B.V.S. Bhaskar

Efforts of a dalit in construction and maintenance of temples pay off

Rajahmundry: The sanction of salary by the TTD to four priests working in two temples has come as a great relief to a dalit who constructed the places of worship.

The concerted effort of Potumudi Subba Rao, a retired Railway Chief Engineer, has finally paid off with TTD Executive Officer I.V.R. Krishna Rao, through a communication recently, sanctioning Rs. 9,000 to two priests working at Sri Venkateswara temple located at Alipurdaur Junction in West Bengal and Rs. 6,000 to the two priests in Sri Kodandaramalayam at Kambalapeta, Rajahmundry.

Noble endeavour

It all began in the year 2002 when Mr. Subba Rao, who, after retirement, returned from Alipurdaur Junction, where he last worked, to his native Rajahmundry. Inspired by Kanchi pontiff Sri Jayendra Saraswati’s efforts to construct Lord Rama temples in dalit areas, Mr. Subba Rao too nurtured an ambition to construct two temples – one at Alipurdaur Junction and the other in Kambalapeta. He approached the seer and took his blessings for the noble endeavour.

But the going got tough for Mr. Subba Rao. Undeterred, he decided to go ahead with the construction of a temple at Kambalapeta. A few years rolled on and none came to extend him a helping hand. As a result, the construction work came to a grinding halt. In a bid to realise his dream project, he approached many philanthropists for donations. His efforts did not fructify.

Gigantic task

As a last resort, Mr. Subba Rao sold his house in Hyderabad and invested the proceeds in the project. He even parted with the retirement benefits with a view to completing the two temples. On an auspicious day, both the temples were inaugurated. Though he was delighted, engaging priests and arranging for daily rituals turned out to be a gigantic task for him.

Mr. Subba Rao then approached N.K. Visweswara Rao, a retired principal of Government Degree College, Rajahmundry, who directed him to meet P.V.R.K. Prasad, Chairman of the Central Dharmic Advisory Council of the TTD. On his recommendations and after thoroughly examining the case, the TTD sanctioned salaries for the priests. For all the painstaking effort of Mr. Subba Rao, the TTD’s decision is very much a direct benediction of the Lord of Seven Hills.