Under the Dravidian Model government, sana tan, Hindu traditions are being targeted in the name of a secular framework. After days of row over Chanting Jaisri ram is communal now, the state government has issued orders to government offices not to celebrate Ayudha Pooja and keep in portraits of Gods.
Recent circular by TN Medical Dean and Karnataka government banning Ayudha pooja in govt offices sparks a ro
TN youth and sports Udhayanidhi Stalin set the ball rolling by saying Sana tana dharma should be eradicated like Dengu, Malaria and Corona 19. Then he objected to chanting Jai Sri Ram in the cricket ground by fans but he was silent for chanting Allahu Akbar ( for his is not communal) and doing Namaz ( an Islamic ritual).
Last year July DMK’s Dharmapuri MP S Senthilkumar created a stir when he lambasted a senior government official for organising a “bhumi pooja” ceremony during the inauguration of a road project in Dharmapuri district in July last year.
The TN government does not know prior to every building construction bhoomi pooja or earth breaking ceremony, pooja is being done since time immemorial.The Audhua Pooja or Saraswati Pooja would have passed off as a non-event has become a talking point in Tamil Nadu politics because of the objection. But the circular issued by the Dean of Tirupur Medical College advising concerned not to perform Ayudha pooja or display pictures of Gods.
Ayudha Puja is also known as Astra Puja which is celebrated in home, offices of India. On the ninth day of the lucky Navratri festival, Ayudha Puja is held. A festival or ceremony is held to honour the tools or that one uses to support their way of life. it is also called to Worship of weapons – persons who are directly involved with utilizing weapons, such as royal families, security and defence officials, martial art schools, and Kalaripayattu practitioners, meticulously carry out this ceremony. Main mythological figure of the Ayudha Puja is Goddess Durga, who vanquished the demon Mahishasura when he took the shape of a buffalo. Maa Durga used the tools, skills, and abilities of all the gods to vanquish the demon. Nine days were needed to complete the conflict. And Goddess Durga put an end to the conflict by murdering Mahishasura on the eve of Navami.
The day is observed as Mahanavami and the Ayudha Puja ritual is carried out. All of the weapons and implements that Goddess Durga wielded are thought to have served their intended function. It was now time to pay them respects and go back to the appropriate deities. According to Hindu mythology, followers ritually purify their tools with the deity’s blessings by participating in the Ayudha Puja. The day is observed as Saraswati Puja in parts of South India, where students give prayers and revere Goddess Saraswati for her vast wisdom.
The issue has spread to Karnataka Congress government ( which celebrates traitor Tipu Sultan who was responsible for the genocide of thousands if Hindus) has also made similar ban. According to BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s tweet “There may be hundred differences between I.N.D.I alliance parties, but they are united in their hatred and contempt for the indigenous culture of this land. DMK Govt in TN & Congress Govt in Karnataka have both issued GOs today prohibiting use of flowers, kumkuma, turmeric and other puja essentials at Govt offices during Ayudha Puja. For years, all Govt offices and employees in southern India observe Ayudha Puja with great fervour. The alliance has now set its target on this important cultural ritual”.
2 states. 2 GOs. One target – Ayudha Puja.
There may be hundred differences between I.N.D.I alliance parties, but they are united in their hatred and contempt for the indigenous culture of this land.
DMK Govt in TN & Congress Govt in Karnataka have both issued GOs today… pic.twitter.com/ZimJ3keoI3
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) October 18, 2023
TN BJP state vice president Narayanan Tirupathi made a scathing attack on the Tamil Nadu government. He said “ waht is wrong by keeping the portraits of gods and doing poojas? It has been going on since ages and it is a tradition being followed”. He has urged the Stalin government withdraw the circular immediately. There is no proof needed to say it is an anti-Hindu government. During the Ayudha or Saraswati Pooja, Hind god pictures only will find place. Pictures of other religions cannot be used. It is an attempt to appease the minority for their votes. TN government has been indulging this cheap politics with that intention and stop offending the spiritual beliefs of majority Hindus. Despite objections from Hindus, it has not stopped Christians visiting hospitals to do prayers and convert patients.
District collector Christuraj said district administration has issued any such circular and explanations will be sought from the dean of the medial college. On January 12, 2012 a division bench of Justice R Sudhakar and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan said “Showing respect to the place of work and the objects of work will in no way offend the feelings of others or affect secularism. Ayudha Pooja is referable to prayer, reverence or respect given to objects through which an individual performs his profession or occupation.
Ayudha pooja in its real terms transcends all religion”. While dismissing a PIL (petitioner, S P Muthuraman, cited a government order issued in 1993 and a circular dated April 22, 2010 to seek a ban on religious activities in government offices) which a sought a direction to the government to prohibit “ all sorts of religious activities within precincts of offices, the bench “ an individual showing respect to his occupational tools can’t be said to offend the secular nature of the state. Irrespective of religion, Ayudha Pooja is a reverence shown by cobblers, weavers, farmers, autorickshaw drivers, carpenters, shopkeepers, chartered accountants, advocates, doctors, workshops, etc., objects which they use to earn their livelihood”. Justice Sudharkar said “ Saraswathi pooja referable to showing respect to education, knowledge and the script.
The form of worship or veneration to files and records at the close of the working day proceeding the ayudha pooja or Saraswati pooja holidays can’t be called as religious activity by the government , affecting the secular nature of the state. If an individual shows respect and reverence to the materials, books, files or records which are being handled by the individual, it will be referable to his individual freedom and there is nothing to show that it affects the secular nature of the state”.
In the pages of history
In 1968, during the DMK regime under C.N. Annadurai, Chief Secretary C.A. Ramakrishnan had issued an order directing department heads to remove portraits of gods of all religions from government offices in a phased manner. In 2010, a Bench of the Madras High Court had asked the State government to take all steps to ensure that no religious functions are conducted or religious structures built within the precincts of government offices as stipulated in a Government Order issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department on December 13, 1993, during the AIADMK regime. The State government, subsequently, issued an order to officials to follow the 1993 order.
The controversy surrounding Ayudha Pooja and the display of religious pictures in government offices in Tamil Nadu raises questions about the balance between tradition and secularism in the state. It highlights a broader debate about the role of religion in government spaces and the need to respect the cultural practices of the majority while upholding principles of secularism. The legal precedent from the Madras High Court emphasizes the importance of individual freedom and respect for one’s occupational tools, transcending religious boundaries. This ongoing debate will undoubtedly continue to shape the cultural and political landscape of Tamil Nadu.