The swamijis of all maths should stop the “drama” of talking about social reforms when they have not initiated a single concrete step to bring about the change they speak about, Seer of Nidumamidi Math Veerabhadra Channamalla Swami said on Tuesday.
To a question during an interaction organised by the Journalists' Study Centre, he strongly criticised Sri Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math and seers of all maths who “talk about social change but do nothing about it”. He urged the swamijis to “stop the drama” of visiting Dalit houses or washing the feet of Dalits, which would not bring an end to their social or economic problems.
Although he had “great respect for Pejawar swamiji's concern for society”, Nidumamidi swamiji was critical of his actions with regard to Dalits. . “For half a century, he has spoken about social change, but has not managed to solve even a single fundamental problem of Dalits,” the swamiji said.
In a region where ajalu paddhati was practised, Pejawar swamiji had not said that it was “wrong”. Similarly, he had remained silent about “made snana” which was a “de-humanising” practice, the practice of making Dalits carry night soil on their head, the problems of davadasis and prostitutes, Nidumamidi swami said.
“Let alone taking steps to address social problems of Dalits, have any of the swamijis even agreed that all people from Dalits to Brahmins have been created equal and that they all have the same rights?” the swamiji said.
There was a time when “religious institutions were pro-people but in our times, that is not the case”. Maths today unite only to further a communal agenda or work for their caste groups, but not to work for the social, economic, political, or national interests of all people. Although religious heads have supported political power historically, in a “healthy democracy” it was imperative that the “immoral nexus” between religion and the ruling class ended and each functioned independently of the other.
The swamiji said he had been saying for the last 20 years that “not all, but a majority of religious institutions” received money earned illegally and were being run by ill-gotten wealth. No religious leader had declared that ill-gotten wealth should not be donated to their institutions.
The former Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy donated a crown that cost over Rs. 40 crore to Tirupati temple in 2009, but even though there were demands to return the crown after his arrest, the temple refused saying that offerings could not be returned, the swamiji said.
To a question on how he resolved his personal conflict with the math system, the swamiji replied that he had rejected the system completely and taken up teaching. . He said that he entered the math to bring about social change. To this effect he had appointed Dalits as priests, arranged inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, visited houses of people of all castes and faiths, and organised awareness programmes.