Thanks to DMK government’s effort to ban and revoke it after stiff opposition, the annual low key Pattana Pravasam (entering city) of Dharmapuram Adheenam at Mayiaduthurai was held on 22 with a record crowd.
Thousands of devotees thronged Mayiladuthurai to witness the Pattana pravesam of Dharmapuram Aadheenam Sunday as 80 men, all dressed in yellow shirts, carried the palanquin of 27th Guru Maha Sannidhanam Srila Shri Masilamani Desiga Gnanasambandha Paramachariya Swamigal. TN BJP chief K Annamalai too symbolically carried the palanquin for some distance. The several centuries-old ritual triggered a controversy as it is a human rights violation- men carrying men.
The large palanquin, resembling a throne decorated with flowers, with the seer seated on it, was carried through the streets of Mayiladuthurai amid tight security. Pattana Pravasam, a culmination of the 11-day Vaigasi Peruvizha of the Mutt, began on 12th May. Singers, musicians, dancers and folk artists joined the procession. Aadheenams from Madurai, Sooriyanarkovil, Thirukayilayam and Thuzhavur, and political leaders from across the State, including BJP’s K Annamalai, Karuppu Muruganantham, and H Raja, took part. Members of several outfits, including Makkal Adhigaramm, VCK, Vivisaayigal Vidhuthalai Munnani, Thamizhar Urimai Iyakkamand and Makkal Urimai Paathukaapu Maiyam, held a black-flag demonstration and were arrested by the police.
Meanwhile, in another show of strength, thousands of devotees in saffron robe, both men and women, were gathered in Chidambaram to join a protest led by Shaivite seers demanding action against a YouTuber for his alleged derogatory remarks on Lord Nataraja. YouTuber ‘Minor’ Vijay had uploaded a video mocking Thillai Nataraja, the Hindu deity, in a derogatory manner on his YouTube channel ‘U2 Brutus’. Vijay had allegedly mocked Lord Nataraja and Lord Kali’s cosmic dance, after which several complaints were filed against him.
As no action was taken, Sivanadiyar, a group of Shaivite monks, held a protest on 23rd May. Various Hindu outfits, including Indu Makkal Katchi and others, participated in the march led by Siva Damodharan Swamigal, president of the SivanAdiyar ( followers of Lord Shiva) Coordination Committee, which sought the immediate arrest of minor Vijay. They said several complaints had been lodged against him, but no action had been initiated against the persons behind the youtube channel. Damodharan said,” the agitation would be intensified in the coming days if the police failed to arrest them.
DMK government, through Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (H.R. and C.E.), has been trying to take over the Chidambaram Natarajar temple by interfering with its rituals. The Nataraja temple is one of the five Panchabhutha sthalas representing ‘akasha’. The State government has issued a G.O. permitting devotees to offer worship from the Kanakasabhai mandapam at the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram. The practice had been suspended following COVID-19 protocols. The Dhikshitars have petitioned the President of India seeking his intervention as the T.N. Go would affect their livelihood, citing the S.C. verdict. “Government is interfering in their religious rights and rituals”, they claimed.
The apex court in 2014 set aside a 2009 order of the Madras High Court ruling that the famous 1,000-year-old Nataraja temple in Chidambaram would be managed by the priests and not the state government. Podu Dikshitars contended that they are a religious denomination as per Article 26 of the Constitution, “which guarantees the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes.”
In February this year, the priests, locally known as dhikshitars, surrounded one Jayasheela ( a Dalit convert) and stopped her from getting onto the ‘Kanagasabai media, a platform which was assigned only for dhiskhitars to stand and pray as a Covid-19 measure.
The demand their right to sing hymns in Tamil and gain access to the revered sithambalam medai within the sanctum sanctorum, which the Brahmin priests have held complete control over. There have been protests by so-called Tamil Right groups, VCK, left , D.K.,TPDK and others demanding their right to sing hymns in Tamil and gain access to the revered Sithambalam Medai ( raised platform) within the sanctum sanctorum, which the Brahmin (Dhikshitars) priests have held complete control over.