A 600 year old Shaivite math in Tamil Nadu is on the verge of losing control its Rs.15,000 crore worth properties to people with ties to the ruling establishment. The Madathipathi has accused the advisory committee appointed by the HRCE department of corruption and controlling his jurisdiction. Allegations of trying to control the Madathipathi have been levelled against Chairman of the committee, a close relative of TN Finance Minister.
In February 2021, the Kanchipuram Thondai Mandala Adheenam Sri Gnanaprakasa Desiga Paramacharya Swamigal Math’s 233rd Madathipathi was elected and annointed. He recently announced that he will step down as the advisory committee kept meddling in his work and tried to undermine his power. It is alleged that PTRK Vijay Rajan, chairman of the committee and a close relative of Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan is behind the issue.
In the firs week of April, the Madathipathi announced that he was resigning due to ‘misunderstanding’ with the advisory committee. Speaking to media about his decision, he said “Apart from growth a math should also do social service. I followed it. Properties belonging to the math are located in 89 places. I set rent amount for some properties to generate income and initiated construction work of a few buildings and a park in math properties.”
“Our math sponsored vaccination of 8,000 people and provided free food to patients in hospitals. I got rid of a person named Sandeep, a proxy of Nithyananda, through legal means. The advisory committee doesn’t like my doings. I feel that their actions are in such a manner to threaten me. So I have given them a letter to let them know of my intention to step down”. At that time members of the advisory committee said that he wants to step down because of health issues.
However, devotees and followers of the math allege that the advisory committee doesn’t like the Madathipathi acting independently and want to oust him. They lament that despite owning Rs.15,000 crore worth properties the math doesn’t earn much as income. They say that the advisory committee didn’t like the Madathipathi’s efforts take full charge to put things in order and earn income from the math’s properties.
The Kanchipuram Thondai Mandala Adheenam is a 600 year old math. In the old times Madathipathis had full control over the functioning of the math. In 1952, when the 227th Madathipathi was leading the math, an advisory committee was formed to manage the math’s properties. The manager of the committee could only counsel the Madathipathi in managing the properties.
But in 1975, the manager position of the committee was upgraded to that of the chairman. Properties were brought under the control of the chairman. Powers of the Madathiapthi were snatched away. However, it resulted in chaos and in 1978, under the 230th Madathipathi’s aegis, the powers to manage the properties were transferred back to the Madathipathi. A five member committee with a 3 year term was formed to counsel him.
Allegations on the Minister’s kin
Now the advisory committee is headed by PTRK Vijay Rajan, TN Finance Minister’s nephew. Devotees allege that he and the other members of the committee want to take over the authority of managing math properties. Reportedly they are pressurising the Madathipathi into resigning in order to achieve it.
the advisory committee allegedly made a mess of things in renting a 6000 sq.ft high valued property in Tirunelveli. Initially it was rented for Rs.8000 per month. The Madathipathi hiked it to Rs.2.6 lakh per month. But the advisory committee is said to have raised it to Rs.12 lakh which the leasee felt was unreaosnable. He decided to go to the court. But the Madathipathi thought it would only mean loss of revenue till the courts give a verdict and talked to the lesee to find a solution.
Allegedly the advisory committee didn’t like it and started pressurising him. Devotees allege that it was the political pressure that made him resign. Dinamalar Tamil daily which reported these happenings queried the advisory committee members as well. Committee chairman PTRK Vijaya Rajan has accused the Madathipathi of diverting math funds to his own trust.
He also alleged that despite the lesee agreeing to pay Rs 12 lakhs a month as rent, the Madathipathi reduced it and signed an agreement with him. Vijaya Rajan says that the Madathipathi was behind an illegal construction in a math property. He alleged that the Madathipathi was angered with the committee for and is enacting a ‘drama’ to diver the charged levelled against him.
He further said that the committee will remove the Madathipathi from his post and appoint a new one through legal means. Devotees and supporters of the math say that the Madathipathi has been running a trust since before he came to the position and that the accusations of diversion of math funds is a trick to get him to give up his authority and step down eventually.
It is a well-known fact that DMK is an anti-Hindu party. Recently a Periyarist who abused Bhagwan Shiva and kali Devi was felicitated by the Health Minister despite complaints and calls to punish him for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. Finance minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan who claims himself to be an ardent devotee of Meenakshi Amman and Sundareswara didn’t even make a peep about it. A HRCE officer with the backing of assembly speaker Appavu gave away a temple property to a Christian organisation to build church.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise to the general public when DMK partymen and their relatives are accused of usurping temple properties and maths. Recently Tamil Shaivite maths known as Adheenams were forced to publicly praise CM MK Stalin and his government as ‘spiritual’. The properties of the maths and temples established centuries ago for the spiritual and social development of Hindu society should not fall into the wrong hands. Even if judiciary is used as a last resort devotees and Hindu activists should ensure that the tradition and wealth of the Kanchipuram Thondai Mandala Adheenam are protected.