Karnataka Temple Priests Debunk Claims Of Viral Video

Karnataka Temple Priests Debunk Claims Of Viral Video  Kolaramma temple.
Snapshot
  • A few weeks ago, a video was shared on social media in which the priests of a temple in Karnataka were shown protesting against the State government animatedly.

    Turns out, the video was from 2015. Here, the people appearing in the video debunk rumours and false news associated with it.

The perils of a medium that can seamlessly spread rumours and prove to be a dangerous tool in the hands of those who wish to paint a sorry picture of whoever they wish to malign are one too many.

And Dharma bears the largest collateral damage, more often than not by those who seem to come across as wanting to save it.

One such recent instance was that of a video of a temple in Karnataka where, as per most tweeters who chose to hail it as the victory of 'Dharma', 'priests had begun to take off the Hundis installed by the government in temples'.

The video went viral around a month ago, especially on WhatsApp and Twitter.

"If the money given by devotees isn't going to be used for Hindus, why would you want a Hundi? We shall not let this happen," says the priest in the video.

But strangely, without caring to know details, the video was made viral demanding that this action lead to 'freeing our temples", with many users trending it as the beginning of #Ramrajya.

Swarajya spoke to the priests at this temple who not just have the real tale to tell, but also emphasise that 'whatever the intention of those who have painted a picture of the temple this way, we have left it to 'Amma'(the deity). She will deal with it.".

For, it has pained them to know that what was essentially a demand for justice back in 2015 is now being called an 'act of rebellion' against the present government.

The key person in the video was Chandrashekhar Deekshit.

His son, Shivappa Deekshit, who also is an archaka at the temple, explained that the current administration has assured them that the necessary action has been taken to avoid the video from being misused.

"Earlier a tastik amount of Rs 45 was paid for the whole year. Rs 15 was for the two deities here and Rs 15 for conducting special poojas on festival days. But this too had stopped and we had hence sought that this be paid," explains Shivappa Deekshit, placing the video in context.

"In 2015, there was a case going on between the State and the Central government regarding the administration of the temple, which was being heard. Orders had been issued in this one, in which the State was authorised to manage the temple. There was no Hundi until then as the previously installed one was taken away in 2009 after the Centre contested that this came under its jurisdiction as it was classified as an ancient monument," explains Deekshit.

"How would we know of the orders that had been issued in this regard? Given that our case was ongoing, we refused to let them keep the Hundi till our matter had been resolved," he recollects.

On a Friday noon, when the temple was brimming with people, a few officers turned up saying they would want to install a Hundi. "All of us priests got together and demanded that the government first address our concerns that we had raised and then install whatever it is that they please. We had no objections to the installation, per se. But we said we wouldn't let it happen unless we get remuneration for our services," adds Deekshit.

They then went and appealed to the then District Deputy Commissioner, who then helped them procure their salaries and the tastik.

"We have been worshipping Kolaramma for generations now, but we were also suspended then for two months for behaving in a manner that is against the law. But the DC then considered our case and appealed that the behaviour was triggered out of angst as the archakas were dependent on the temple for their survival and not with any malicious intent. We then got the keys to the temple back and since then, we have been performing all our duties religiously," he adds.

But why has this issue been raised now and the video been made viral, we ask, and he says, "there will always be those looking to create issues". Especially, if Dharma is functioning well in a certain place, there will always be those looking to break Dharma".

This seems to be the handiwork of just that kind of people, he laments.

The temple now is functioning well under the Muzrai department and managed by the Executive Officer, whose representative is present at the temple twice a week.

"We receive our salaries on time every month and have no grievances against the department now. This issue has been raised needlessly. But thankfully, the DC and the EO have informed us that this video has been taken note of and its circulation will be curbed," says Deekshit, as he signs off.

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