The anti-Hindu DMK government has passed an order to close temples for public darshan ahead of Hindu festivals. Major temples like Thanjavur Brihadeeswara (Big temple), Madurai Meenakshi, Tiruchendur Subramanya swamy, Ramanathapuram Ramanathaswamy and many other temples have been closed for devotees for 3 days.
Aadi Krithigai and Aadi Perukku(18th day of Ashada) of Tamil month Aadi fall respectively on August 2nd and 3rd. Both are important Hindu occasions and devotees throng the temples of Amman and Murugan(Skanda) on both occasions. Many walk on foot as a procession to major temples on Aadi Krithigai. Aadi Perukku is also an important occasion when Hindus start a new venture, buy jewellery and initiate important things as the day is considered to be auspicious (Perukku means ‘to grow in abundance’).
It also marks the occasion when rivers flow to the brim in Tamil Nadu due to bountiful monsoon rains. So Hindus celebrate the day by worshipping rivers and other sources of water. Prayers are offered at the banks of rivers with fruits and flowers. Farmers and newly weds pray to the gods that their lives should continue to prosper similar to how everything grows in abundance with the water in rivers.
But such celebrations are curbed this year as the government has banned congregations in both temples and river banks. Even though no restrictions were placed for Bakra-Eid which fell only a few days ago, temples have been closed for 3 days and festivals and celebrations have been banned citing the ‘possibility’ of a rise in Covid-19 infections and the arrival of the 3rd wave.
While public gatherings were allowed for Bakra-Eid, temple festivals like utsavams and consecration were not allowed for devotees’ participation. Not only the ban on devotee participation in festivals continues but temples have been closed for darshan as well for 3 days now. This effectively constricts Hindu occasions to one’s own house while abrahamics are allowed to have a free run.
The annual festival of Panimaya Matha church in Thoothukudi has been allowed to be held with parishioners’ participation. The festival began on July 26th and will end on August 5. No restrictions have been placed on Christians to not gather in the church for worship inspite of the imminent 3rd wave.
The 3 day ban on temples is expected to be extended into next week as Amavasya falls on August 8th. The DMK government has banned Hindus from taking bath and performing shradh in Rameshwaram Agni Teerth on Amavasya as well. Ramanathapuram district where Rameshwaram is located had only 10 new cases on August 1. It appears to be a planned attempt to curb Hindu freedom similar to how Kerala relaxed the lockdown for Bakra-Eid despite rising cases but tightened the rules as Onam is approaching.
No festival with public participation has took place in temples across Tamil Nadu since last April while both Christians and Muslims are given leeway when their festivals approach. As the DMK government has come under fire for appointing Catholic priests(TNPSC and minority commission) in government positions, this order to close temples raises the suspicion that it is an attempt to curb Hindu religious freedom.
(Featured Image Source: Webdunia)
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