In these days of lockdown The Man from Madras Musings answers the telephone more often than he did during the days of active work. And sometimes he regrets it. As he did the other day when he responded to a call from someone claiming to be someone representing someone else very high up in the echelons of the Government. The high someone, as opposed to the middle someone who called, apparently wanted to get in touch with MMM and this was his/her way of sending out a feeler to ascertain if MMM was in the mood or frame of mind to be in touch with those in Government.
Now before you run away with ideas, what with there having been a change of guard in the state, let MMM assure you that the high-up someone was not an elected representative but an official who was doing some research on temples in the city with a view to setting right land records. The middle level someone was acting as per instructions and proceeded to ask MMM if he was aware of an obscure temple in the Town area. MMM had never heard of the place and said so. Whereupon the caller was plainly disappointed.
“Cha!” said the voice. “We have drawn a blank wherever we have asked. Where can we get details of land ownership?”
MMM then suggested gently that government records may be the best resource. The voice was quite unimpressed.
“Oh that is impossible. How do you expect us to go searching in various departments when we need the information in a hurry? We work with tight deadlines you know. I asked the temple priests and they had no clue. One of them suggested your name which is why I called and now you say you don’t even know of the temple.”
Privately MMM wondered as to whether ignorance of the existence of a shrine was tantamount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder or some such heinous crime but he held his tongue. He was also flattered that priests in temples knew of him.
The voice in the meanwhile continued ranting –
“I also wanted to express my displeasure at the way temples in Chennai are so poorly documented. Just compare them to shrines in Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and Kanchipuram. Really this is a sorry state of affairs which historians like you need to look into.”
MMM promised to set right this grievous omission at the earliest. The voice rang off but it clearly intends to call again and lay at MMM’s door many other glaring lacunae in the information it wants. Watch this space.
‘tantamount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ is my new favorite way of describing anything news-related
Nice Sriram. Very happy that you have become an encyclopedia for information and rightfully so. Congrats. But what is irking is the way information is sought with typical _________arrogance. Hope this approach improves in due course of time. Best Wishes.
Everyone in India, from college students to Phd scholars to Govt Babus, wants instant gratification by asking the Kamadhenu or Kalpavrisksha for the information or better still the thesis itself and hey presto, research is complete and Doctrate is awarded. It is Fratricide and real murder if Govt. takes over temples in TN and then goes searching for records of it. The temple will be better off in the hands of an incompetent Trustee or volunteer, who has some commitment to the Religion, its followers and the Institution.
With no illwill to other religions, when someone commented that Gurudwaras were doing a great job of feeding the poor, one could not help feel sad with the knowledge that if only temples were allowed to own and manage its vast assets and riches properly, all of India can be fed all through the year. Maybe, Hindu Gods do not want Indians to be lazy and feeding off the temple riches and that is why it is that way. However, should greedy partyman, corrupt govt babu and crony capitalists brazenly fret away the vast riches of temples and for so long when Hindus sleep thinking themselves to be very secular and only to get up and read a newspaper in the morning which is only by name espousing that way of life ? Not even Gods can help the mess in administration and management of temples ?
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