I regret to state that Tirupati is soon going to go into the hands of Christians and Muslims. I don’t intend to scare anyone. But that is the reality. Most of us usually book hotel, bus, flight and even darshan tickets from Bengaluru itself over the internet and finish our visit. But do we know that there are a lot of Christians and Muslims working in the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) Trust? Do we know the pitfalls of this development? And please do not scream saying you are a communal, we Hindus are secular and therefore what is the problem if people from other religion work there.
The result of constantly shouting that we are secular and anti-communal is that the Muslims working in TTD are demanding, since 5 years, that the TTD office must be closed on Fridays so that they can go for namaz. This demand is being heard with increasing intensity of late.
Why? Why has the voice gone up now? There is an answer. Since the last two months, the local MLA Putta Sudhakar Yadav has been elected as the new TTD President. Hearing his name, you may feel that he is from the Yadav clan. If you think so, it will only be our own illusion, and nothing else! There are accusations that Sudhakar and others are Christian. As proof of this, it has become known that he has participated as the chief guest in several Christian programmes and has also spoken elaborately about Christianity and Jesus. In other words, he is spreading the ‘word of Jesus’!
Tell me – do we still need to tolerate such things? If you want to prove Hindus are secularists and therefore Christians must be allowed into temples, why don’t you call them Christian Hindus? If you will allow Muslims to work in temples – just call them Islamic Hindus. Instead of this, why should we heap upon ourselves the burden of taking them and then giving them leave for namaz, etc.? All said and done, is Tirupati in Bharat or is it in Pakistan or Vatican?
After having allowed Christians into the temple for so long, do you know what is being heard now? The Christians there are saying “Tirupati Thimmappa is not only the God of Hindus, but since people of all religions visit here, he is God of everybody”. Though this sound innocent, it is not. Do you know what is the next planned step in the attack by missionaries? To add Jesus’ name to a few mantras and then go around claiming that Venkateshwara Swamy is actually Jesus’s avatar!
Not just the President, there is also a Christian amongst the members. An Andhra MLA, Vangalapudi Anita, has been given the position of a member in the trust. In an interview to a TV channel in 2014, this lady had declared “I am a Christian. Without a Bible in my vanity bag and car, I never step out of my home”. But now she claims to be a devotee of Venkateshwara and a Hindu! Is it a miracle by Jesus that a person who would not move without 2 Bibles at hand becomes a Hindu and TTD member in 2018? Or is it the valour of the silent Hindus?
Not just them – there are around 44 Christians and Muslims working at TTD as staff. TTD has a rule which says “Only Hindus must be given employment. Those who have converted or those who are not Hindus must not be employed”. But this rule has been overruled and these people have been employed. This means TTD is being slowly Islamized. The most benevolent Jesus is taking over. In 2012 and 2018, devotees red-handedly caught hold of Nagaraju, Yashodamma, Krishnamma and Ishvarayya – who were TTD employees – trying to convert devotees into Christianity, and were sent to jail. Imagine how shameless we have become when TTD members are themselves saying “Yes conversions are happening”
The inclusion of non-Hindus, in spite of a rule barring the same, started during the rule of Y S Rajashekara Reddy as CM. Just because he had the surname of Reddy doesn’t mean he was a devotee of Thimmappa. Reddy was a pakka Christian.
There is yet another matter that may shock the devotees. Out of the 7 hills, only two are under the control of TTD. One of them is the hill where Thimmappa actually resides. The other 5 hills are under the control of the Government. But there are documents dating back to the British era to show that these 5 hills also belong to TTD. During the reign of the late Y S Rajashekara Reddy, there were lots of efforts to build big churches on all of these hills, equal in size to the Thimmappa temple. Then there is the continuing all-out effort to attract devotees towards Jesus and Christianity. One should not be surprised if Churches mushroom all over the place in the next 5 years. When Hindus themselves have become weak and have lost interest in Hindu religious places, can we expect the missionaries to actually let go of such an opportunity?
Y S Rajashekara Reddy first appointed B Karunakara Reddy to the TTD. Although his surname is Reddy, he is actually a Christian. After his appointment, one by one many Christians and Muslims became staff.
According to the Agama shastras, at the time of Brahmotsava, only Hindus must give the necessary clothes – ‘vastra’ – to Lord Venkateshwara. This practice has been in vogue since the days of erstwhile Maharajas. But over here, a Christian Rajashekar Reddy has handed over the clothes. And the archakas have adorned Thimmappa with the same just because Rajashekar Reddy was a CM.
These Hindus will shout ‘vellandi vellandi’ and push us out without caring for the elderly or children whenever we ordinary people visit, are making Christians as their President and putting clothes given by them to Thimmappa. Isn’t this a lack of spine? Or perhaps this is exactly what secularism is about?
Look at the height of arrogance of the TTD staff – whenever their Father gives them a call or if there is any other Christian event, they go there using the car given by TTD. If a car meant for dharmic purposes is made to stand in front of a church in the name of secularism, then I have strong objection to such secularism.
Alipiri is the starting point for climbing Tirumala hills. Devotees buy tickets and other material from here itself. The tragedy – there was an attempt to convert this place into a tourist spot and start a ‘heli joy ride’. This would have meant that the devotees would have been taken for a ride over the 7 hills. However, going over the Gopura of any Hindu temple is prohibited. After the ‘Kalasha’ is established, no one can cross over the same. It is believed to be equivalent to walking over the head of the deity. The Christian officials in TTD were on the verge of bringing such a Helicopter scheme only to make money. When the locals protested saying that Tirumala was a dharmic place and not a tourist one, the plan was finally dropped.
Whose worry is it anyway? If a Christian is brought in and made to sit in a temple trust, he will of course start a ‘heli joy ride’. What’s more, he will also distribute wine on Sundays. After all, he has become the President only to convert Thimmappa into Jesus, isn’t it?
One scheme started by Rajashekara Reddy is proof enough to understand how hardcore a Christian he was. He started a scheme to give 2 acres of land to those Christians who were divorced. The result was that couples started showing, on paper, that they were divorced and gobbled up 2 acres of land each. As long as Reddy was around, Andhra had become a basecamp for Christian missionaries. Meetings used to take place in Churches where strategies were discussed for making him CM again. A similar effort is being made now to bring Jaganmohan Reddy to power.
Let’s ignore this and come back to the main issue. If non-Hindus have to enter Thimmappa’s temple, they have to sign a register declaring “I belong to a different religion but I believe in Venkateshwara Swamy”. But when a show cause notice was given asking why the TTD officials, who are walking into the temple, without signing the registry and also wearing hats and crosses, should not be removed from their jobs, these employees have gone to court.
Even though there is talk of them being shunted to other departments, they are still in TTD itself. In addition, they are demanding time off on Fridays for performing namaz. Christians are going around claiming that Thimmappa belongs to all religions. A situation has developed where not just Hindus, but even Thimmappa is going to find it difficult to remove these Christians and Muslims, who have encroached upon Hindu sacred space.
My question is very simple – in secular India should only a Hindu practice secularism? Or will people belonging to other religions also follow secularism? Can you show me a single instance of a Hindu being appointed in a Wakf board or a Masjid board or a Church or missionary board?
Before Hindus become “Govindaaaa” please save our Govinda! Otherwise next time you visit Tirumala for darshan of Thimmappa, wear a skull cap like Muslims and light a candle there like Christians instead of lamp. Because we Hindus are secular and will remain the same.
The article originally appeared in Kannada newspaper Hosa Digantha and has been translated and published with author’s permission.
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Chiranjeevi Bhat is a journalist at Hosa-Diganta. Previously he has worked in Vishwavaani, Kannada Prabha, Suvarna News 24/7 and Samaya News. His writings will be mainly on security related issues, politics, distortion and appropriation. You can follow him on Twitter @mechirubhat or can read his Kannada Articles in www.chirubhat.com