed to the flourishing of black marketing of services at Tirumala. The corruption has grown out of proportions. The convener of the padayatra, Venkateswara Rao, said that they would also highlight in their ‘missive' to the Lord regarding the recent scam, which surfaced in the TTD.
8) Ms. Kondaveeti Jyothirmayi
She participated in the save temples movement organized by Sri Guru Peetham. Her main aim is to make people aware of the problems they are facing by conducting a survey. Average pilgrim should be given equal opportunity to have darshan of Lord Sri Venkateswara and they should also be provided all the needed facilities to make their pilgrimage comfortable. They should not be standing in line for hours because of VVIP breaks. All the Bhaktas should look at themselves to make sure that they would not request special darshans denying the early darshan opportunity for others. Survey results will be provided to Chief Minister. She feels that Sri Rosaiah is a very religious person and God fearing person and that he will take appropriate corrective measures. She traveled from Hyderabad to Tirupathi to participate in the Pada yatra conducted by Sri Guru Peetham.
9) Communist Party of India
Even the Communist Party of India has joined the movement concerned about the corruption and the inadequate facilities for the pilgrims. The leaders, appearing on TV9, stated that the pilgrims are denied of the opportunity to have proper darshan of Lord Venkateswara. They are distributing ten-question survey to the pilgrims to measure and gauge their concerns on the streets of Tirupathi and at the bus stations. Based on the results of the survey they are going to submit their recommendations to the state government to make sure pilgrims concerns and hardships are presented. They will organize state level demonstrations to bring necessary changes in the facilities provided for common man.
APPEAL: Let us all pray that these efforts to save TTD are not short sighted. They have to expand their campaign to “SAVEHINDUISM” instead of “Savetirumala” only. You cannot have a house protected if it is surrounded and eaten by termites. We cannot afford to be a frog in the well thinking only TTD is Hinduism. The mission is much broader than the present campaign. If the efforts of all the aforementioned people and organizations are honest, candid, frank, sincere and genuine to save TTD, we urge all of them take their campaign to the state and Bharat. Let us all pray and seek Lord Venkateswara’s blessings to succeed in their global efforts instead of confining to a limited and narrow vision.
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