It is with great sadness that I came to know today about the passing away of Shri.A.P.Raman of Singapore in Feb 2022.
The octogenarian writer, journalist, dramatist and businessman, despite his rather advanced age, used to participate in almost all weekly Tamil events in Singapore, encouraging youngsters to excel in their forte.
He was a father figure to writers and speakers in Singapore. No literary event would be complete without him.
Having been associated with Shri.Raman from 2009 till 2019, I was indeed blessed to have been guided on many occasions on my different articles on Singapore. As recently as 2020, even after I had moved out of Singapore, Shri.Raman called to congratulate me on a detailed analytical essay that I had written for a magazine, on water management in Singapore.
I can’t forget the number of review comments that he would have posted in this site on my different articles. He was the first reader and reviewer of my first book ‘Pazhaiya Kanakku’. He had gotten a copy from the publisher directly and had called me to pass on his review comments.
I last met Shri.Raman a day before I left Singapore in the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India where I had gone to attend a discourse. He blessed me for a last time.
Inspite of his advanced age, Shri.Raman was a quick learner and easily adapted to the new age tech and wrote prolifically in Facebook.
Not many know that Shri.A.P.Raman had hosted M.G.Ramachandran in Singapore before the latter launched his political party, the AIADMK. A close friend of the late Chief Minister, Shri.Raman was on speaking terms with the former President of Singapore Shri.Nathan. Despite all these connections, Shri.Raman presented a low profile demeanour and moved with ease with all and sundry.
Singapore Literary scene has indeed lost a great supporter and connoisseur of arts.
We conducted a detailed temple cleaning activity at Baburayan Pettai Varadaraja Perumal Temple for three days between 05-Feb-2022 and 07-Feb-2022.
The temple is mostly dilapidated. Most of the praharams are under thick weed growth for the last hundred years. The fourth and fifth praharam were impenetrable. We cleared the praharams and found some ancient structures as well.
We didn’t climb atop any structure to clear the growth. They remain as they have been so far. We cleared the outer spaces ( praharams) so that the architects could begin their job of estimation and restoration planning.
Here are some pictures on the temple cleaning (உழவாரப் பணி).
An ancient watch tower or bell tower found in Praharam 5
Looks like there is an eternal curse on the Vijayanagar Empire, especially on its magnificent edifices. If not, how could you explain the new Hempi that this temple in Tamil Nadu is developing into?
Baburayan Pettai, located 100 KMs south of Chennai, houses yet another ruin of the Vijayanagar Empire. This time, it is a temple of Varadaraja Perumal, a form of Vishnu worshipped in Tamil Nadu.
Varadaraja means the one that genuinely gives away boons to those who ask for – the devotees. But, looks like, it is the Lord who needs a multitude of boons to continue living on the site of the temple.
Built by a Vijayanagara nobleman, Babu Raya, the temple is spread over 16 acres. It has two gopurams, one of which is overgrown with weeds and trees while the other appears to be either broken midway or is half-built.
While the ‘madhil suvar’ – the outer periphery wall – is seen in certain pockets, the inner walls make their presence felt, taking us back by at least five hundred years.
While the entire complex smells of ruin, the sanctum sanctorum of Varadaraja Perumal is the only structure that appears to be able to stand for a couple of more years.
The Ardhamandap, Mahamandap, Moolasthana vimanam et al are dilapidated and could collapse any time. While two mud and brick mounds stand for the Thayar and Aandal Sannidhis, the other two grand mandaps have been reduced to sand over which have grown trees and shrubs. Now Thayar and Aandal are housed near the sanctum sanctorum, in two hastily constructed sannidhis. It is a different matter that these two are dilapidated too.
As the Mahamandap also boasts of lush overgrowth, the roof has given away, thus exposing the sanctum sanctorum to the elements. During rains, it is a natural thirumanjanam ( holy bath) to the Thayar.
Astonishingly, the sixteen acre complex boasts of two pushkarnis. Needless to say, while one is completely dilapidated, the other one is embedded inside an inaccessible Praharam that has a strong growth of decades old trees.
The size of the trees on the gopurams, the depths to which the roots have penetrated the structure, the extent of the damage to the temples, the precariously hanging granite roof, et al show that the Hindu Religious and Endowments Board of the Tamil Nadu Government that boasts administrative control of the temple, has not done anything tangible to maintain the structure, leave alone restore it.
The last known samprokshanam, with physical repairs to the temple, has happened in 1906, as per the part time priest. Later on there happened mantra based ‘laghu-samprokshanam’ to consecrate the deity alone with no repair done to the structure. No annual festival (uthsavam) is conducted now. A village elder seems to have witnessed an uthsavam when the uthsavar murti was taken in procession outside the temple.
It is a clear case of dereliction of duty by the Executive Officers and their bosses. And the authorities deserve exemplary punishment so that no other officer in future would dare to even think of abandoning such historic monuments. The punishment should be meted to past officers too, who had been incharge of the temple.
The officers, their political bosses et al should be called out by the courts, as and when a case is filed, and reprimanded for their lackadaisical attitude towards work that has resulted in such a colossal loss of heritage to the current and future generations.
Babu Raya had apparently set up three agraharams – smartha, sri vaishnava and madhva – on the three sides of the temple for its upkeep and had also bestowed hundreds of acres of agricultural land in favour of the deity. Now there is no sign of any of the above.
Amidst all these ruins and nonchalance by the governments, stand Vijaya Varadaraja and Vijayavalli Thayar, looking at us smilingly with a five hundred year old patience, waiting for their abode to be rebuilt. The Lord and His consort, along with the twelve Alwars, Ramanuja and Desikan, partake of a paltry meal once a day, sponsored by the Kanchi Mutt. That is, when the bhattacharyar visits them from a nearby village for an hour a day.
A Venugopala idol had recently been stolen and is yet to be traced. Murtis from yet another dilapidated Shiva temple lie strewn in the Varadaraja temple premises uncared for and unattended. Reason: The custodian of the temple, the government, continues with its legendary lethargy and characteristic disinterest so much so that it had chosen to ignore a 2020 Madras High Court order to renovate the temple within a period of twelve weeks. Twelve months have passed and the govt has not replaced even a brick.
Probably the only act of solace for devotees is that the HR&CE has chosen to deposit the uthsavar murtis of the Lord and His consort with the safe vault at the Agastheeswarar Temple in a nearby village.
As Varadan and Vijayavalli continue to languish at the very neighbourhood of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, forgotten by the very people whom they protect, the state appears to feign ignorance about the very existence of this piece of history.
Pranam to the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam for helping the temple have one pooja per day.
Action Items for Govt:
HR&CE and Tamil Nadu police to get their acts together to bring back the stolen Venugopalan murti.
HR&CE to clear off bush and other weeds that further destroy the structures.
HR&CE to initiate emergency repairs to the temple so that the main sanctum doesn’t wither away.
HR&CE to prepare a master plan for the overall reconstruction of the temple in accordance with its earlier architectural pattern to restore the temple to its past glory.
Once reconstructed, this temple could be added to the Mamallapuram Tour Circuit so that tourists could have a chance to visit this Vijayanagara – Nayak architecture before proceeding to Mamallapuram via Chingalpet.
Action against officials, present and past, that had not done their job of maintaining the temple. Consider booking them under ’The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904’. If possible, under Goondas Act for wanton defacement of history.
HR&CE to initiate fresh efforts to recover lands that belong to the temple.
Action Items for Archaeological Survey of India
Visit this temple, document the heritage there and help restore the temple to its original glory.
Frame suitable guidelines for HR&CE to maintain the temple without destroying heritage.
Action Items for the Hon’ble High Court of Madras
Tamil Nadu govt has not acted on your order WP No 9692 of 2020. Could you suo moto initiate contempt proceedings against the HR&CE, Collectors of Kancheepuram and Vellore ? Or at least ask for status of implementation of your order?
Action Items for Mutts:
This is a Vadakalai Vaikanasa Aagama temple. Swami Desikan is seen beside Srimad Ramanuja. The Vaishnavite Mutts should take ownership of at least some sections / rituals of the temple and ensure their maintenance.
When Babu Rayan broke ground to build the temple, an ancient Hanuman Murti was unearthed. Taking that as a good omen, Raya built the temple at the site. Hence Madhwa mutts could take interest in this temple as well. The older Hanuman murti is still present in the temple.
Action Items for Devotees:
Visit the temple at least once a month. If not, at least during the holy festival days like Deepavali, Sankaranti, Vaikunta Ekadasi etc.
When at least 50 devotees visit the temple per day, HR&CE would notice the flow and begin to improve the situation.
Instead of visiting temples in exotic locales, at great cost, visit Baburayan Pettai almost free of cost. Results are the same.
Get committed for at least one time pooja per day. Bear the expenses.
Initiate Temple Cleaning activities.
When you donate to a new temple, stop. Allocate some money for this 500 year old one that genuinely needs repair.
Action Item for Media:
Visit this temple, document and expose the decay and rot.
Once in a while, report fact.
What did I do after my visit to the temple ?
Initiated talks with a temple cleaning group based out of Chennai. Would be undertaking உழவாரப் பணி – Temple Cleaning – in a couple of weeks.
Reached out to HR & CE officials for a copy of the FIR for Venugopalan murti.
Reached out to several retired officials of ASI for guidance on how to proceed further.
Trying to locate a local person from Baburayan Pettai to initiate a petition to the government for renovation.
Reaching out to media outlets to publicise the plight of this temple. So far, limited response.
Dear Readers – Please let know any other means to get this temple in order.
Dear Lawyers – If there are other draconian sections under which such dereliction of duty to national treasures can be dealt with, please state. If you want to pursue this case in court, let me know and I will share what ever data I have on this temple.
Baburayan Pettai Temple as of 05-Nov-2021
More of Baburayan Pettai as of 05-Nov-2021
Some more of Baburayan Pettai Temple as of 05-Nov-2021
This is new apartheid – the one that the post-2014 hindutvaites and current liberalism vendors practise in equal measure.
Veer Savarkar was a tyagi beyond all means. The kind of torture he had endured in Andaman cannot be visualised now-a-days. He was a hero and will continue to be one of our greatest heroes.
Mahatma Gandhi is yet another hero that has no parallel, yet. Same goes for Sardar Patel and equally for Netaji. And Pt. Nehru doesn’t fall behind. All are our national heroes, satyagrahis are role models in their own ways.I fail to understand why, as a citizen, I cannot admire all the above leaders. How to glorify Gandhi and deride Savarkar? How to eulogise Rajaji, yet talk ill of Nehru?
Who decides that a citizen who praises Pt. Deen Dayal Upadyaya should only cast aspersions on, say, VOC?
Why should we look at the world in binary? I might have a different opinion on the Mahatma’s views on Jews. Yes, he was wrong on his advice to Jews that they should surrender themselves to Hitler. But how can I forget his strong adherence to the dharmic way of life? How can I not take cognisance of his lasting love for Ram? How can I forget that, but for Gandhi who made the freedom struggle a mass movement, people’s participation, more so women’s participation, would not have happened?
If there was one person who had a magnificent, yet, saintly appeal to the largely illiterate masses during the pre-independence era, it was Mahatma Gandhi. He symbolised the austere practices of Jainism and the devotion of Vaishnavism. Not only did he transmute these philosophies of yore into the national stream, but also ensured that such thoughts and practices were used as tools to fight the British.
A casual reading of Bharathi’s works shows the intensity of his love for Bharat. VOC’s sacrifices cannot be replicated yet again. Jai Hind Chempakaraman Pillai is a legend. Vanchi is a hero. Period.
For me, all those who fought for freedom are national heroes and merit my admiration and respect. There could be a variation in their contribution, but each one contributed and sacrificed their lifetime in jails and endured other discomforts.
Any talk of disrespect to any tyagi of yore, including Tirupur Kumaran, Vanchi nathan, VOC, Bharathi, VVS Iyer., Arvind Ghosh, is only a reflection of skewed education and malicious propaganda. Not to mention mortgage of intellectual capacity to intellectual mediocrity.
Love of Tamil doesn’t mean any national leader can be insulted.
He is the typical Sangh Hindutva warrior, the kind that doesn’t speak but acts.
The type that didn’t become a sangh enthusiast post 2014, but has been toiling hard for the cause since the time he became knowledgeable in these matters.
This one, typical of a sanghi, doesn’t boast in online media nor seeks favours from his connections. He has been speaking sangh ideology in the land where sangh is detested by the ruling class.
He speaks hindutva to those that consider the word ‘Hindu’ anti-Tamil and hence anti-Dravidian. He is the one and only Subbu, popularly known as ‘Dravida Maayai’ Subbu, whose real name is V.R. Balasubramaniyan.
Formerly a sub editor with The Indian Express, Subbu shot into fame after his eye-opening narrative in the three series book ‘Dravida Maayai’, in the land where the late Annadurai’s ‘Arya Mayai’ was considered as a godless gospel.
Subbu has been in the background for warding off many intellectual onslaughts on Sanatana Dharma.
Following are some of the books that he has written:
1. Dravida Maayai – Our Paarvai. This series consists of three books that analysed the Tamil Political scene from 1917 to 1981, from a hindu point of view.
2. Arunagirinathar – A brief history of the Saint Arunagirinathar
3. Thamizar Puthakangal – A collection of articles from 108 eminent Tamil writers that showcased 1000 Tamil books.
4. Thankapa Thakkam – A collection of articles in various Tamil magazines.
In addition to being a writer and a collector of books, he is the following too:
1. Member, Managing Committee, Sri Rathnagiriswarar Temple, Besant Nagar, Chennai
2. Editorial Advisor, ‘Kaavalar Voice’, a Tamil magazine
3. Advisor, National Journalists Welfare Association
4. Member, Consultative Committee of the National Book Trust, Govt of India
5. Advisor, ‘Potramarai’, a cultural forum.
Does the above sum up what Subbu has done? No. I have written what I know. There are several background activities that Subbu has been involved in for the cause of hindutva in particular and dispelling the darkness of dravidian politics in general. Despite my several attempts to get him spill out the different campaigns for the cause of India, he remains stoic in his silence, out of modesty. A rarity in these outrageously advertisement oriented times.
So, why have I written about him? He needs help from all nationalist Indians for a noble cause.
A connoisseur of books, many of them rare, Subbu needs just this one help from us, fellow Indians – cupboard space to store the hundreds of rare books on hindutva, till his lifetime. Having not been a pursuer of wealth, Subbu has spent most of his life in the pursuit of knowledge and collection of books.
Seventy year old Subbu is building a research center named as aadharam knowledgecenter for which he needs space as well as the means to store. Essentially he needs help in renting out space and that costs Rs 25,000 per month. As he lacks a regular income I would recommend you to contribute to the cause of hosting the rare collection of books by donating as below. It could be one-time payment or regular commitment. If you would want to directly procure and gift steel book shelves that have glass doors, you could write to him directly.
These books contain a treasure trove of information that would help nationalistic journalists and authors in general and students in particular for their M.Phil and Ph.D. theses.
Shrikant Tiwari, a TASC (NIA) agent, hunts down LTTE terrorists to save the Indian Prime Minister. Amidst flying bullets, we see epithets and F-words and cuss words raining cats and dogs. When characters aren’t using cuss words, they shoot or travel by a Mahindra Scorpio. That is Family Man 2 for the lay man.
Manoj Bajpayee, true to his skills, plays Shrikant Tiwari exceptionally well. While the Prime Minister Ms.Basu is modelled on the lines of Mamta Banerjee, she talks about PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ schemes. Basu’s meeting with Sri Lankan President Rupatunga resembles the Modi-Xi meet at Mahabalipuram, for the event is quite recent. Modi’s many overtures to Tamil Nadu finds a mention in Basu’s saying so – ‘maine ithna kiya in logon ko’. Basu doesn’t spot the bindi, a prominent symbol of bengali hindu women. Here again, Mamta Banerjee sneaks in.
The series is a thriller yet has its scenes of cryptic humour. The scenes were Talpade, Shrikant’s assistant, drools over Umaiyal, the police officer from Tamil Nadu, are a treat to watch. Shrikant’s personal life, full of troubles, is an un-welcome distraction though.
The series talks about ISI-LTTE links. Though the LTTE had tried to get help from Palestinian rebels, it has not been fully established that the now defunct LTTE had anything to do with Pakistan’s ISI. Reality was that Pakistan had hobnobbed with Sri Lankan govt to needle India.
The characterisation of the female terrorist, Raji, merits attention. Played brilliantly by Samantha Akkineni, Raji, though the tough fighter that she is, has a soft corner for the Pakistani agent Sajid. This is depicted not so explicitly but becomes visible when, on hearing about his death, Raji stops her dinner midway and moves from the scene abruptly.
The characters of Bhaskaran and Deepan are modelled definitely after LTTE Chief Prabhakaran and LTTE’s chief ideologue Anton Balasingham. However the events that take place are not true. It is true that Balasingham’s words did not carry weight with Prabhakaran in the post 9/11 world and that ultimately led to the obliteration of the LTTE.
Muthu, the TASC office from Tamil Nadu is played brilliantly by Ravindra Vijay. When Talpade talks about ‘South Indian Food’, Muthu asks, which state in South India as there are five states that comprise of South India.
The attention to detail in the series merits attention. When Raji goes into Jebaraj’s home, the poster in the background displays the ‘Eelam’ geography and talks about remembrance. The clock shows 8:15 when Tiwari’s family has its dinner and later, when Tiwari and his wife have a chat, clock shows 8:45. Many such items show the efforts the crew has put in for the production.
A treat to watch – Family Man 2.
P.S.: The executive producer’s name is Rahul Gandhi. And the irony shows.
Center has said that no right, including fundamental right, is absolute in the WhatsApp suit.
I know that Congress would jump like a cat whose tail has been cut.
Lest they do so, let me remind that this amendment to the constitution, to restrict the scope of fundamental rights, was first introduced in Parliament by none other than Pt.Nehru on 10 May 1951 and it was made into a law on 18 June 1951.
Nehru amended Article 19(1)a of the constitution to limit “abuse of freedom of speech and expression” as a result of “Romesh Thappar vs The State Of Madras” case of 26 May 1950.Nehru said freedom of expression is subject to ‘reasonable restriction’ and passed the amendment. And he did the right thing.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the then Jan Sangh leader said, “Maybe you will continue for eternity, in the next generation, for generations unborn; that is quite possible. But supposing some other party comes into authority? What is the precedent you are laying down?”
Mukherjee was prophetic. What he said in 1950 has turned true now. What Nehru initiated, Modi follows. So, nothing unconstitutional about it. If this move is unconstitutional, then let us begin with first amendment.
Additional protection to Modi govt’s action is that while Panditji amended the constitution to expressly restrict freedom of expression of the media, Modi is doing this, on the orders of a lower Court, only on intermediaries and not on the media.
If you know some Congress spokesperson worth the name, let him know this.
PSBB incident has to be taken seriously. Erring teacher, management should be dealt with as per provisions of law. Corollary is to extend the same to St.George School’s activities and the list of other schools where Pandora’s box has been opened.
A year ago, singer Chinmayi Sripada pointed to an English article on the sexually predatory activities of popular Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu and asked if someone could translate that into Tamil. Kalachuvadu Publisher Kannan Sundaram had recommended the translation, writer Perumal Murugan had also supported that in Facebook posts. Later Chinmayi published a video where she pleaded that the article be published in Tamil, and action be taken on the lyricist.
I read the 2400 word article, a fairly detailed one that had interviews with several of Vairamuthu’s victims and sought permission from the author to translate. The author seemed to provide permission, posted comments sounding so in Kannan Sundaram’s post. I assumed that she would, translated the first part of article (1200 words) and sought for publications to publish that. None ventured. Only Kathir News and Valam came forward. (Puthiya Thalaimurai tried reaching me, but I wasn’t interested).
Meanwhile I had also published the translation in http://www.amaruvi.in, with due credits to the original author and the publication. The posts became viral hit in a few hours and the blog was inundated with requests for second part.
Then the magic happened. They had presumably threatened the original author who asked me to take down the article. I argued that she had provided consent in Facebook and I was waiting for an email confirmation. Then came the reply: ‘We have engaged a Tamil writer to translate. Hence desist from publishing your translation as it is copyrighted’.
I wrote back, saying I had already done the translation in 3 hours and they could publish the Tamil version of mine. They refused, saying they had already paid the other writer.
I had reached out to Chinmayi on Twitter as I had done the translation based on her moving video where she had asked for translation. She replied with a smilie. I took that as an expression of her helplessness in the left liberal male chauvinistic media world.
It has been a year now. The other Tamil writer is still translating the 2400 word article.
Meanwhile the Tamil media, we are led to believe, continues to ‘fight’ for righteousness, virtue et al under the euphemism ‘Aram’
A colleague from Singapore and I decided to buy oxygen concentrators and donate to needy Covid positive patients that needed oxygen support. We bought two, shipped it to Chennai and here is what happened:
It was a different experience when I handed over the first Oxygen concentrator received from Singapore to an unknown beneficiary whose brother-in-law just managed to survive ventilator.
The person’s eyes turned moist, voice quivered when he said, ‘You don’t know what this means to us. Thank you’.Once his brother-in-law recovers, he would hand over the concentrator and it would be ready for another needy patient.
Handed over the second oxygen concentrator received from Singapore to Bharathi Seva Sangam that works with Chennai Corporation to bring relief to Covid patients. This org has converted G.K.Shetty Vivekananda School at Ambattur as a Covid ward and provides care for patients. this concentrator would be used for patients according to doctors’ advice there. Donation: Ravi Rajaram, Sinagpore.
Perfectly understood why Bharath Matha called me back from Singapore.
P.S.: Anyone wishing to take part, contact me in the Telegram group.
Arvind Kejriwal, the anarchist Chief Minister of Delhi, wants all flights from Singapore to be cancelled for fear of ‘Singapore Variant’ virus, for which Vivian Balakrishnan , Singapore minister has responded strongly by conveying the govt’s displeasure to the High Commission of India in Singapore. Later Indian External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar has said that Kejriwal doesn’t speak for India.
Singapore has been of great support to India during this Covid crisis. While IAF flew to Singapore to bring Oxygen tankers, the Singapore Air Force, on its own, flew down to India to deliver essential medical equipment and oxygen.
The IIT-IIM Network in Singapore has sourced several millions worth medical equipment and oxygen concentrators from Singapore to India.In a personal capacity, I am trying to fly down some oxygen concentrators from Singapore using my friends’ circle.
Irresponsible and chaotic politicians like Kejriwal should be shown the doors as soon as possible for the sake of India.