Mannargudi Jeeyar Swami – a Hindu Acharya being targeted by vested interests

Sri Chendalankara Sampath Kumara Ramanuja Jeeyar is a Sri Vaishnava sannyasi and the pontiff of the Mannargudi Chendalakara Shenbaka Mannar Matha. Pontiffs of Sri Vaishnava Mathas are referred to by the title ‘Jeeyar Swamigal’. Jeeyar Swamigal is popularly known as the Mannargudi Jeeyar, after the town the Matah operates out of.

The line of succession at the Mannargudi Matha was broken and the pontiffhood was vacant for 125 years before the current seer was ordained.

In his pontiffhood, along with his regular religious and cultural duties, the Mannargudi Jeeyar has taken it upon himself to reach out to Dalit communities and the most marginalized groups such as the Arundhatiyar, who very often live in segregated colonies in villages. Many of them are landless and work as casual labourers in agriculture and small industries. A good number are also employed in traditional occupations of public conservancy, leather and in cremation grounds.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

Another cause dear to the Mannargudi Jeeyar is that of cow protection. The Matha runs a goshala taking care of 51 cows under his supervision.

Outreach to Dalit communities

The Mannargudi Jeeyar frequently visits colonies of marginalized Dalit communities. He conducts Lakshmi Pujas there and makes it a point to interact with children and visit homes in the colonies.

He has given Pancha Samskaram – an initiation into the Sri Vaishnava community for lay worshippers – to hundreds of people, including people from the most marginalized Dalit communities.

He openly speaks against conversion activities by other religions and insists on Hindu unity.

During the floods in 2015, the Matha under the direct supervision of the Jeer engaged in rescue and relief mission in Cuddalore, one of the worst affected districts.

It has been documented that natural calamities are seen by proselytisers as an opportunity to find new converts. A case in point is the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, after which many coastal communities in Tamil Nadu saw many new converts.

Intervention to stop conversion effort

A Bhadrakali Amman temple in Kallimedu village, Nagapattinam District had some dispute regarding offering of mandagapadi (custom where the village deity visits streets/homes in the village). It remained deadlocked for years.

Some elements tried to escalate this into a Dalit-Caste Hindu clash and tried to get the Dalits of the village to convert. The Mannargudi Jeeyar visited the village, called all communities to the temple, performed a Lakshmi Homam and reiterated the need for Hindus to stay united.

Interesting aside – the English language media chose only to highlight the conflict and escalation, but chose to ignore the resolution brought about by the Mannargudi Jeeyar.

Vested interests decide to target Swami for his work

Obviously, these outreach activities are irksome to various interests

  • Religious groups that focus on converting people from marginalized groups in the Hindu fold
  • Political parties that view Dalits as vote banks and that would view any outreach by Hindu leaders as an attempt to cut into their influence among Dalit communities.

They have been looking to get back at Jeeyar Swami for long, and finally they got one thanks to the ‘cow vigilantes’ narrative being pushed by the media.

Recently, Mannargudi Jeeyar was attacked by violent mobs of Islamist and communist elements. It is fast being twisted into a case of gau-raksha vigilantism. It is our intention to place the facts before the public before the event is beamed through Mainstream Media’s ‘reality distortion lens’.

What really happened

On June 29th, the Mannargudi Jeeyar was travelling near Palani in Tamil Nadu when he saw cattle being transported in cramped conditions. He brought the van to the Palani police station and lodged a complaint demanding that the transport be carried out in conditions fulfilling norms of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Members of Communist organizations, Islamic organizations and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK – an electoral party that claims to be Dalitist, Periyarist and crusading for Dalit human rights) arrived at the police station and started protesting. Even the left-leaning newspaper The Hindu has reported this incident without the usual distortion (screenshot).

Fearing for the Mannargudi Jeeyar and his entourage’s safety, the police took them into the station premises. (Tamil report in leading daily, Dina Thanthi).

In the meantime, activists from the Shiv Sena and RSS also arrived at the police station. Appropriate transport was arranged for the cattle. However, the group of Islamist, Communist and VCK cadre are reported to have indulged in stone throwing, because of which Ashok, a Shiv Sena activist, was injured.

Media distortion begins

The first step in the distortion began with a reference in a recent Frontline long-form essay. This was unattributed and the Mannargudi Jeeyar is left unnamed, since the essay appears too soon after the incident.

Clearly the intention is to pave the way for a later full-fledged distortion. The first steps were then made by VCK cadres on social media.

A complaint requesting appropriate transportation for cows has been twisted into an attempt at ‘disrupting communal harmony’.

The Facebook page of this particular individual claiming allegiance to the VCK reveals some interesting information about his views on the Indian State and he has also posted inflammatory content on the anniversary of Burhan Wani’s 1st ‘death anniversary’.

Once the distortion was spread on the social media by hateful groups, it has now been picked up by the allied elements in the mainstream media.

India Today has published a report out of Chennai, labelling the Mannargudi Jeeyar as a ‘self-acclaimed godman’ and mis-representing his complaint. Notably, they mis-represent the people opposing the Mannargudi Jeeyar’s complaint as cattle transporters’ even though it is clear that they are cadres from VCK and Islamist organisations. This is obviously filed by reporters who only had second-hand information about the incident.

A Hindustan Times report is relatively less negatively disposed towards the Mannargudi Jeeyar, but it still does not identify the persons injured in the stone pelting.

While The Hindu and Dina Thanthi are news outlets with presence on the ground in Dindigul, where the incident occurred, one wonders what the sources of India Today and Hindustan Times reports were. And one fears what else is there in the future.

It is clear that Mannargudi Jeeyar is being targeted mainly for his activities like his outreach to the Dalit community. Elements in the English language media have many times openly declared that they should focus on caste fault-lines, especially around Dalits, to defeat what they brand as ‘Hindutva’. Anyone trying to work towards eliminating these fault-lines risk being seen as people who are denying them an opportunity to defeat Hindutva, and perhaps Mannargudi Jeeyar Swami is being punished for this.

(report compiled by @dasyavevrka,  @paanchajanyaa, @Maha_Krish, @zeneraalstuff)

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Here is why BJP lost elections, and of course, it was deliberate

What BJP supporters need to realise is this - no political party ever wants to lose and least of all, a party led by the two most politically aggressive politicians the country has ever seen.

India cannot turn into Islamic Nation, only Modi can understand gravity and do needful: Meghalaya HC

There should be uniform law for all Indian citizens, and anybody opposing the Indian laws and constitution cannot be considered as citizens of the country, Meghalaya High Court noted

BJP’s real woes: Lessons from the electoral semi-finals

The prolonged silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on election results was very telling. The results were clearly unexpected and possibly led to prolonged internal discussions on the future course of action.
It is time for Congress and Gandhi Family mukt Bharat

Why Congress-mukt Bharat is still very much in progress

It is time BJP supporters understand the meaning of the term 'Congress-mukt Bharat'.

Can the BJP satisfy its online supporters? If only it were Congress

BJP supporters online, also known as the ‘right wing’, are first to attack the party and write it off after electoral setbacks.

Mayawati extends support to Congress for Madhya Pradesh, may consider Rajasthan ‘to keep BJP out of power’

She said to defeat BJP in Rajasthan, too, BSP will extend support to Congress.

BJP may be weaker than it was in 2014, but Congress is not as strong as projected either

If Congress has not forgotten the 1996 elections, they would very well know they are on a sticky wicket here.

Has PM Modi sounded the start of slog overs with the new RBI Governor’s appointment

Shaktikanta Das, who is currently a member of The Finance Commission and Former Finance Secretary (the one who presided over Demonetisation), has been appointed as the new RBI Governor by the Modi government

Demystifying Civil Society: Organization linked to ‘Urban Naxals’ wants schools to teach ‘Human Rights Education’

Federation for Human Rights (FPR) urged the government of Puducherry to introduce "Human Rights Curriculum" in the school curriculum in the Union Territory.

Madhya Pradesh: Twitterati showers praises at Shivraj Singh Chouhan as he gracefully concedes defeat

The BJP stalwart, Shivraj Singh Chouhan took the sole responsibility for the BJP’s defeat in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,559FansLike
97,562FollowersFollow
6,058SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these