Tamil Poet and lyricist Vairamuthu hurt the sentiments of Hindus by calling Vaishanvite female saint Andal a ‘devadasi’ who lived and died in Srirangam Temple
TS Venkatesan from Chennai
Instances of ridiculing Hindu culture, tradition and defaming and denigrating the Hindu gods and goddess by the so-called pseudo secularists have been on the rise in Tamil Nadu for quite some time. It is a fashion for them to attack Hindu gods by making filthiest, derogatory remarks because no Hindus would react the way the believers of other religions do.
Viduthualai Chiruthaigal leader Thol Thirumavalavan spoke in a function organised by Muslims on December 6 that all temples, including the famous Kanchi Kamatchi Amma and Srirangam Ranganathar temples, should be razed to ground to make way for Buddha viharams. DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter and 2G scam fame, Kanimozhi, MP, has criticised Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. She also spoke at length, about how women were treated as untouchables in Hinduism. Interestingly, this pseudo secular politician visited many temples praying for acquittal in the 2G scam case. In 2012-13 Manomaniam Sundranar University had introduced a short story, in undergraduate course. It was written by a comrade E Selvaraj, titled ‘Fasting’ in which Andal, Peria Alvar, Vallaba Devan were shown in poor light. Vaishanvite magazine, Panchajanyam Editor, Krishnamachari, Sri rangam and another religious monthly Geethacharyan had made strong protests. Bowing to them, it was withdrawn from syllabus.
Latest one to join this bandwagon of Anti Hindu brigade is a seven-time winner of national film awards, leading Tamil film lyricist and novelist Vairamuthu, a close confidantial of DMK chief Karunanidhi. He has courted a controversy with remarks on Vaishanvite female saint Andal. While speaking in a literary event in Rajapalayam on January 8, Vairamuthu referred to a book—‘Indian Movement—some aspects of dissent, protest and reform’—by Subhash Chandra Malik, and brought out by the Indiana University, US. He cited a line from the book that said Andal was herself a “devadasi” who lived and died in Srirangam Temple. “The devotees may not agree. But, people against male chauvinism and rationalists will surely think about it,” Vairamuthu said. This was reproduced by him as an article too, and appeared in a Tamil daily from the New Indian Express group, which organised the Rajapalayam function.
According to Vaishnavism, Andal, the presiding deity of the Srivalliputhur, is one of the most extraordinary
personalities in the religious history. She is known in her native tongue of Tamil as an Alvar, one who is “immersed” in the depths of enjoyment of God. Tradition reckons 12 Alvars, of which Andal is the only female. Between the fifth and ninth centuries, in the Tamil- speaking region of South India, these saints revitalised the Indian religious milieu, sparking a renewal of devotional worship.
One of the medieval Vaishnavite female poets
belonging to Bhakthi literature Andal (in Tamil one who ruled), wrote hymns in Tamil that are considered the equivalent of the Sanskrit Vedas. Her Thiruppavai (30 Pasurams—paragraphs of poetry set to music—
attributed to the young Andal) and the much longer Nachiyar Thirumozhi (14 verse hymns said to have been composed in her teens) are important. During the 30 days Margazhi (December-January) prior to Sankaranthi festival, people particularly young nubile undertake a lot of vows and intense prayers and regularly recite Andals Thiruppavai in the early morning with devotion. This is being done to get a God like spouse and seek blessings of divine for an earlier marriage. People also recite it as a group bhajan form.
Shendalangara Sampathkumara Ramanuja Jeeyar, a Vaishnavite scholar and seer, who is the first one to
condemn, told reporters in Mannargudi, “The emblem of the State of Tamil Nadu is the tower of the Sri villiputhur Andal Temple. This itself speaks lot about the respect and adoration with which Andal is held in Tamil society. She is only woman saint among the 12. Andal was accorded the status of a Goddess. She is the only Alwar saint who could be seen in the sanctum sanctorum of temples. Vairamuthu has hurt not only the Vaishnavites but the entire women in the world.” Harikatha exponent Velukudi Krishnan, among other Vaishnvites, condemned Vairamuthu’s remarks and sought an unconditional open apology from him. He, in a tweet, urged the Tamil daily to publish a rebuttal article.
Hindu Munnani leader octogenarian Rama Gopalan, in a hard hitting statement, has condemned lyricist Vairamuthu’s recent reference to Hindu deity ‘Andal’ being a ‘deva dasi’ and wanted him to tender an apology for the remark. “It was neither a Dravidar Kazhagam meeting nor was it a platform of rationalists. What made Vairamuthu, who speaks Tamil for his livelihood, cast such aspersions on Andal?” Rama Gopalan said.
Tamil Nadu BJP leader H Raja said Vairamuthu’s remarks were “mischievous,” and said that the
newspaper which published them had lost its “quality” and “respect” in a second. “It is a habit of people like Vairamuthu to conduct planned attacks on the feelings of Hindus. It is unfortunate that Dinamani has provided a platform for this”.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP, L Ganeshan said, “It is
condemnable for anyone to talk about or write about Andal and taint her divinity, as she is worshipped by lakhs and lakhs of devotees; that too in a holy month like Margazhi, that too in temple premises.”
AIADMK spokesperson Vaigaiselvan, the only Dravidian leader to condemn said, Vairamuthu has expressed wrong views on Andal, who enriched the Tamil Language by her poetry, during the month of Margazhi. He urged him to withdraw the comment.
After receiving a lot of flaks from several quarters, Vairamuthu on January 9, made a volt face by tweeting that what he told about Andal was not his views but the opinion of a US research scholar. He ended it with a
conditional apology saying “I regret if anyone has
“In the name of progressive thinking, freedom of expression, writer’s right to expression, fringe Tamil
outfits, pseudo secular parties and Dravidian parties attack Hindus, Hindu culture and their gods, tradition. They have no guts to do the same on Chritsians, Muslims,” a BJP activist Sridharan pointed out. n