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has now descended into mudslinging between the head priest and the officers in charge of administration.Dr AV Ramana Dikshitulu head priest of the Vaishnavite temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala and one of the four agama advisors of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) is at loggerheads with the temple authorities and constantly in the news for his comments on the TTD administration and other controversies The latest row is over Dikshitulu taking his grandson into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple for which he was issued a show cause notice by the deputy executive officer of TTD Kodandarama Rao Dikshitulu did not bother with an official clarification but asked Firstpost unofficially that when the relativesof TTD officials can go anywhere at any time what is wrong with children of priests who are also practicising archakas(priests) to visit the abode of Lord Venkateswara The priest is not in the good books of the TTD administrators specifically three IAS officers — one executive officer (EO) and two joint executive officers (JEOs) — and three IPS officers He has slammed the administration on issues like VIP darshans shortening of rituals and alleged commercialisation of the temple "None of them have respect for the traditions or practices as laid down by agamas(vedic scriptures defining traditions and rituals in the temple) and are making changes as per their whims and fancies to promote their personal influence" he told Firstpost In October Dikshitulu told Firstpost "Instead of being custodians they are using the temple of Lord Venkateswara to please industrialists money bags politicians in power and enhance their own personal power to beget better postings But when an archaka offers blessings to these same people he is blamed and reprimanded” he said Dikshitulu was referring to an incident that took place on 10 April 2010 when the head priest walked up to the Padmavati Guest House to offer ashir vachanam for industrialist Mukesh Ambani The TTD had served him notice for violating temple norms in this instance "If someone falls at my feet I normally bless them It is just like that for Ambani or anyone There is nothing wrong in offering ashir vachanam for any devotee at any time or place" he said Dikshitulu also allegedly flew to Mumbai to bless the granddaughter of a politician and industrialist at her marriage He allegedly performed sudarshanahomam in Tirumala for the late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) and his son Jaganmohan Reddy in 2009 He is also said to have made trips to Pulivendula and Hyderabad for YSR "Why do they want the priests alone to be holier than Lord Venkateswara Everyone mints money in the name of Balaji but when a priest does something routine — blessing people performing yagnas and homams for the pious he is questioned and issued notices" he said Dr AV Ramana Dikshitulu Firstpost/GS Radhakrishna Administrators versus rituals Dikshitulu though is firing all guns right back The ‘vaikhasana agama’ he explains deals with rituals that are done in the temple and to the deity Dikshitulu says that TTD officials "overdid" the rituals their duration and also violated norms about the prescribed persons who should be present during the rituals "Particularly for Friday abhishekham and ekanthaseva it is the wish of the officials that prevails and not the traditions" he charged "During the last pavitrotsavams officials went over to the vimanam (gopuram of temple) to offer puja which is the domain of only priests and committed sacrilege” he added In view of his critical stand Dikshitulu is often sidelined when it comes to decisions on temple duties as he has charged that officials are appointing ineligible priests to perform pavitrotsavams Temple officials however say that they are working in adherence to agama counseling by three other agama advisors as per section 34(3) of the TTD Act Dikshitulu’s charges are not entirely baseless The JEO of TTD has the powers of a lieutenant-governor in granting shop leases private hotels and guest houses in Tirumala and allegations of misuse of these powers abound Incidentally over 30 media personnel working in Tirumala and Tirupati have business interests — shops choultries and eating joints near the temple For example the special correspondent of a national daily is the owner of a sprawling private choulty at Tirumala The present JEO has continued to remain in this position for seven years despite the normal tenure being only three years Dikshitulu recounts how during the last Brahmotsvam he had suggested that priests and not attendants must give harati during vahana sevas "Devotees are put to distress and the entire show is conducted by attendants instead of priests where the pious are pushed and heckled Instead why doesn’t TTD conduct sarkari harati at every point" he asked But the officials refused In October last year the head priest received another jolt when the appointment of his son Venkatapathi Dikshitulu to serve on the suryaprabha vahanam during Brahmotsvam was nullified by the TTD officials His outburst that TTD officials should not interfere in ritual affairs and that the authority of chief priest was ignored went unheeded Dikshitulu sought the intervention of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu VIPs and Commercialising Tirumala The TTD is now entertaining Andhra Pradesh MLAs and MPs sending their voters on a pilgrimage to Tirumala — with food entertainment travel and darshan all free of cost Every day at least 75 to 100 buses and trains bring about 10000 devotees through these politicians for whom rooms darshan slots and laddus are reserved by TTD officials "What is wrong in fulfilling a promise made to our voters of a Tirupati pilgrimage and also Sabarimala visit" asked TDP MLA from Srikakulam and state minister Atcham Naidu The chief priest argued that rituals are cut short to make way for VIP visits "Although they say only two hours for VIPs almost four to five hours of valuable time is given to them both in the morning and evening to suit the convenience of the visitors — mostly politicians relatives and friends of EOs and JEOs and influential judges IAS and IAS officers" he said Dikshitulu said he was not opposed to making more laddus and building rooms and guest houses but that the officialdom should not interfere in traditions and rituals as prescribed in Vaikhanasa Agamas and Divya Prabhandas scripted by Sri Ramanuja and Alwars Secondly sanctity and holiness of the only Vaishnavite hub in the world should not be tarnished More importantly agama pundits and priests who for centuries have been custodians of the temple and its practices should have the final say in number of festivals and hours of darshan Dikshitulu a doctorate holder in molecular biology as well as an authority on the agamas is one of the four families of the Vaikhanasa sect of Sri Vaishnavites who are engaged in serving the Lord Venkateswara temple and other sub-temples in Tirupati and other select towns of Rayalaseema His family has been serving as priests at the temple for over 600 years All these were disbanded by former chief minister NT Rama Rao who brought out a special legislation for nationalising the Tirumala shrine and all its assets and gold with the sole goal of utilising this revenue for his anti-poverty schemes After two decades mired in legal battles the government has finally taken over the TTD which has over 10000 permanent and 12000 contract workers Its net worth is over Rs 42000 crore including gold land assets and institutions It also has Rs 13000 crore in fixed deposits besides 8500 kg of gold deposited in banks under various schemes Dikshilutu also mentioned that the Kala Jnanam predicted by Pothuluri Veera Brahmam a sage of the 17th Century from Kadapa that the happenings at Tirumala would soon take it back by 100 years is coming true "We are giving darshan to one lakh per day by giving only two hours rest for the deity we spend more time on laddu making cultural shows expanding accommodation conducting more than 10000 weddings per annum at Tirumala All these were predicted by Veerabrahmam in his Kala Jnanam and that all these could vanish soon" he warned The TTD’s Response When the issue was recently raised by the media as to why the TTD administration was silent over the charges by the chief priest executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal and his assistant JEO (Tirumala) KS Srinivasa Raju sidestepped the query "We are here to do a job streamlining the administration plug loopholes We do not interfere in temple rituals archakas’ appointments etc But only when there is difference of opinion among the archaka community we are drawn to interfere" said Raju TTD executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal stated that he did not have any differences with either Dikshitulu or other agama advisors "As long as they stick to their functions and do not advise on how to run the temple there are no issues" he said Former EO KV Ramanachari told Firstpost that the charges by Dikshitulu over the VIP darshans and other mismanagement were baseless "We are bound by government decisions and also the decisions endorsed by the TTD governing body — the TTD Board We cannot do anything — giving permissions selling hair deposit gold approve government loans or even giving VIP darshan tickets on our own as there are set precedents on how many such permissions for VIP darshans one could give in a week or a month" he added Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that the central and state governments were "sensitive" to farmers’ issues and was trying to address them with due seriousness He said the welfare of the farming community and agriculture topped the list of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre was willing to extend whatever help was required by the states File image of Union home minister Rajnath Singh PTI "I am from a village and the son of a farmer I have also been the agriculture minister Let me assure you that the Centre and state governments are trying to do everything possible" Rajnath said The minister’s comments came a day after police shot dead five farmers at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh Rajnath acknowledged that the farmers were "a big pillar of our society and are the biggest producers and consumers" He said both Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis were aware of the issue and were working towards providing succour to the agitating farmers Regarding the violence in Madhya Pradesh he guardedly said: "I have received some information that some powers have attempted to instigate and the chief minister has assured a probe into it" Singh is in Mumbai to address a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and workers as part of the three-year celebrations of the Modi government Written by Agencies | London | Published: February 13 2010 11:24 am Related News Only a week after dumping her toyboy loverpop superstar Madonna shows that she is back with model Jesus Luz after indulging in public display of affection The couple got stuck into a passionate embrace as they were reunited in Rio de Janeiro this weekDaily Mail online reported The 51-year-old superstar looked as though she was desperately trying to reclaim her youth as she and 23-year-old Luz kissed on some stairs of a nightclub seemingly oblivious to their fellow party-goersDaily Mail online reported While 30 years ago she knew how to get into the groovelast night she was happy to sit back and let Jesus enjoy himself with his friends at the sweaty venue At one point she really showed her age and looked thoroughly exhausted as she leaned on her toyboy for a hug with her eyes closed After getting their music fixthe couple were escorted to a waiting car and driven back to their hotel Last week it was reported Jesus had dumped Madonna because they had nothing in common But after her arrival in Rio for the carnival earlier this weekshe reunited with the Brazilian model over an Italian dinner on Tuesday night For all the latest Entertainment News download Indian Express App More Related NewsWritten by Arun Jaitley | Published: May 29 2010 2:34 am Related News It is uncertain how well Prakash Jhas film Rajneeti will be received by the audience Howeverthe Congress Party doesnt seem to be pleased with the film in its original form Besides the censor board and the appellate tribunala pre-censor viewing was undertaken by three representatives of the Congress party Tom VadakkanPankaj Sharma and Sanjeev Bhargava The film was threatened with an Adult certification which would obviously have significantly reduced the commercial prospects of the film It is only after the film-maker accepted the deletions suggested by the Congress party representatives that the film has been cleared with a U/A certification Moral policing has been rapped repeatedly by many in the electronic and print media Curiouslycrusaders against moral policing have mostly maintained an eloquent silence on political policing by the ruling party This is not the first time that political policing has been undertaken when the interests of the first family of the Congress party is at stake The White Paper on the Misuse of the Mass Media during the Internal Emergency published in 1977 by the Government of Indiaprovides a list of such political censorship The film Aandhi was cleared in January1975 The Congress party believed that the leading actress had a character similar to the then prime minister Immediatelyafter the imposition of the Emergencyit was banned in July 1975 It was only when the producer agreed to cut out certain scenes from the film and restructure the storythat it was again cleared in March 1976 The film on Watergate titled All the Presidents Men was blocked by the government during the Emergencyand released only after the Congress Party was voted out of power in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977 A film titled Kissa Kursi Kawhich was submitted for clearance to the censors during the Emergencywas destroyed by burning reels of the film for which criminal prosecution was separately initiated The celebrity playback singer Kishore Kumar refused to sing at a Youth Congress Rally All his songs were banned on All India Radio and Doordarshan The White Paper states that it was also decided that gramaphone companies like HMV and Columbia were asked to freeze all records of Kishore Kumar and no records of his songs should be sold It was to be found that how BBC was playing Kishore Kumars songs and under what contract and what should be done to stop this A list of films were also required to be obtained from the chairmanCBFC and steps taken to not release any of those films etc It was required to be examined whether such films could be refused censor certificates. since the latter was married. was an accused in the assassination of Gandhi (Wikimedia commons) Related News 92-year-old Kamalamma is one of the few living witnesses to Gandhi’s murder trial. from how the media daily reports them to how history judges them.from the first ball this morning, 400 crore club soon.” a fire official said. though, who is making a comeback after a long break post the birth of Aaradhya, chairman.

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