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|January 30, 1998||
For whom...Pappamma believes in God, but does not find the time to perform poojas or visit temples. Her busy life
Saroja, a flower-seller, seems rather confused about the whole affair. She started off by saying, 'Tamil is our language, so the Iyers (read priests) should do the archana in the language we know and not in the language that they know." She thought for a moment, then changed her mind. "On second thoughts, nobody has the right to change tradition. These politicians should do their work and not interfere in our relationship with God."
But she strongly believes the archana should only be performed in a language the devotees want, know and understand. "There is only one God and God understands all languages including English, Hindi and Telugu. Still, I feel that the priests should chant the mantras only in Tamil. We understand Tamil, not the language the priests use. By the way, what is the name of the language?"
Vijaya, a young housemaid, visits temples regularly, and asks for archanas. "Are you telling me that they do not chant the mantras in Tamil? I never knew that. I thought it was Tamil. I never understood what they said, but I thought that was because I could not hear them clearly. The priests are inside the inner sanctum while we stand outside. So, it doesn't matter to me whether they do it in Tamil or some other language.
Though Dr Sivacharyar claims that this is an attempt by the government to enlighten the people, the latter do not seem to think so. The priests themselves admit there are not many devotees who ask for the archana to be performed in Tamil.
Except for the 70-year-old Dr Sivacharyar, none of the other priests
were willing to talk to the press. "Naturally, the priests
are scared to talk," said someone, who spoke on condition
of anonymity. "Recently, a priest was quoted in a newspaper
saying that poojas should be done only in Sanskrit. Do
you know what happened to him? He was suspended. So it is question
of the poor priests' survival, you know!"
Photographs: Sriram Selvaraj ...Back
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