Wednesday, September 28, 2011

[ZESTCaste] ‘Stop the drama of visiting Dalit houses'

MANGALORE, September 28, 2011
'Stop the drama of visiting Dalit houses'
Staff Correspondent

The swamijis of all maths should stop the "drama" of talking about
social reforms when they have not initiated a single concrete step to
bring about the change they speak about, Seer of Nidumamidi Math
Veerabhadra Channamalla Swami said on Tuesday.

To a question during an interaction organised by the Journalists'
Study Centre, he strongly criticised Sri Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji of
Pejawar Math and seers of all maths who "talk about social change but
do nothing about it". He urged the swamijis to "stop the drama" of
visiting Dalit houses or washing the feet of Dalits, which would not
bring an end to their social or economic problems.

Although he had "great respect for Pejawar swamiji's concern for
society", Nidumamidi swamiji was critical of his actions with regard
to Dalits. . "For half a century, he has spoken about social change,
but has not managed to solve even a single fundamental problem of
Dalits," the swamiji said.

In a region where ajalu paddhati was practised, Pejawar swamiji had
not said that it was "wrong". Similarly, he had remained silent about
"made snana" which was a "de-humanising" practice, the practice of
making Dalits carry night soil on their head, the problems of
davadasis and prostitutes, Nidumamidi swami said.

"Let alone taking steps to address social problems of Dalits, have any
of the swamijis even agreed that all people from Dalits to Brahmins
have been created equal and that they all have the same rights?" the
swamiji said.

There was a time when "religious institutions were pro-people but in
our times, that is not the case". Maths today unite only to further a
communal agenda or work for their caste groups, but not to work for
the social, economic, political, or national interests of all people.
Although religious heads have supported political power historically,
in a "healthy democracy" it was imperative that the "immoral nexus"
between religion and the ruling class ended and each functioned
independently of the other.
Black money

The swamiji said he had been saying for the last 20 years that "not
all, but a majority of religious institutions" received money earned
illegally and were being run by ill-gotten wealth. No religious leader
had declared that ill-gotten wealth should not be donated to their

The former Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy donated a crown that
cost over Rs. 40 crore to Tirupati temple in 2009, but even though
there were demands to return the crown after his arrest, the temple
refused saying that offerings could not be returned, the swamiji said.

To a question on how he resolved his personal conflict with the math
system, the swamiji replied that he had rejected the system completely
and taken up teaching. . He said that he entered the math to bring
about social change. To this effect he had appointed Dalits as
priests, arranged inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, visited
houses of people of all castes and faiths, and organised awareness


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