Facing a spirited opposition and fearing a backlash from a section of the Hindu community in the state, the ruling DMK government on Sunday (May 8) issued an order revoking the ban on Pattina Pravesam. In this ceremonial practice, devotees, out of reverence, carry the Adheena Karthar (roughly the pontiff) of the Dharmapuram Adheenam seated in a palanquin.
Earlier this month, the Mayiladuthurai Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Balaji banned the ceremony, citing "human rights violation" in the practice. The event is scheduled to be held on May 22.
In his earlier order, the RDO refused permission to the ritual of reverence acting on demands by Dravidian-Periyarist outfits. Some of these outfits, whose ideologues have close links to the ruling DMK, claimed that the mutt's centuries-old practice is 'regressive' and 'violative of human rights.
The government's order to revoke the ban came hours after Dharmapuram Aadheenam seer 27th Guru Maha Sannidhanam Srila Shri Masilamani Design Gnanasambandha Paramachariya Swamigal met Chief Minister M.K Stalin and sought his intervention to withdraw the ban on Pattina Pravesham. A delegation of seers from prominent Adheenam mutts had met MK Stalin a day earlier and requested him to revoke the ban.
Dharmapuram Aadheenam seer also praised the efforts taken by Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) P.K. Sekar Babu to resolve the stand-off. The seer also said that he was able to persuade CM Stalin to acknowledge the significance of the tradition that has been in vogue for over 500 years,
Ban Decision Faced Widespread Opposition
Several political parties, including AIADMK and BJP, opposed the decision to ban the traditional practice. The palanquin bearers also commented that they did not have objections to carrying the seer as they held the seer in reverence as their spiritual guru. They pointed out that they have been regarded as 'Sripatham Thangigal' for several generations. The Adheenam representatives stated that 'veedigal' (streets) on which devotees stage the Pattina Pravesam belongs to the mutt and is not essentially a public square.
The state BJP came out strongly in support of Dharmapuram Adheenam.
Tamil Nadu BJP president K.Annamalai pointed out that Dharmapuram Aadheenam had existed even before the ideology of the DMK was seeded in Tamil land, and Pattina Pravesam had been held even during the tenure of late Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi without facing any trouble.
In a series of tweets, Annamalai stated that he himself would come and carry the palanquin on his own shoulders. Many Saivaites in Tamil Nadu have expressed their gratitude for the principled stand taken by Annamalai.
Madurai Aadheenam seers Shri La Shri Harihara Shri Ghanasammantha Desika Paramacharya Swamigal has also urged CM M.K Stalin to lift the ban and ensure the centuries-old tradition is carried out. If not, he said, he himself would shoulder the palanquins of the Dharmapuri and conduct the event amid any hardship.
Seers from other Adheenem mutts like Thiruvavaduthurai, Sengol and Thondamandalam also asked the government to revoke the ban and not interfere with age-old practices.
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