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An appeal to the Chairman of the Experts Committee

An appeal to the Chairman of the Experts Committee

Shri PVRK Prasad I.A.S (Retd),
Expert Committee on Chilkuru Balaji Mandir, Andhra Pradesh

emailed to: opinions_pvrkprasad_committee@yahoo.com

Dear Shri Prasad garu,

We celebrated the birth centenary year of my late grand father, Sriman Kalyanam Iyengar last year. I am sure you continue to remember him as "Laddu Iyengar", for you have served as the Executive Officer of the TTD in the late seventies and my grand father had an active role to play in the introduction of Laddu as Srivari Prasadam, a few decades earlier, in addition to managing the affairs of the entire manufacture and marketing of the Srivari Prasadams at Tirumala Mandir on behalf of the Gamekars and Archaka Mirasdars, before the Mirasi system was abolished in the early 80's. My late grand father had worked together with a range of EOs and Chairmen of the TTD Board, on various issues concerning the Mandir and have benefitted mutually by such working experience, trust and mutual admiration.

I write this as a simple Bhakta of Bhagawan Balaji, be it Tirumala or Chilkur. And am deeply saddened by the attitude of the Endowment Departments of various governments which consider Mandirs as a profit centres in terms of Operating Profits and not as institutions of collective Hindu faith and value systems followed by simple Hindu Bhaktas who throng in thousands with hope that "Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha".

I run the risk of being labelled impish, venturing to caution such an experienced man as you, in the pitfalls that you have witnessed being an administrator of the most revered Mandir, on behalf of the Government and with the consistent ministerial nagging. If your experiences in Tirumala had made you wiser, I would urge you to think twice before recommending the take over of the Chilkur Balaji Mandir, which is being taken care most wonderfully by the Hindu Samaj itself.

Here is one standing example of how a Mandir can blossom without governmental interference and how people of all walks of life approach it for the gratification of the inner-most self. That there is no Hundi and seperate queue for the VVIPs itself is a reason of joy. That the Hindu Samaj takes care of the daily Puja needs, festivals and the like is a testimony to the Samaj's capability to run its own Mandir affairs, if only with Chilkur as the prime mover in this respect.

These are days of governments divesting even in profit making PSUs, because it is not the duty of the Government to run businesses. Yet, successive governments fail to exhibit a similar sense of duty to the Hindu Samaj, because these Mandirs are considered as source of "revenue", power and some of it can also go into subsidizing Haj pilgrimage. The enormous faith the Hindu devotee places in his Mandir is rather misplaced because of the "secular" administrators who have most times no sense of belonging to the Mandir. For most of them it is just a job and devoid of Bhakti to the Mandir affairs and such an attitude in managing religious affairs invariably breeds nepotism and corruption.

I also remember you as the first EO who sent out the circular to TTD employees that they should compulsorily come to their respective offices with "Tilak Dharana". I remember distinctly that you used to place at the gate of the TTD Administrative buildings, small containers each with either Tiruman, Chandan, Kumkum, Vibhudhi etc., encouraging Hindus to display the most respectful traditional, religious and cultural marks on their foreheads. That the system went out with your transfer is a matter of shame and deep regret and I am glad the current disposition at TTD has once again acceeded to the directives of the Pujya Swamijis of our Hindu Samaj.

Elders in my family have always spoken high of you. I grew up with such good impressions of you, having watched and moved with half a dozen EO's during my years of growing up in Tirupati. I am sure that if my grand father were to be alive today, he would have taken the first opportunity to meet with you and urge you NOT to allow government meddling with the affairs of Chilkur Balaji Mandir, which is handled with great devotion by the devotees forming the part of the large Hindu Samaj.

Since my grand father left us in 1976 he can no longer represent us. Therefore, I dared to write this to you, in his respectful memory and fondly hope your committee serves in the best interests of the Hindu Samaj by allowing the current disposition to continue with their "Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha".


S.V.Badri (svbadri@gmail.com), Chennai

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