Thursday, July 12, 2007


hehe look at them whine and rant... A triumph for those who campaigned for seven hills of Tirumalla to be rid of Christian aggression.

After Special Economic Zones, it is the turn of Special Religious
Zones, and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajshekhar Reddy shows the

[John Dayal's Note: Without meaning any disrespect to the Deity of
Tirumalla, and in full solidarity with the devotees and their
reverence to Lord Venkateswara, one must n articulate the several
questions that have been raised by the controversial decision of the
Congress government of Andhra Pradesh, led by Chief minister
Rajshekhar Reddy, in the hasty Ordnance, or backdoor law, which
effectively bans all non Hindu activity - worship, social work,
educational institutions, freedom of religion and religious
profession, presumably also Wakf - in the seven hills of the Tirumalla
range in the south of the State, and close to its borders with Tamil
Nadu and Karnataka.
Mr. Reddy now joins Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in
becoming one of two Congress leaders who defy their party ideology to
pander to the tastes of micro-minority fundamentalists within the
majority religious group in their States.
One understands the pressures on Mr. Reddy. One understands Mr.
Reddy's compulsions and his survival instincts. He is the only
Christian ruler of a predominantly Hindu province. The other
Christians of the North East have an electorate majority from their
community. That is a signal pressure. Secondly, the RSS and its
organisations have nationally and internationally targeted Mr. Reddy
in a hate campaign that picks on his religion. He is routinely branded
the son of a Pentecost or Protestant father. He is always called by
his presumably Christian name, Samuel, and not Rajshekhar, when RSS
journals write about him. He is accused, absolutely falsely of course,
of supporting, even encouraging Christians. And during his recent
visit to the United States, Hindu Non Resident Indian organisations
with their loyalty to the RSS staged ugly protests against him, one of
which became physical.
All that is part of Indian reality. But the Ordinance may be violative
of the Constitution of India and may go against t the Supreme Court
ruling in the Hindutva case [by chief justice J S Varma} which held
that Hinduism was a way of life, that it did not have a single Book or
a single founder, and that any person could see the Lord in his or her
own way, even in a stone.
No other religion in the world has a place entirely its own, where no
else can enter. The Vatican, a model for many upstarts, allows anyone
to worship in his or her own way, and indeed one can see many Hare
Krishna devotees on its streets. Rome has a mosque and of Hindus
wanted it, or Sikhs for that matter, they could have temple or a
Gurudwara. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and Jerusalem, his
`Karma Bhoomi and punya Bhoomi' is holy to three religions, including
Islam. Nankana Sahib, which I had the immense pleasure to visit some
years ago, is holy to the Sikhs, but is open to all religions'. Even
fundamentalist and military dictatorships in Pakistan have maintained
the secular environ of Nankana sahib. Amritsar, the Holy Sikhs home
for the lovely Golden Temple Har Mandir, is open to all, despite a few
terrorists occasionally demanding a purge of all non Sikh activity,
mercifully not sponsored by the Akali Dal or the Akal Takht. Mecca and
Medina, now in the Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following a Wahabi
theology, is barred to non-Muslims. But this is historically a
comparatively recent phenomenon. Many Sufi Indian saints and Central
Asian scholars in earlier centuries visited Mecca, according to their
songs and writings. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had good things to say of Mecca.
He wanted to be told if there was a place without God.
But India is a secular state, and this fact is enshrined in the
Constitution. If Tirumalla is holy to one Deity, Guruvayur is holy to
another. Madurai and Thanjavur are also holy places. So is Benares.
Gaya and Sanchi are holy to the Buddhists. Ajmer Sharif is a holy Sufi
Islamic Shrine. Hazratbal in Srinagar makes the city holy, and the
entire Himalayan range is the abode of the Gods, literally. And then
there is Kurukhshetra, the place where the Lord Krishna personally
revealed the Gita to Arjuna. The great thing about India is that this
list is endless. Should they be barred to non Hindus, or Non Muslims,
or to Non Sikhs, or to Non Buddhists.
What happens to Freedom of faith in Tirumalla? What happens to Article
30? What happens to a lot of many other things, including the right of
the Hindus themselves to get medical assistance and education from
anyone they chose? What happens to the freedom of faith of the Dalits,
OBCs, Christians and others who live in the area to practice the faith
of their choice? What happens to the concept of India if one art of it
is not rally a part of it?
We are opposing Special Economic Zones - because the writ of India
does not run in those territories.
I oppose Special Religious Zones.]

Tirumalla Hills only for Hindus: Ordinance


Responding to the outcry from Hindu religious groups who have been
protesting over recent attempts to preach other faiths at the holy
shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumalla, the Andhra Pradesh
government has notified that the seven hills of Tirumalla would remain
a place of worship only for Hindus and has prohibited propagation of
other religions.
Chief Minister Dr YS Rajshekhar Reddy told a news conference on Friday
evening that his government has issued an Ordinance on June 2 in this
regard and the order comes into effect immediately. The Ordinance also
recognised the jurisdiction of Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as
"Lord of the Seven Hills" and declared the seven hills surrounding the
temple as a place of worship and thus banned all political activities
including conduct of local bodies polls.
"Against the backdrop of a long history of cherished cultural legacy
and sanctified Hindu tradition, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has
decided that the sanctity of the Seven hills and the Temple of Lord
Venkateswara needs to be preserved as a unique religious area where
the Hindu traditions shall be preserved and allowed to be nurtured as
they have continuously been over the last two millennium. In order to
achieve this objective, it has been felt appropriate to accord to all
the Seven Hills and the Temple Town of Tirumalla a special status as a
place of religious importance by giving it a special dispensation and
nomenclature," Reddy said.
"Accordingly, the Tirumalla Hills area comprising all the seven hills,
the holy teerthams and the central shrine of Lord Venkateswara will
henceforth be called Tirumalla Divya Kshetram," Reddy said and added
that this special dispensation would ensure that only spiritual and
religious activity went on in the seven hills area. No elections or
political activity was permitted. The Tirumalla Divya Kshetram shall
comprise all the seven hills called Seshadri, Garudadri, Venkatadri,
Narayanadri, Vrishabhadri, Vrishadri and Anjanadri right from the
foothills on all sides, the GO stated.
"It shall be the primary duty of the Tirumalla Tirupathi Devasthanams
management to continue uninterruptedly with utmost devotion the
traditional rituals and practices and no other religion shall be
allowed to be propagated in Tirumalla Divya Kshetram area by words,
either spoken or written or by signs or visible representation or by
distributing any printed material or other forms of religious
literature in terms of Section 2(1) of AP Propagation of Other
Religions in the Places of Worship or Prayer (Prohibition) Ordinance
2007 promulgated on May 22, 2007," the Government order pointed out.
The Executive Officer of Tirumalla Tirupathi Devasthanams have been
empowered under Section 114 of the AP Charitable and Hindu Religious
Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987 to take action to prevent
begging, consumption of intoxicating liquor, drugs or cigarettes, meat
or meat products. Slaughter of animals or birds, gaming and gambling
are expressly prohibited under this Act. All these provisions are
intended to ensure that the entire Tirumalla Hills area continues to
be a spiritual sanctuary that it has been all through," the GO added.
The Ordinance also covers 19 other places of worship.



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