India is currently in the midst of its fight against the novel coronavirus. PM Modi, leading the country’s battle against COVID-19 had announced a nationwide strict lockdown in order to mitigate the menacing spread of the virus. The ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus, though necessary, has adversely affected the poor, daily-wage workers and those belonging to the lower rung of the economic ladder, who are now struggling to even feed themselves.
The central and various state governments have taken a slew of measures, aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the poor. NGOs have also joined in and extended their support in feeding the most vulnerable members of the society. In addition, prominent individuals like Mannargudi Jeeyar Swami- A Hindu Acharya have also come forward to provide food for the homeless amidst the lockdown. Jeeyar Swami, who is camping at Srirangam is operating with a small staff of 2 people and gets food cooked on contract. As of now, he is getting food cooked for 200 people at the Matham’s premises and uses his personal vehicle to travel and distribute food.
With the budget of Rs 1.5 lakhs, Swami reckons that he could help at least 200 people tide over this period of lockdown without going hungry. According to him, a plate of fresh rice and sambar or puliyodarai or curd rice can be served to 200 people, twice a day at an average cost of 17.5 rupees per plate. This includes cost of rice, tamarind, pulses, vegetables, staff salaries, packing material.
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. Swami is also actively involved in cow protection. He runs a goshala, taking care of 51 cows under his supervision.
To contribute to Mannargudi Jeeyar Swami’s initiative, you could click here.